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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Veggie garden update

One of the most wonderful things I have experienced with being a SAHM is to have time for things like cooking and now gardening - both activities that I never could get enough enthusiasm for while I was working full-time. At the end of a long working day, the thought of entering the kitchen at 8 o'clock to try and make something for dinner used to be such a drag, that I never got around to figuring out much about cooking except for the basic recipes. It is only now that I have the time, I have come to realize that, in reality I don't dislike this activity :). Trying out interesting new recipes in baking and cooking has become an enjoyable part of my life.

The other activity that is now occupying me is my kitchen garden. I used to have a fascination for flowering and ornamental plants, but growing vegetables has brought me closer to the hands-on act of gardening. For the first time, I literally got my hands dirty and did a lot of the potting/repotting myself, and I feel so much more connected to the whole process than getting someone else to do it all for me.

I started with brinjals and tomatoes a few months ago. And now after attending a workshop about Organic Kitchen Gardening, I am all geared up for really scaling up on my veggies. Last week I planted some radish seeds, some broad beans(avarakkai) seeds and some greens like thyme, mint and coriander. The radish seeds were a bit old so I was sceptical if they would be viable but imagine my thrill to see the sprouts coming up yesterday :). I can now understand a little about the sense of pride a farmer must feel when I feel so thrilled at hopefully being able to provide a small percentage of my family's food intake!

This post is also a way for me to record the progress of the seeds I have sown, so here goes:
Updated photo of radish as on 29th Jan :)

19th Jan:
Planted seeds of Radish, Avarakkai(Hyacinth Beans - that sounds so much more interesting than our humble tamizh name ;)), Thyme, Mint, Coriander

22nd Jan:
Radish sprouted

Mandarin Orange

24th Jan:
- Squash(trying to germinate first in seed tray), Karamani(Long beans), Bitter Gourd, Cucumber and Palak.
- Chilly seedling, Strawberry, Aloe Vera and Mandarin Orange plants that I picked up from Lalbagh the previous day have been transplanted into pots.
- Broad Beans have just started sprouting

Note: Thanks Shruthi for name clarifications!

I am still hoping to procure some okra seeds as that is one of my favourite vegetables, who doesn't like vendekkai ;) ? Also making some valiant attempts to get my own seeds out of lemons given from my mom-in-law's plants. Have just set them to dry, will be very surprized if I actually get any seedlings out of them, especially for a first attempt.

Another interesting part of this exercise has been trying to figure out what the plants are going to look like i.e. vines/creepers or just bushy plants because they need to be planted according to their nature. As of now I am hoping the squash is not a creeper like pumpkin since the photos online seem to look like a bushy plant. For the rest of it, my bets are made and fingers crossed ;).

Meanwhile the composting goes on, 5th cycle currently. I had a slight setback because my first cycle compost that I used for the plants didn't seem to do them very well. So I am being extra careful with my 2nd set - going to check for maturity (as given at Daily Dump) before I use it for just one pot and see how it goes. This is the 2nd lot after sieving and (hopefully) ready to use!


  1. oh wow Aparna, am so proud of your achievement!
    These are just I know what kept you away from blogging. This must be so fulfilling an activity, esp. if you enjoy these.
    I have a huge block against gardening. I am just too lazy to do so much manual labour I think ;-)

  2. Great post, aparna! You have put in so much of effort and time in these activities. I can understand the satisfaction you gain from growing part of your own food.
    Now see - this is one of those things I like to see others doing :) am too lazy to do them myself!
    On another note, great to see a much higher frequency of blog posts from you!

  3. Thanks both you gals for your nice words :). Believe you me, I also felt the same way a few years back. Though it's a bit difficult sometimes due to space or work/time limitations, if you just start out with growing some herbs (even coriander which grows on window sills too I've heard!), you'll join the movement soon ;). Not meaning to sound goody goody here, just trying to spread the enthusiasm!

    I'm amazed myself that every new brinjal on that plant still gives me the same sense of wonder that the first one did :).

  4. Awesome Aparna, damn proud of you!!! I wish I had the space for a kitchen garden. All I have is basil in a small pot (which I have used thrice but still grows!!) and recently planted some mint. Let me know how your herbs turn out and good luck with all the other yummy stuff you've planted :)

  5. Thanks Poornima :). Been so long since we met, let's plan a meet at my place soon, all the interior work is finally done! Most of my plants are only seedlings right now, but I am so proud of them :).
    Don't know much about basil, just trying to learn. At Lalbagh they sold me something called Spanish Basil, and I find that is not even a type so have to figure out what it actually is!! Smells super though. Mint apparently grows very aggressively, but seems to take a while to sprout. Mine is 10 days+ and not yet showing any signs of coming out, let me know how long it takes at your place if you've also planted from seed.

  6. Ya, know what you mean, all my plants are like my babies to me :)) (although I dont have a green thumb and its more of a case of survival of the fittest!). I didn't use any seeds for the mint plants, just planted the stems after I used the leaves for cooking. Apparently they grow well this way too and want to try with rosemary. Its been a few days now and they havent died yet - so ya hoping for the best!!

    Have never heard of spanish basil!!! I've seen Italian, Thai and lemon basil in Blore. I have the italian basil at home.

    And yes, lets catch up soon!

  7. Yes I heard that mint grows from the stem, great to know it works :). I hardly have a green thumb, just the enthusiasm carrying me through, keeping fingers crossed that most will survive!
    Definitely in the next couple of weeks :).