Kitchen Gardening is such a vast subject that it can be written about almost on a monthly basis. After my first in the series, I received so many messages on how it helped many readers and friends, overcome the inhibitions of having a green patch and kindled a spark in them. Now to take it ahead I wish to speak on how I started the summer garden.
But it’s like a planning a baby and then having one. Also, habits and behavior pattern is no less than, the two siblings, where one can be a bit demanding, and other can be an easy, well-behaved child. Nonetheless, both need full attention from the parents.
What Grows In Summers
Summer veggies have a long list of Gourds, Beans and some favorite Nightshades which can be easily grown. There are a few essentials to a summer garden which should be in place before finalizing the list.
I know the heat is catching up but it’s still not too late, and we can still plan a summer green patch. The key in the whole subject is first to identify the area in your home where u wish to have the kitchen garden and understand the sun supply in that area. Even with the harsh summer sun, plants need at least 3-4 hours of sunlight. Although a great supply of sun is welcome for some summer veggies like gourds, as limited supply reduces the produce, still reasonable results can be achieved, with summer greens like Poi Spinach, Amaranthus, Purslane with a supply of 3-4 hours of direct sun.
Summers are a little tricky time of the year when it’s a battle to save plants from the harsh sun and at the same time watering needs increase with increasing heat. It’s always good to know how you are going to attend to your summer veggies once you have your decision to have them is in place. Watering twice a day is essential.
When I began with my summer vegetable garden, First thought was to identify what’s consumed in the family. Many vegetables are not very popular with kids but with them growing in the house I am hoping they will build a fondness towards them.
Key Factors while choosing wisely On the wish list
After identifying the sun and space available, the list was further refined as many plants need larger spaces and yield is little, making them very demanding and brought them down the list. So like ladyfinger was struck off the list looking at the yield per plant of about 6-8 ladyfingers, which meant I need at least 6-8 plants to have a full
a bowl of my weekly veggie at dinner and these 8 plants of ladyfingers will take about 8 s square feet area of my garden. Which in turn can have almost any of the two to three gourds like bitter gourd/ Bottle gourd/ Tinda/ Ridge gourd growing and yielding almost nonstop supply every week of family veggies? Beans also topped my list as they too have high yield and less requirement of space, as guar beans are favorite and 4 of the plants can be grown in a square foot of soil, and yield weekly supply.
Some herbs are happy summer herbs and always a pleasure to have them grown around, like Mint, Parsley. Chilies are another easy veggie, like a little less troublesome child.
So after a lot of discussions, sun movement analysis, we came down to a list of veggies which all in family happily agreed to.
We finally decided to have ridge gourd and bottle gourd, which was given the space next to a large wall for a good support that they would need for a full bloom climber. Bottle gourds are heavy climbers and are bulky plants and they do not like to share space so two in a large 4 square feet pot is what we have, and with these two climbers, we are expecting a bi-weekly produce, for a family of four. With ridged gourd also we limited to having one climber
per two squaree feet of soil area as they need space to grow and have good produce. But we had some space in front of the pot where we decide to grow chilli plants as this way they get space required to bloom and unhindered sun, as tori, is a light climber and not so large leaves. This is called multi farming as this allows you to utilise the space well. Also, there is a concept of companionship in plants. Which means some plats like to grow in each other’s company where as others do not support mutual growth. Like in the initial stages of tomato plant some greens like spinach can grow in and around the plant, and as the tomato matures and hinders sun, the greens are well harvested. Brinjal and tomatoes cant grow together as brinjals need good sun from the very beginning and both tomatoes and Brinjal have almost similar maturing cycles.
For tinda and karela we have about six plants each in an area of about 4 square feet each with an average of two plants per square feet. But one needs more plants of these veggies taking in account of the yield that each will have. You can’t have one tinda climber and be happy with a small produce of 5-6 tindas every 15 days and wait to cook till they yield next batch.
Two brinjal plants were a good deal for a family of four, and space of about one square foot per plant.
Amaranthus was one plant along with poi saag that we introduced into the garden and also to our kitchens this year looking at their nutritional values and comfort of growing them. Poi saag is a perriniel climber and yields in summers and hibernates in winters. Amaranths grow happily in limited space and in the company of tomatoes, so we lodged it with our tomato plants. I have already harvested first produce and distributed some as it was in abundance. My son and Si, my daughter both approved of this new member in our kitchen and enjoyed the first ever cooked amaranthus. Believe me, its a pleasure to have these in my garden,
and I am also exploring.ng new ideas with this veggie
Zucchini is the only fancy vegetable we have decided to introduce to our patch as our kitchen garden expert advised that these are no fuss plants and grow well provided given good sun and space. They need uninterrupted space of about two square feet per plant.
Now with a little love, a little guidance from the experts, and some patience, get summer ready and chose for what is best suited to your resoiurces and do attempt to have some of them these summers.
Key to a happy kitchen gardening is, go slow, go planned, don’t be overambitious if it’s your first attempt, be ready to nurture as they are your new pets, which can be demanding. My kitchen Garden Expert Julie always suggests me to keep my anxiety in check while it can be overwhelming to have a beautiful garden around you and anxiety to have all that you can imagine can just land you in disappointment. Key to a competent and wise Gardner is to be patient, Go slow, Learn as you grow and set realistic goals.
A good product is just a result of multiple factors, and no guarantees whatsoever can be sought from anyone on this. Nonetheless, enjoy the journey of the greens in your world, and make a happy space to live.
This is not an expert guide to kitchen Gardening but a gardener outlook towards what I experience during my journey and would love to answer any doubts to best of my capacity.