Vegetable and herb gardening tips for fresh family meals


A vegetable garden is a patch or plot on which vegetables are grown for human consumption. PHOTO | POOL

A vegetable garden is a patch or plot on which vegetables are grown for human consumption.

Generally, it is done for household consumption and it is done on a very small scale. Same way herb garden is a patch on which herbs are grown in the backyard or small planters, which are used for cooking.

The vegetable garden is as simple as putting a few seeds in the soil and hold back to see when they start germinating. There are a few points, which have to be considered before one starts a full-fledged garden to enjoy fresh vegetable-cooked meals.

Talking about constructing a vegetable garden start with simple crops like tomato or ladyfinger to build confidence and practice the basic requirements of vegetable gardening.

When establishing a vegetable garden, location is very important. The location has to be giving justice to the sunlight available for the growth of the plant. Here, for example, we say tomatoes and pepper or potatoes need a lot of sunlight, that is, six hours of sunlight is good enough.

Herbs like mint prefer indirect sunlight while vegetables like spinach and lettuce are like a partially sunny spot. In other words, before you decide on which vegetable or herb you chose to grow first go by the characteristics of the specific vegetable.

When doing a vegetable garden try and do it in the backyard or near the kitchen area, which makes it easy to pick the vegetables at any given point of time while cooking. Also, a vegetable garden sometimes gets messy as compared to well-pruned and well maintained and cut hedges, flowering plants and other plants and shrubs growing in the garden. Another reason vegetable gardens can be a bit messy is that some crops grow underground and others in the form of creepers so maintenance can be a bit of a task.

After all this what should be grown in the vegetable garden? The answer to this is to grow what your family likes to eat because if these vegetables are not used by the grower then it’s a waste of space, time, resources and effort.

One of the important factors is water. It is very important to keep water available all time for the vegetable garden. Watering can be done by hose pipe or to save time drip irrigation can be installed. Likewise, the soil used to grow vegetables should be soft and porous.

Kitchen waste like onion peel and banana peels, among others, can be dumped in the vegetable garden to make soil naturally healthy and nourishing.

The other best option I would suggest is dry neem and bamboo leaves, which make very good fertiliser. Try and make fertiliser at home by mixing the waste mentioned above with cow dung and letting it decompose. Here the goal is to make the soil organic and more healthy to avoid the use of chemical fertiliser.

Don’t use fresh manure (cow dung) but compost the fertiliser for six to 12 months. This is because in certain cases fresh fertiliser ends up burning the plants. Manure can be mixed with leaf mould and coco fibre to make it spongy and hold water to keep the soil moist.

Another way of reaping more in limited space is to make use of techniques like cultivating vegetables on raised beds of two or three layers.

Fill these raised beds with soil and compost mixture and then plant the vegetables.

The second method is to germinate and grow vegetables in plastic bottles until they are medium size. Once ready they can be transferred to the ground to get fresh vegetables.

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