Monday, 9 November 2015

Garden Update!!

Choddo Shak

Today is Choti Diwali. And tomorrow is Diwali. I want to go green and want everyone of you who are reading, to think about it too. Today we create a dish with 14 different leafy veggies and eat it after lighting 14 diyas around the house. Its an age old custom marking the onset of festivities in Bengal. Diwali is special, but lets just keep the noise and smoke levels down. Festive time should never be marked with enjoyment over smoke and noise. HAPPY DIWALI!!  

I wasn’t a gardener before I shifted here in Gurgaon. In pretty much the same rent, I could now afford a big balcony. The drab red tiles with white walls didn’t really look that interesting. So I started touring the nearby nurseries. Another good thing about Gurgaon is that they have plenty of nurseries everywhere you go. I went to a couple, found my favourite amongst it, and kept revisiting. I love to haggle with the guy, does 20 bucks really matter to anyone anymore. I grinningly give him that 20 and take a couple of seedlings as a gift from him. For him, those seedlings may actually never find a pot if someone doesn’t buy it already. And with the advent of the idea of organic gardening, I guess many of us shy away from picking these seedlings in a bulk. For me, the start doesn’t really matter. Its ok even if it’s inorganic because really a seedling doesn’t need much of nutrition from outside to survive. The growth inside our balconies are more important and that decides organic or inorganic for me.

I use a couple of plant food which are a mix of organic and inorganic. A packet of bought vermi compost, followed by online deliveries of bone meal, sea weed extract and Epsom salt. I use neem oil mixed with vim as a pesticide. Between my days, whenever I can find an hour, I sneak into my container garden to mend to my plants. This is my exercise for the day as well as a reason to smile! Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of a local gardener. But I like it that way. I find more peace in the fact that I got them to grow this big and tall and the fruits are really the fruits of my labour. This post is a quick update of a few that is growing in my little container garden!

It all started with 2 humble pots and seeds. One had tomato seedlings transplanted, other had chillies. 

The pumpkin seeds were sown from a store bought ripe pumpkin, and then the seedlings were transplanted in these huge containers. I had to find the sunniest spot for these crawlers, away from all other plants. My family has devoured these lovely yellow blossoms, as the pumpkin flower is edible and tastes great when fried in a rice - gram flour coating. I am yet to receive a flower with a little pumpkin on the end. These are called female flowers, which gives birth to a pumpkin. I haven't got any yet. Hoping I do get one or two such flowers soon. 

This above picture was taken way back. I had just transplanted my seedlings in these shiny pots. The local nursery gave me seed packets at 20 - 40 INR. I sowed a variety of it in seedling trays, and then carefully transplanted each seedling in new pots with garden soil. The red elongated planters are my bean plants. This picture would have been taken about a week before my first beans sprouted.

The first little beans sprouted like so and led onto a bean explosion in my garden. 

I absolutely love growing this crop. It has kept a constant supply of beans since more than a month now for my kitchen. I don't particularly think this is the season for beans, but yet I am able to harvest beans every week, enough to feed our small family of 3 once a week.  

The banana has sprouted many leaves now for making a good dish Paturi/Patrani style. The little seedlings of brinjals have formed majestic looking fruits now. I have about 10 little brinjals growing right away. The spinach, red amaranth, basil and kaffir lime leaves are continuously cooked with. The radishes from the above picture have been pulled out and eaten satisfactorily, and another batch of seeds were sown and mended to as well. 
Harvested 5 of these! :) 

But the most curious case of my garden remains this tomato plant. A windy night saw it break down into 2 separate pieces. The murdourous scene is still etched in my mind. The stalk and the root got separated, and so I took the stalk, plucked off the bottom leaves and put it an inch deep, back in the soil. The fine hair on the stalk gave birth to new roots and that exact plant came upto life again. My first tomato from the garden came from that plant itself.  

This post was written for encouraging more people to go the greener way. This is not only a very inexpensive hobby, but is one of the most fulfilling ones as well. Today I chronicled a small patch of my garden, talking about just a few of the plants I grow. I have a full list of various different kinds of chillies and lemon plants which I will talk about sometime later. I have even tossed in a few potato cut outs to see if I can ever get some potatoes out of a pot, some soil and 1/4th of a cut seed potato. 

This weekend, I will transplant carrots and beetroot seedlings to its own pots for the winter crops to come to life. These few months of gardening has really helped me understand life better. The new growth will always fill us with happiness all around. 



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