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 :)

Experimental growing and harvest of Onion and Carrot July 29, 2009

Any kitchen gardener probably loves harvest time the most, and am no different. Over the period of past 3 month’s, I have been gardening, I have developed a liking for harvest which is spread over a period of time and doesn’t come in one shot. The joy of having somethig to pluck from your own garden every morning is just awsome.

For almost a month now I have been harvesting cucumber, about 1 every day. That’s just from 4-5 plants and inspite of almost half of the cucumber being destroyed by aphids at early stage. But am not complaining, I have got my share of cucumbers and thoroughly enjoyed the good harvest along with few of my friends πŸ™‚

Moving over to Onions and Carrot, these are two items I had planted just on an experimental basis not expecting much in return. Carrot seed packet was bought from Lalbagh. They were so tiny and fragile looking and came with a reputation of not easy to grow, I had almost given up until I decided to give it a try by putting just few seeds and not wasting too much space on them. Germination ratio turned out to be pretty good. For the next 2 month’s the plant kept growing spreading this lovery green color and one had no way to find out how big the carrots were underneath.

Carrot plants

Carrot plants

Ultimately my patience ran out last weekend and I pulled them out. Here is what i got:

carrot harvest

carrot harvest


carrot harvest

carrot harvest

Probably they needed li’l more time… May be the right time to harvest carrot is just after the plant has flowered. I have already planted the next batch of carrot and hopefully they will see a better fate…
These tiny little carrots tasted very good though, and Zoya got the majority share

Zoya... Wants all the carrot harvest for herself

Zoya... Wants all the carrot harvest for herself

for behaving good all this while and not doing anything silly to the carrot plants. She is just mad about raw carrot’s, and loves lot of other veggies raw, like tomato, Squash and cucumber (Oh Yes!! she had stolen few of them from the garden).

Onions – Sometimes the nati variety (the smaller local variety) of Onions which we get from market start growing buds on them if kept unused for a longer period. This is exactly what happened with one batch of onions bought for our normal household use around 2 month’s back. My wife suggested i put them in our garden and I obliged. Over the past 2 month’s these onions plants have grown very well.

onion plant

onion plant

Lot of times we have harvested onion leafs by plucking few leaves from each plant selectively and carefully and taking care not to uproot the plant. However while doing our harvest on last weekend one of the onion plant got uprooted and we were in for some pleasant surprise. The single onion bulb has grown into this lovely bunch of tiny onions. The onions are now almost ready for harvest and probably will be consumed over next 15-20 days. I learn that once the onions have reached the desired size, watering should be stopped for a while ( a week??) to allow them to dry out under the soil and then the harvest should be done.

onion harvest

onion harvest


onion harvest

onion harvest

 

Attack of Aphids and first harvest of cucumber July 20, 2009

Probably pests are the single biggest challenge any organic gardener will ever face. Pests are capable of destroying standing crops in matter of days. I got first hand taste of it in the past few weeks.

Aphids eating my hibiscus plant, may be the ant there is tryng to rescue me

Aphids eating my hibiscus plant, may be the ant there is tryng to rescue me

My first encounter with pest in my garden was in form Aphids.
Aphids they were, first in very little numbers attacking my hibiscus plants.
While I was still at it trying to find a non-chemical organic answer to them, their attention turned to my cucumber plants. In matter of days lot of my tiny cucumber were eaten up (sucked??) by the aphids.

Life Sucked out fo the poor cucumber

Life Sucked out fo the poor cucumber

They were all over the place, attacking the flowers buds as soon as they started to show up.

They were everywhere. tracking each new flower bud :(

They were everywhere. tracking each new flower bud 😦

But finally I found answer ( may be non-organic but home based)

That’s mixing a liter of water in roughly 1 tbs detergent powder and edible oil (normal refine) and spraying it on the plant. Not sure if this was organic. Next time i will try with neem oil.

But I must admit it was a pain to flush out the pests by spraying this mix on each affected part. I wonder what organic options would a farmer doing farming in acres of land have against these pests.

Finally all is well that ends well. I harvested the first cucumber. It tasted yummy, the crunchiest i have tasted in a long time πŸ™‚ And what a journey it was from those tiny seeds to seedlings to now these tiny cucumbers and then to my family’s tummy… all in just 2 month’s time.
Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Harvest :)

Harvest πŸ™‚