An urban (also called kitchen or a terrace) garden not only adds to the ‘looks’ of your home but may provide fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables as well. Here are a few tips collected from experts which will help you to ‘discover’ your ‘green thumb’.
A garden will provide fresh fruits and vegetables high in nutritive value and free of toxic materials like insecticides. It will also help in recycling and for effective use of kitchen waste. And of course, help in exercising both mind and body.
A terrace garden can be built in the backyard, on the balcony or the roof — open areas which receive appropriate sunlight and has a water source nearby, and even in a container on the windowsill.
You should start with fruits and vegetables that are easy to grow and those that you and your family would like to eat. Basil is great for sunny spots while garlic can grow virtually anywhere and can be replanted each year. Other easy crops for beginners are tomatoes, onions, peas, and carrots.
You may start with chillies, tomato, brinjal, tapioca and yam, which need minimum 60cm x 60 cm space, onion (about 15cm x 15 cm), etc. Among other vegetables, to begin with, are radish, potato, gherkin, lettuce, etc.
Use the kitchen water waste, food scraps, shredded paper, cardboard, newspaper, etc. that decompose in contact with air. While many edible plants prefer lots of sunshine, some may not. Be sure you use sufficient water, but never too much.
(Sanjeev Chowdhury loves to spend time in the kitchen or the garden. He has a farm in Lonavala, near Mumbai, where he has been successfully experimenting with various plants and crops in the past decade.)