By Kapil Mandawewala
When vegetable gardening, the gardener must consider the geographic location of the garden and the length of the growing season. While many of the vegetables grown in Himachal can also be grown in Delhi, the varieties will not be the same. The vegetables grown in Himachal will be able to adapt to a shorter, cooler growing season than the vegetables that will thrive in Delhi’s climate.
One good reason to have a kitchen garden is because you control exactly what goes on the produce. Dozens of scientific studies have shown that there is a connection between chemical pesticides and fertilisers and human health. Use of these chemicals has been linked to cancer, hormonal imbalances and even neurological damage. With organic vegetable gardening, you keep your garden and your food free of these chemicals. This is especially important for families with children. Kids have a much lower tolerance of chemical residues than adults. The gardener knows what pesticides, if any were used, and how the produce was grown.
However, the main reason why organic vegetable gardening is so important is the fact that the crops harvested have 50% more nutrients and vitamins compared to that of conventional farming methods. Home-grown vegetables have far greater nutritional value than any of the vegetables available in the produce section of a grocery store. That means they are better for the health of the gardener’s family. This means the food they consume will reduce the risk of people suffering from a number of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers.
EAT WHAT YOU SOW!
For some people, any kind of gardening is enjoyable, but vegetable gardening has a special attraction that flower gardening does not have. The vegetable gardener can eat what comes out of his or her garden. Ripe, juicy tomatoes, tender peas, crisp lettuce, tasty zucchini, fresh green beans and delicious squash are just a few of the products that can go straight from the vegetable garden to the kitchen. Some of them, after a good rinse under the kitchen tap, can go directly to the dining room table.
GARDENING KEEPS YOU FIT
Vegetable gardening is also good exercise. It gets a person out into the fresh air. Vegetable gardening is a great way to relax and forget about the stresses and worries of everyday life. It is an activity that anybody of any age can do. You can do it by yourself or make it a family project. When you share your harvest with friends and relatives, you get a special feeling that is quite unique.
Time: It is generally thought it is very time consuming activity. There are ways to design and maintain vegetable gardens in as little as 5 minutes a day.
Physical Effort: Gardening does not have to be a lot of heavy work. By proper designing, people from any age group with varying physical abilities can do it.
Space: It is not necessary for you to own a large piece of land to take up vegetable gardening. Any little plot of ground can be turned into a garden as long as the gardener tends the plants carefully. A gardener can grow vegetables in containers, in window boxes and even indoors. As long as you have access to some soil, water and sunlight you can be a vegetable gardener.
Quantity: With proper planning and management, a lot of veggies can be grown in a small amount of space.
Too Complex: Vegetable gardening is a skill that can be learned, and through practice you will get better.
Growing a garden is good for the environment because you are tapping into a great resource which has been locked up in suburban lots. Just think about growing a strawberry or a head of lettuce. How far did it have to travel to get on your plate?
Gardening is also a great way to recycle. How? Start a compost pile or if you live in an apartment start a worm bin.
Of course, by growing your own food, you save some money, too.
EVEN A POT IS A GARDEN!
Vegetable gardening can be done on almost any scale. For some people, vegetable gardening is simply a large pot with one or two tomato plants in it. Other people might have a larger plot in their yard or some other area, with a variety of plants, to include tall beans or corn as well as tomatoes, lettuce or even potatoes. A well-planned garden can provide abundant veggies in the producing seasons. You can garden on a roof, a terrace or in your yard.
– Good friable soil or a well-balanced potting mix
– Reliable seeds
– Continuous supply of nutrients in the form of manure and organic fertiliser
– Organic sprays such as neem or cow urine to control pest populations
– Good quality water
EDIBLE PLANTS FOR A HOME GARDEN:
Vegetables: Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Brinjal, Chilly, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Bok Choy, Cauliflower, Green Onion, Ladies-finger, French Beans, Corn, Lauki, Tori, Cucumber, Karela, Garlic etc.
Herbs, Greens & Medicinal Plants: Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Methi, Spinach, Cilantro, Amaranth, Mint, Sage, Chives, Ginger, Rocket Salad, Turmeric, Stevia, etc.
Fruits – Strawberry, Citrus (Lime, Lemon, Sweet Lime, Kinnow), Papaya
Plants that can be grown all-year round in a home garden:
Vegetables: Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Brinjal, Chilly, Green Onion
Herbs & Greens: Basil, Oregano, Spinach, Amaranth, Mint
Fruits: Citrus (Lime, Lemon, Sweet Lime, Kinnow), Papaya, Guava
(Sajeev Fresh, founded by Kapil Mandawewala, is an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible business that creates farms and products for the earth and its people. Its services include planning, design, implementation and management of organic/biodynamic farms, gardens, compost programs and edible landscapes. For more, visit www.facebook.com/SajeevFresh)