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 :)

Few Updates from the Garden June 24, 2009

It’s been close to 2 month’s now since I started working on my garden. Feels like the time just flew by, I would have loved to get more stuff done by now but few things didn’t work out as expected.

In my over eagerness to start work in the garden I overlooked few things and paid a price for it. As mentioned in my earlier posts, almost 2 feet of red soil was filled in the garden. Soon after the soil filling I had done few seed starting and li’l seedlings of them were doing well. There were few downpours after that, which made me realize, the soil filling wasn’t enough as there was water logging in the garden. So, more soil had to be filled. More soil, meant an untimely burial for the few tiny plants which had grown by then :(. We tried to salvage few green leafy ones by transplanting them into containers, but that didn’t succeed as they were not of the transplantable variety and also too small for it anyway.

Apart from that of course, there is plenty to cheer about from my garden (Or Kitchen Garden, as I like it to be).

First on the show is this papaya plant which had come home in a tiny plastic bag from a neighborhood nursery almost 40 days back. In the nursery it was there along with not less than 100 more of it’s variety. In the first few days it looked very lost. But now you can say, from the look of it, it calls my home as it’s own.

Papaya Plant

Papaya Plant

Next on the ramp are these tiny onion plants. The credit for these ones goes to my wife, because she spotted these small green shoots coming out of the tiny onions (Nati variety and not the larger ones) we had got from the market. I planted them in a small patch and look at them, they are hardly a month old. They are giving us a regular harvest πŸ™‚

Onion plants

Onion plants

Next are these tomato plants, they have now been transplanted from the tiny plastic glasses in to the soil. Transplant was pretty neat, basically just cut open the plastic glass.

Tomato

Tomato

Take a closer look. I think in few more days it should start flowering.

Tomato - a closer look, should start flowering soon

Tomato - a closer look, should start flowering soon

Next on the show is this cute little Pudina plant. I had got it from Department of Horticulture,Hulimavu. Already we are able to get few leaves out of it once in few days. Looks like in few more days it can meet the full time demand of a two member family. Else one more will have to be planted πŸ™‚

Pudina

Pudina

Next is something, which I had planted just as an experiment, and never quite believed it can yield. But this little plant or two are trying to prove a point here. In the healthier one, there are already signs of 4-5 peas, the weaker one has just given one healthy pea. But am inspired by this show from the peas plants and by this article by Mr. D.V.Sridharan of Good New India Fame and have now seed started quite a few of peas plant directly in the soil. Leguminous plant like pea have excellent utility as a pioneer crop (first crop in a hitherto barren land), because of their capability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Pea in a container

Pea in a container

Next on the show are these cucumber plants. Seeds of cucumber, are so very frail looking that I couldn’t stop myself from putting quite a few of them in the same place. They don’t seem to complain even a bit about it and are enjoying the camaraderie. Some of them have taken the aerial route and trying to climb the ropes on to the wall while few others have started crawling on the elevated platform given to them by me on a network of ropes and sticks.

Cucumber plants

Cucumber plants

Cucumber have also taught me few things I didn’t knew before. There are two kind of cucumber flowers, one which start with a tiny Cucumber at their back and there ones which never fruit and just dry after a day of bloom. Take a look

These cucumber flowers won't yield

These cucumber flowers won't yield

This cucumber flower comes with yield

This cucumber flower comes with yield

Next are these gladiolus plants, no flowers yet, but doesn’t seem too far.

Gladiolus plants

Gladiolus plants

This period of 2 month’s have given me good amount of time to ruminate on what I want to do with my garden. I am now more and more inclined to keep my garden as predominantly a kitchen garden with few flowers and decorative plants in between. The taste of the harvests I have had till now and the joy one gets out of growing vegetable plants have made my resolve stronger. Here are they for your viewing pleasure.

Harvest of Palak and Onion leafs

Harvest of Palak and Onion leafs

Harvest of Poi Saga, normally used in curry with Fish head

Harvest of Poi Saga, normally used in curry with Fish head

I have also realized that the red soil in my garden, (now top soil for my garden) was probably dug from somewhere deep down the earth from some construction site. I guess, as a result this soil doesn’t have much of nutrient in it. So, I am supplying a fair amount of compost to it almost on a fortnightly basis. I am mostly depending on the local Gobara compost available in my neighborhood. Sometime back I had been able to get a few kgs of Vermi-Compost from DoH. One major difference I could feel among the compost from DoH and Compost Factory is texture of the compost from DoH feels very soft and soil like where as the one from Compost Factory feels very coarse and has a kind of chemical smell, not sure why. So, for the time being I have decided to rely on my instinct and avoid the compost from the Factory.

One more interesting development is, Mr. Raghu, of Agriclture Man Ecology Foundation has got in touch with me through this blog. He has offered to do a soil analysis for some fees. He also informed me of some courses which they are conducting on Organic Kitchen gardening, I may attend one of those given that the time and cost are right for me πŸ™‚

Over mail Mr. Raghu was able to help me out with answer for one of the problems am facing. i.e., What can be grown in the places that doesn’t get direct sunlight (Bright Shade)? Here is what he had to say about it. Hope it help many others:

“Vegetables normally do best in full sun. But since you have bright shade, but no direct sun, you could try and grow stuff that normally (in Bangalore conditions) are grown under shade net. This could be cherry tomatoes, baby corn, capsicum (bell peppers), you could also try and grow betel leaves and pepper (you’ll have to provide humidity by spraying water) and the leafy green vegetables. You could also grow turmeric, ginger, galangal, etc. – all medicinal -there is quite a range!! If you want to grow ornamentals you could try coleus (colourful leaves), impatiens (flowers), and other stuff… All the best!”

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I got the containers May 14, 2009

I needed few containers which can be put up in the space which gets nice and direct sunlgiht but unfortunately covered by concrete in the form of boundary wall foundation and storm water drain. Human is always greedy for more πŸ™‚
So, I was on the look out for economical containers in good numbers which can be put on these two places. I had enguired with few nurseries and at Lalbagh. The average cost for a decent size container was some where around Rs. 100/-.
I had to get them quickly, so that those can be filled with the red soil before the garden contractor from the builder side is gone. My guess was it’s always going to get more difficult to get the soil filled up in the container after that.

Finally, yesterday I found the gold mine. Builder was selling off the old/used paint containers to one guy. And it so happened, I reached the right place at the right time, or so i think till now πŸ™‚ I bought few of those containers… Here are they seating pretty in my garden, waiting to be filled up with soil.

Containers seating pretty on the boundry foundation wall and gladiolus bulbs

Containers seating pretty on the boundry foundation wall

I bought all of 20 pcs for 1k, not a bad bargain i guess, given that these containers are huge in size and can have fairly large plants in them. Very happy at this development. Next i’ll try to get few rectangular cement pots, for putting onΒ  the storm water drain, normally available with the road side vendors around hsr layout. They too cost around Rs. 100/- each.

Apart from these development, here is an update from my Garden. Spinach (or is it coriander ??) have started sprouting. Papaya is shedding it’s bottom 2 leafs and two new leafs are coming up πŸ™‚ My mom is very excited about this. As kids we had a papaya plant in our front yard which use to give plenty of vegetable for her curries. She has fond memories of those. So, she insists i plant one more of papaya plant and i’ll oblige soon.

The jasmine i had bought from the nursery is in full bloom. 6 gladiolus bulbs which i had bought from Lalbagh last weekend for 60 rs and out of which one was rotten have also been placed properly in front area of drawing room. In the interim 4 days I had placed them in the plastic glasses, and surprisingly today while planting them in soil I observed they already have roots.

Gladiolus Bulbs goes there

Gladiolus Bulbs goes there

Jasmine

Jasmine

That’s it for now. More updates will follow

KitchenGardener