Kitchen Gardening Tactics: Fruits and Vegetables
Aiming for the perfect garden
Most of us want a garden that looks pretty and has good things to eat. Kitchen gardening may seem challenging and indeed it is if you do not use the proper approach. Fruits and vegetables are hugely regional and depend on the soil type in your locality. Here are some common items you could use to begin your kitchen garden.
I. Keep your choices practical
- Fennel: Fennel belongs to celery group of plants. This perennial herb has feathery leaves with yellow flowers. It is used as a flavoring agent in culinary preparations. People add it to curries, fries, salads and even in toothpastes. It has medicinal properties too. It is a summer crop that requires rich soil. It grows 4—6 feet in height. It requires hot conditions (32˚ C) to germinate. It needs full sunshine for good growth.
- Cilantro: Known as Dhania or parsley, the herb Cilantro has soft stems and grows up to 2 feet in height. It has round globular seeds about 3 mm in diameter which is dried and used as a spice in culinary preparations. These are used in salads, curries, chutneys and pickles. They are used in raw fresh form for seasoning dishes. This is a summer crop that does not tolerate cold weather too well. It requires good heat around 32˚ C to germinate. It grows to a height of 2 -- 2½ feet in height. People grow this herb in the middle of summer. It grows well in full or partial sunlight. It will grow well in any soil.
- Basil: Plant native to Southeast Asian countries like China and India, this herbal plant goes by the name of St Joseph’s Wort in English speaking countries. This perennial herb grows well in tropic climatic conditions and is used widely in culinary preparations like chicken fries, soups, cream and milk preparations. This herb needs high temperatures to germinate usually 35˚ C. The soil must be moist and rich. It grows well in summer and requires full sunlight. The plant is one or one and half feet in height.
Papayas trees grow very fast
B) Fruits and vegetables
- Beans: These vegetables grow as spreading bush type or a climbing vine type. The climbing vine type is the pole bean that require trellis for support. Plants do not usually survive once they are removed from the ground so they must be grown straight in their beds outside. Beans require 1 – 1½ inch deep soil, well drained and need frequent watering. Weeding must be regular but soil need not be too rich.
- Okra: This summer vegetable plant grows easily and has good nutritive value. It requires full sun and loamy soil. It takes 2 months to grow to harvesting stage. Keep the soil well watered. Mulch and manure the soil before you plant the seeds. You can make many tasty dishes with this vegetable.
- Onions: This grows well in cold season in ordinary soil. This is an indispensable vegetable in any kitchen. They need good sunshine, good well drained soil, raised beds and nitrogen rich fertilizer. Top of the onion will turn yellow when it ripens. Harvest the onions when they are brown. Allow onions to dry before storing them.
- Slicing tomatoes: This warm season crop bears one of the best fruits used in cooking. These fruits grow easily but their stems need support or staking. People use them in salads, soups, sandwiches, sauces and pickles. Use soil that is rich in nutrients (use fish emulsion and compost) that drains well.
- Papaya: This very nutrient rich fruit has essential amino acids, Vitamin C, potassium, iron and magnesium. Fruits are squishy making them perfect for fruit salads, juicing and for ice creams. The fruit tree grows well in rich well drained soil with lots of sunlight. However, they need protection for the first 18 months from the sun. Mulching will keep the soil just right for the Papaya plants.
Got a green thumb?
How deep are you into gardening?
A simple trellis
Best items for your garden
Neat and nice garden
II. Follow the best gardening practices
A) Prepare the soil first so that there is proper air ventilation and drainage.
- Turn the top hard soil over once at the start and at the end of the season. Break the clods up and dig the soil below and bring them up to the surface.
- Add mulch or compost soil and turn the bottom layer well. Spread the hard soil on the edges of the lawn or garden walk.
- Digging deep helps the water permeate and drain into the water table.
B) Weed the garden once every two or three days to keep those pesky weeds out.
- Weeds eat up nourishment that your garden plant requires.
- When preparing the soil, make sure you remove all roots along with the grass and you only use soil free of weeds.
- Weeds tend to spread from their growing place along the edges. So driving a stake or border along the perimeter will help restrict the growth of your grass.
C) Check for pests especially during budding or flowering time.
- Animals and birds
- Crows, mynahs and pigeons: This group of birds will eat up the seeds if they get a chance. Keep a good look out for them.
- Rabbits and squirrels: If you have rabbits or squirrels in your neighborhood, they will eat up the young plants. So be careful.
- Aphids: Aphids feed on the sap of the plant. These creatures are so tiny, they cannot be seen by the naked eye. They feed in large groups and migrate to other plants when the plant withers and dies. Usually spraying the plant with water (or a mild solution of water and dish-washing reagent) can get rid of these pests. You can also wipe them of the leaves.
- Japanese beetles: The Japanese beetles eat everything they see. The are 1 –2 cm long and lay their eggs in the soil. The beetle grubs remain 10 months underground before emerging from the ground as adult beetles and attacking plants. The way to get rid of these pets is to spray dish-washing solution between planting cycles. The grub will get out of the ground and the birds will pick them off one by one.
Harvesting your successful garden
If you do not find success with one particular fruit or vegetable, do not give up. Persist with another kind and get help from the local nursery or shop from where you buy seeds and fertilizer. Tactics in kitchen gardening are simple but effective only if you use them.