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 :)

Lalbagh Independence Day flower show 2010 – Part I (veggies) August 10, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 4:04 pm

I visited the flower show in Lalbagh last weekend.

Let me first post set of pictures of vegetable’s grown in container’s. In the next post i’ll post the flower pictures.

that's a favorite of mine, i keep growing it and now have lot of seeds saved



seeing this for the first time in India, i know of gardener who grows it in US though

those are snake gourd in the background, almost 5 ft long!!

pumpkins grown in container

brinjal


capcisum


different varities of chilli


cabbages grown in container.. container are hidden beneath


really nice growth for container garden

These are few seed packets that i bought. Am going to try growing Broccoli seeds for the first time.

seeds

And here is a packet for bone meal (40/kg), urea(30/kg) and dap(30/kg). Urea and DAP are meant for my lawn grass only and the bone meal(5 kg) for my kitchen garden.

Bone Meal, Urea and DAP


Hope you enjoyed the pics as much as i enjoyed the show!

 

National Seminar on Organic Terrace Gardening August 1, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 3:17 pm

University of Agricultural Science

Some 2-3 month’s back (or is it more?) i received the brochure for National Seminar on Organic Terrace gardening which is scheduled to happen on 9th and 10th of September 2010. Venue is Convention Center, UAS(University of Agricultural Science) Alumni Association, Hebbal, Bangalore 560024.

Although i always wanted to attend the seminar the thought of having to take leave on 2 working days made me defer my decision.

Now with only a month to go and with the knowledge that 10th September is a holiday for Id-ul-Fitar I have finally made up my mind to attend this.

There are 3 important aspects because of which i want to attend this seminar.

1. The first reason is it’s being organized by Dr. B.N.Viswanath, the man who is considered the pioneer of the concept of terrace gardening and his book ‘organic terrace gardening’ is probably one of the very few books on the topic from an Indian context. So, i expect the seminar to be really good.

2. The second attraction is of visiting the UAS campus itself. For the uninitiated UAS campus is one the greenest campus spread over 200 acres of land in the city of Bangalore, probably one of the few bastions of famed Bangalore greenery. My initial introduction to UAS campus was through my friends in the marathon group who were always waiting for a chance to go to UAS for a long run amidst the greenery. I could never make it there always owing to a different reasons but mainly because of the distance (it’s 20+ kms from my home). A bike ride from Bangalore south to Bangalore North on early mornings like 4:30 am held me back always. So, now that i have got a chance to visit UAS, i don’t want to miss it. I plan to travel by my car and will have 4 seats available. If you too plan to travel from Bangalore south ,feel free to drop me a comment to car pool.

3. Third and most important aspect is that of field visits on 2nd day of the seminar. I expect that to be a real good opportunity to meet people who are growing our food and get to learn and have fun.

The last date for registration is 30th August and there is good amount of time if any of you want to register for the event. So, what are you waiting for now ??

Attached here is the brochure for the Seminar. People who are interested to register can fill up this form and send it along with a draft of Rs.500/- (cheque will also do if it’s local- Bangalore) to the address mentioned in the brochure. Dr. Viswanath was of the opinion that he can also make available a account number to which the amount can be transferred online. Please contact him on the number given in the brochure to get more details about the same.

National Seminar Brouchre

Hope to see some of you there!!

 

THE END of Papaya plant July 21, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 2:24 pm

I know that’s not good news. But that’s how life is… Mix of good and bad. isn’t it ??

The Papaya plant’s leaf turned pale and started drying up starting from top. Yah, that’s a departure from what i have seen in the past. Usually the leafs would get pale from the bottom, then dry out and fall. But this time it all started from top and in just a weeks time all the leaves have dried up.
Seeing the way it’s going i see very less chance of it’s revival.

papaya plant

papaya plant

I have no concrete idea on what could have caused this. Few reasons that I can fathom are:
1. I am seeing few white ant’s in my garden. Could they have eaten up the roots ? But can they bring down such a healthy plant in matter of just a week ?
2. The plant is now almost 14 month old.Could that be the lifespan of this variety ? But i still see lot of small papaya’s towards the top and it’s not normal for a fruiting plant to die so suddenly. I would imagine it would stop fruiting first before coming to end of life.

But when the logical thinking young generation can’t think of an answer you can always trust the older generation to come up with one. So, here are few reasonings floated by many of the old timers from my immediate family and friends. ‘Kisi ki najar lag gayi’, if you are an Indian you probably know the meaning. isn’t it ?? It simply means it burned because of someone’s evil eye 😦 Another theory is the plants and pets of a house take the evil eye on themselves and protect the home owner and family. I think we all have come across stories substantiating such theories in the past, right ?

For close to 6 month’s now it has been giving me very sweet and nutritious papaya’s. Although i haven’t kept any count of how many i have harvested till now my guesstimate would be close to 100. At an average weight of .5kg per papaya the total harvest has been some where close to 50 kg over a period of 6 months. Me, my family, many of my friends and many readers of this blog who had an opportunity to visit my garden during this period too have enjoyed it.

For a plant which has given such tremendous output and lived it’s life so fruitfully it definitely deserves a big thanks from me πŸ™‚ So, instead of being sad about it’s end i want to celebrate it’s life and contribution to my family for all this time. It’s all good memories and it will be fondly remembered πŸ™‚

In the meanwhile i have also got the ‘largest Brinjal’ harvest from my garden. it weighed a cool 400 gm and tasted delicious.

the largest brinjal

And here is one more harvest of peas, sweet pepper, lettuce and okra.

harvest

 

Growing round radish July 10, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 5:39 pm

I must accept i have been little lazy of late in my blog posts πŸ™‚ Honestly I’ve been little lazy even in my efforts in the garden too.

So it’s time to sit back and introspect, what probably causes this kind of laziness once in while in gardening ?

For me the answers that came are:
1. I have been getting plenty of harvest from my garden in the last 2-3 month’s. There has been not a single vacant spot for new planting, so there was very less to do and that induced a little bit laziness.
2. One more reason is sunlight has been less favorable for the last 1-2 month’s. Like i have said before my garden goes through patches of 6 months of proper and poor sunlight.

This season i grew round radish for the first time.
Seed starting was done on March 14th after the usual over night soaking in water and pancahgavya mix. Seed starting medium i used was mix of coco-peat and compost in 60:40 ratio.
By March 20th they were ready for transplant. Here is a pic after the transplant. This time i have tried growing beans and radish in companion as they good companion plants. On the left patch you can see the radish and beans just after transplantation. On the right you can see the green shade net. I use it mostly to give cover to the new transplants for few days if the sun is very strong. In this case the shade net wasn’t required as the papaya plant was giving shade to the transplants for a good part of the day.

round radish after transplant

Here is a closer look just to give you an idea of the spacing between the rows of beans and radish. Of course if one can afford more space it’s better to give it, because the radish has to be pulled from beneath the soil while the beans are still growing, so you don’t want to do any harm to the beans plant roots.

spacing between the radish and beans

Here is the same patch on April 13th. i.e., just one month from seed starting.

grown up beans and round radish

very dense growth isn’t it ??

I pulled out the first radish just to check if they are ready for harvest on May 1st rougly 45 days from seed starting and voila!! it’s ready.

first harvest of round radish

Here is the second major harvest on May 9th.

2nd harvest

We enjoyed some really great muli paratha and also the muli greens which were harvested many times even before the actual harvest. Hope you enjoyed the visual pleasure too !!

 

Growing Rajma/Red Beans May 31, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 2:28 pm
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Yup, you heard it right. I grew Rajma this time.

I had picked up a packet of red beans seeds from the last Namma Santhe, just out of curiosity and my love for legumes and creepers, which is what this variety of read beans . Little did I knew that red beans is just another name for what are more commonly known as kidney beans or locally known as Rajma.

The seeds are of Nati variety and a tad smaller size compared to what we get in shops.

I seed started on March 14th. The regular process i follow is, one night of soaking in water followed by discarding the ones which do not bloat probably indicating poor seeds and am all set to seed start.
The medium is a mix of coco-peat and compost. Mostly in 60:40 ratio. Adding compost to the seed starting mix keeps me bother free on the nutrient requirement of the seedlings even if they were to grow in the small plastic cups for little longer.

On the 2nd day after seed starting 80% of seeds had already germinated and were showing up the cotyledons.
Here is a pic on 21st of March, thats just 7 days from seed starting. They are already big enough to be transplanted to soil or bigger pots depending on what one choses.

rajma seedlings 7 days old

The seedlings the above pic are probably little bit taller than what would be considered as ready for transplant stage and that’s because they were in a shaded place all the while and were looking for sunlight making them taller than usual.

Transplanting is pretty easy and neat if you are seed starting in a cup of this size. Make space roughly of the size of cup in the growing medium.

transplanting

a gentle tap or two at the bottom of the glass after inverting it and the seedling will be out in your hand with all the root intact and unaffected.

transplanting -2


Put the seedling in the hole and fill soil.

transplanting -3

April 5th (21st Day). The seedlings have now grown and are looking for support. So, here is the trellis. The small bamboo poles used for trellis are available with most of the bamboo sellers int the town. I bought these from Madiwala market. I also tied up small cotton strings from the poles to the base of individual plant, just to guide them onto the trellis.

trellis made of bamboo poles

April 8th: The plant has already found the way to climb up the trellis.

on the trellis

April 22nd (38th day); plant at it’s best and has already climbed a height of 6 ft.

red beans

Now nowhere to go it starts it journey downwards and stops growing further. I get a sense if the trellis was longer or if there was something it could have climbed on the plant would have grown longer and robust.

In between 38th day and 76th day i.e., it flowered and the beans started appearing all over the plant.

Here is the harvest on 30th May. They beans were left to dry up on the plant. In the picture right you can see the various stage of growth of the beans: the white one on the right top is from from the green beans, the pinkish ones on the left of the white are little riper, then on the bottom are the mature ones but yet to dry up and on the plate you see the dried ones. Looks like very little harvest, right ? Well it is, but we soaked them overnight before making curry and they made for one nice curry serving for two of us.

rajma harvest


harvest - 2


rajma after one of soaking

In the meanwhile my papaya plant has been very kind to me and is steadily gaining stardom in our apartment as one of the sweetest people have ever tasted. I have harvested almost 40-50 of them in the past 5 months. One more good news is we are kind of self sufficient in veggies for almost past 2 month’s now, buying only potato,Onion,Garlic and ginger from outside. There is Okra, Brinjal, Round radish, Chilli, Bitter gourd, cucumber, methi greens, mint, lettuce, indian spinach, spinach, sweet pepper, coriander, string less beans, capsicum, tomato,carrot all growing very nicely and giving us a steady harvest for the last 2 month’s. But winter has already set in for our kitchen garden and there is less sun these days(only 30% of the space gets sunlight). It will remain like this for the next 4 month’s 😦

Papaya


papaya - 2

 

Day’s Harvest April 28, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 6:25 am

Have been very busy for the past few days. Although there is plenty to write, time is at a premium. My mother and father have come down to Bangalore and time just flies by discussing all the plants πŸ™‚

At the same time, i’m probably going through one of the best patches in terms of harvest from the garden.

Here is a snap of the harvest we had today.

day's harvest

It’s all coming together, from left top it is lettuce, radish leaves, kosala saga ( a kind of green – am not sure of the English name), brinjal, beans, capsicum, tomato and okra.

I am getting this kind of harvest once in almost every 3-4 days. Do i need to say all the hard work is paying off πŸ™‚

Hope to do the next post on the complete life cycle of some of these plants, i.e., from seed starting to harvest and seed saving.
Ciao till then!!

 

Correction on DoH training topic April 22, 2010

Filed under: Organic Farming and Kitchen Garden — rajapanda @ 3:27 am

Sorry folks. There has been a goof up by me on the topic of training from DoH.

Actually I had got a call from DoH saying there is a training on 23 & 24th and I had wrongly assumed it’s on Kitchen/Terrace Gardening. They also hadn’t informed me categorically about the topic of the training.So, basically it’s my fault.

I have now called up Mr. Chunchaiah and got a clarification.

The training is on Mushroom Cultivation on 23 & 24th and on Medicinal plants on 29th & 30th.

For the time being there is no training planned on the topic of Kitchen/Terrace gardening specifically.

My apologies to all of you. I sincerely hope the mis-information from me hasn’t caused difficulty to anyone.