Organic Kitchen Gardening and my personal musings

This blog is about my experiments with Organic Kitchen Gardening and sometimes about other personal experiences of my life… Please leave a comment about anything that touched you. Comments help to keep the blogger motivated to keep blogging :)

Evolution of my garden in last 1 year March 30, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 11:52 am

It’s been 11 month’s now since I started gardening. I Started with a few plants bought from a nearby nursery before I slowly moved on to growing vegetable plants from seeds. The past one year has been full of first time experiences – growing plant from seeds, seeing the complete life cycle of so many different kind of vegetable plants, growing one’s own food(even though it’s partial). When i look back at these past 11 month’s it gives me immense satisfaction and i feel gardening is probably one of the most rewarding hobbies one can take up. It has gives back in plenty – to the gardener, the little creatures in garden who call it their home, nature…

Here is a flashback of the past 11 month’s…
When I first got the garden, it was filled with construction debris – cement, sand, half used concrete blocks, polythene sheets, used sponge – you name it and I bet you could find it there. After little bit of cleaning, a layer of 12-18 inches of red soil was filled in on top of that. At that point the red soil had very little organic matter(or so i felt), and even greens like palak would take ages to grow (which are otherwise very easy to grow – is my current opinion πŸ˜‰ ).

Pic,just after red soil was filled in

Just after red soil was filled in

A month or so after filling red soil builder laid the lawn. That point of time I let the lawn to be laid, simply because i didn’t know how to go about managing the space and more of all the red soil was making it very difficult to keep the house clean as my drawing room opens to the garden. But in my heart I knew i didn’t want to use space for lawn. Plan to grow vegetable was always there. Just that it wasn’t in a concrete shape.

Soon after the lawn was laid I gradually started removing patches of it to make soil beds for vegetable plants. I started from the southern side as during those month’s (May to September) only that part used to receive sunlight.
Here is an old picture showing Peas, Okra, Papaya, Carrot & tomato growing from left to right on the southern side of the garden.

Peas, Okra, Papaya, Carrot & Tomato


– Peas, Orka, Papaya, Carrot & tomato

But around Sep-Oct time sunlight started shifting and the northern side started receiving sunlight while the southern part went into shade (sunlight blocked by the boundary wall). So, I had to shift my veggie plots to northern side and the containers too could not be used to a great extent. But I have learnt my lesson from the past season and this season (May to Sep’10) i am aiming to try and experiment growing stuff in bright shade spots. There are few plants like beans, capsicums, palak, lettuce(to some extent) which will do ok in bright shade spots.

All this while I have kept on adding organic matter (mainly compost) to the soil patches. But that has resulted in few issues which can be listed as below:

1. Due to regular mixing up of compost to the soil patches, they were brimming over and top soil was loose enough to be washed by even the slightest rain and watering.

2. Watering with a long pipe from the tap fixed at one end was a always issue as it would always run over some tender plants and I needed to be very careful while watering.

3. Zoya(our dog) would sometimes not know where the veg patches start and run over and kill some tender plants.

4. The grass would always tend to creep into the veggie patches thereby shrinking the veg patches. Also the grass around the soil patches would always be greener and healthier making me believe they were depriving the veggies of their nutrients.

So, I had to come up with a solution for all these issues. To my mind the solution was raising a kind of small fence around the patches.

That will hopefully help me to solve all the problems i mentioned above and help me to adopt a raised bed garden approach over a period of time by adding more organic matter to the patches.

I have chose terracotta tiles over other methods of doing raised beds like wooden planks etc… The reason for choosing the terracotta tiles is 1. it’s easily available 2. There is scope of doing it myself. 3. It’s cheaper and greener (not the color ;)) compared to wood.

Some 2 month’s back i started working on it and now it’s kind of complete.

Each tile cost me a cool Rs.6/-. That’s cheap, isn’t it ?? considering a cup of tea costs Rs. 5/- and these tiles are bought from outside Karnataka, i guess it’s from Gujrat.

So, here are few latest pics from the garden.

Each of these tiles is 5×8 inches in dimension. So roughly 2 inches will go below the ground and 6 inches remain above the ground helping to have a raised bed of same depth. Each of them has a groove at it’s sides helping to form a interlocked structure which will hopefully help to keep the soil intact inside the raised beds.

I have tried to make the edges roundish so that the chances of someone getting hurt is less because of sharp edges.

Also, i have been liberal in leaving a good amount of space for path, 18″ on one side and 12″ on the other. The idea is – One would not to have to step over the patches (that would cause soil compaction – which is not good) in any situation and still be able to access every part of it. One more consideration was if required it should be possible to put a small stool in the path and sit over to it work in the garden (gardeners are known to have bad backs, isn’t it ??). So, here are few snaps of the garden after some days of real hard work.

I am filled with new enthusiasm and eagerly looking forward to the forthcoming year of gardening. Of course, I am no more a fresher in gardening πŸ™‚

View from my bedroom

view from my bedroom


View from west to east

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35 Responses to “Evolution of my garden in last 1 year”

  1. That was so witty, Raja! In fact before scrolling down to read the post below about the tiles, I was gonna suggest the same! You could in fact build raised beds which gives you a neater space.

    • rajapanda Says:

      Thanks Chandramouli,

      I am trying to raise the beds, but i don’t intend to do it in one shot because that will mean more investment for the soil/compost in one go. Looking at the way things are moving I hope in a year or two it will automatically become raised beds.

      Regards
      Raj

  2. Revathi Says:

    Well done Raj!!!!

    You have achieved quite a bit in less than a year. Your veg garden looks very nice πŸ™‚

    Revathi

  3. Asha Says:

    This is so clever, Indeed tiles work out so much neater and better than wood or bricks. And your garden looks so fabulous that it is very difficult to think that its only been a year since you started. Awesome! Keep it coming.

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Asha,

      Thank you so much. The best part of terracotta tiles is you can rework with it very easily. Tomorrow if I decide to change the layout it won’t be a big task unlike say wood.

      Regards
      Raj

  4. indrani Says:

    Hello,

    A lot of effort must have gone into creating this post. Your garden has transformed beautifully – all due your efforts. Its a very good idea to use the tiles – and thanks for sharing the idea along with the snaps.

    Regards,
    Indrani.

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Indrani,

      You are absolutely right. Surely quite a bit of time has went in preparing this post. Glad you liked the idea.

      Regards
      Raj

  5. Christine B. Says:

    I’ve never seen terracotta tiles used in that way. Looks sensational. They would crack here in cold country…too bad for me. Your gardening journey has been a treat to see and read about. You’ve done a lot in a year!

    Christine in Alaska

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much. Well, it’s news for me that terracotta can’t stand extreme cold.

      See you around.

      Regards
      Raj

  6. […] Evolution of my garden in last 1 year Β« Organic Kitchen Gardening …: That will hopefully help me to solve all th… http://bit.ly/bTuFJu […]

  7. Looks neat – but why do you need those grass in between ? Aren’t they suckers for water and manure ?

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Jayadeep,

      Thanks. Very good question. I think just soil is not a good option to have in the path as it gets really messed up during rain and even to an extent while watering. With a dog at home who likes to frequent the garden often i can’t afford that untidiness. You are right they are suckers for water and manure. But somehow am not able to think of a better alternative which will address the above issues.
      For sometime i thought of using stone path but then it’s quite expensive and not very easy to work with if tomorrow i decide to change the layout by myself.

      Regards
      Raj

  8. Swati Says:

    Hi Raja! Great stuff! We had seen your garden in its very first stage – new and bare. the transformation is amazing! congratulations… so next time we visit u guys, we will have home-grown and home cooked khaana! πŸ™‚

    • rajapanda Says:

      Thanks Swati,

      Do plan for the trip quickly. The weather has just improved dramatically in Bangalore and you guys will do well to get a few days of relief from Mumbai heat.

      This time, when you guys come it will be home grown and Swati-cooked khana πŸ™‚

      Regards
      Raj

  9. Jeanne Says:

    It’s really nice to see the development of your garden. Congratulations and I look forward to news about your garden’s progress this year.

  10. Preethi Says:

    Wow! This is amazing. Three cheers to you Raj.

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Preethi,

      Thank you so much. When a person like you – with a keen interest in design – likes the layout it gives me lot of assurance that i haven’t done a bad job πŸ™‚

      Regards
      Raj

  11. Vinay Chandra Says:

    Hey

    Thats an amazing journey:) Hope to see more.

    Vinay Chandra

  12. saritha Says:

    hi raja
    amazing!!!idea of using tiles is very good…i can really understand the pain of what you have done till now…because i am also a beginner in gardening…u are so lucky to have that patch of land…
    sarita

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Sarita,

      Thanks a lot πŸ™‚ glad you liked the use of tile.
      Indeed, god has been very kind on me to give me this patch of land and am very thankful to him for that.

      Regards
      Raj

  13. Sudha Says:

    Hi Raja that was beautiful and awesome journey.. can see all your hardwork in the progress of your garden and the idea of using tiles is amazing .. look wise also tiles are more appealing than wood and stones/bricks.

    I am from hyd and just about to start small garden .. hope your blog encourages me to do gardening

    Best wishes,
    Sudha

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Sudha,

      Thank you so much for all the compliments πŸ™‚

      Gardening is really a very rewarding hobby, am sure it’ll be difficult to stop once you get started. Wish you all the best.

      Regards
      Raj

      • Sudha Says:

        Thanks for your best wishes raj.. Need your help here.

        I had raised beds on side path of my house which i filled with soil ,vermicompost and manure composition but i am still not sure weather to plant now (its very hot here !) or wait till june … your thoughts will help me to take decision.

        Waiting for your reply
        Regards,
        Sudha

        • rajapanda Says:

          Hi Sudha,

          Plants need protection from harsh sun especially during their early stage (specially after transplants)
          Once they cross that stage, mostly they can manage on their own. Of course there are exceptions and their can’t be a generic rule.
          I use these small shade nets, which are erected on the raised beds using small bamboo poles when i feel they need protection. Something like this.

          Hope this helps.

          Regards
          Raj

  14. Sumathy Says:

    Hi Raj
    Fantastic work, your garden and your write-up. Your idea of terracotta titles were really brilliant. Well, your garden is now in a pretty good shape and that shows the amount of work and thought process put into getting your garden in this shape in less than a year. Congrats! Thanks for sharing this, Raj. Keep writing…
    Regards,
    Sumathy

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Sumathy,

      Make me very happy to know that someone liked my work. A lot has went into making this and am surely enjoying every bit of it.

      Regards
      Raj

  15. Satya Says:

    Raj, now the result of your hard work and dedication is clearly visible.Tile funda is quite amazing, looks like you have done thorough cost benifit analysis for it. Keep it up. Wishing you all the best in your efforts.

  16. Well, your article is the greatest on this worthwhile topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your upcoming updates. Just saying thank you will not be adequate, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing. I’ll immediately subscribe to your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Solid work and much success in your business enterprise!

  17. sonicrafter Says:

    Good work buddy, keep it up.

  18. Vasudha K. S. Says:

    Hi

    We were planning to lay these tiles in our Garden. Could you please tell us the shop/place from where you got these?

    Thanks
    Vasudha

    • rajapanda Says:

      Hi Vasudha,

      The shop i bought from is on Sarjapura Road, a few kms after Wipro corporate office. However there are many shops in Bangalore which sale these kind of terracotta tiles. I have seen shops in HSR layout, ourter ring road etc… So, finding them shouldn’t be difficult.

      Regards
      Raja


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