After reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I’ve become quite aware of how little I am doing in the vegetable growing and self-sufficiency department. My irritation and insecurity has stemmed from not knowing when to plant what and that the soil we have here needs a lot of help. Sowing seasons for the western world are well documented by bloggers but there are very few good Indian gardening blogs that tell you how and when to plant what. Finally I found him – the Geek Gardener – and I have now been re-inspired. Despite making our own compost, planting anything in the ground here is a tricky business. So following the Geek Gardener’s innovative and cheap ways to use containers to grow absolutely everything from coriander to watermelons, I’ve raided the storeroom for unused plastic containers. These plastic cereal jars were about 8 inches tall – the tops have been cut off a bit. Drainage holes have been made in the bottom by melting the plastic – a metal skewer heated over the fire should do the trick. For the coriander I’ve used the white plastic takeaway boxes (to the left of the picture below). These are hardly 3 inches and are also great substitute to grow saplings and transfer to a larger bed or ground.
Other containers you could use are dustbins or small buckets. They don’t last for more than 6 months in the sun but are infinitely cheaper than garden store/nursery made pots. The other thing he suggests is to go to a plastic recycling collection point, there are many in cities and small towns – you’ll know them by the empty plastic bottles hanging outside in long chains like some kind of urban art. Or ask your kabadiwala. Old milk crates and supermarket crates for vegetables, old plastic tubs are treasures for gardeners. When I find a good location in Vizag I shall report.
It’s been 5 days since the spinach was planted. Here are the results, bang on schedule:
The DH made a 1 foot deep square bed that he put together with some old wood. This served us well for tomatoes and it is where the Eggplant/Brinjal will be transplanted in to once the plant develops a little bit.For now I’ve planted the seeds about an inch deep in some small old pots, but takeaway containers will do the trick as well.
I plan to do two rows of brinjal plants along with 6 cloves of garlic, that have been planted today. Seeds in Vizag are available at Kisan Seeds in Dabagardens. OR order online at: http://www.kraftseeds.com for delivery to your doorstep.
Planting garlic is REALLY simple. Take a clove of garlic still in its outer sheath, make a 4 inch deep hole and stick in the garlic, pointy side up (flat base at the bottom)
Cover with soil and in a few months, the bulbs should have developed. First you’ll see shoots emerge, then flowers. The flowers should be removed so that the energy is not wasted and goes straight in to developing the bulb. Here’s a simple video from Growing Wisdom
I strongly recommend that you check out the Geek Gardener and be convinced that even if you don’t have a large space or fancy equipment, you can still grow in simple containers. His search system for articles is not all that good but it’s worth going through ‘ALL ARTICLES’ section – you’ll be amazed at how carrots, eggplants and all sorts of things can be grown on your balcony. He also has a good ‘when to sow’ chart with temperatures for when to grow veges in both North and South India.
June and July are great months to plant just about any vegetable. Go ahead and start becoming self-sufficient one vegetable at a time.