Kitchen Garden

If not vegetables, at least a few green spices can easily be grown in every house. A curry patta plant in a pot, coriander (dhania) in a thali pot and verdant green mint (pudina) in a hanging basket can be easily accommodated on a sunny balcony or on a windowsill. If one has a terrace garden or an open garden, a few seasonal and perennial vegetables, fruit plants such As Guava, Fig, Lime / Lemons, Pineapple etc. and some other spices such as Haldi, Aam-Haldi, Ginger, Tamalpatra etc. can be grown. Some medicinal plants like Ajma, Acorus (Vekhand, Vacha), Lemon Grass, Pimpli, Tulsi also can be grown for home remedies.

Pudina (Mint) : A few fresh and leafy twigs of this herb, bought from the market can be planted in a hanging basket or in a thali pot. The cuttings should be planted horizontally in well drained, manure rich soil. As soon as the cuttings start to grow, remove their growing tips. This helps in prolific growth of side shoots. Pudina is a perennial plant; so, only a few leafy shoots may be harvested at a time for use. Thus the plants will continue to grow for at least a year. After this, it is advisable to replant Pudina with fresh new cuttings.

Haldi, Aam Haldi, Ginger : A few healthy and unscraped rhizomes of these plants should be planted in the month of April or May. The fresh rhizomes get ready for harvesting after monsoon when leaves start turning yellow, due to drying.

Coriander : Dhania must be grown from fresh seeds. The fresh seeds are always greenish-yellow in colour and have good fragrance. Contrary to the belief the seeds need not be crushed to halves before planting. If grown for use as a leafy herb, it can be grown any time of the year. For use in kitchen, required number of plants can be uprooted at a time. It is always better to have two sets of pots for this herb. Thus a second pot will be ready before the earlier one is completely harvested.

Curry Patta : This plant likes a very sunny location. One may obtain a sapling from a nursery. The small sucker plants, which grow around the larger ones, also can be replanted as new plants. If grown in a pot, do not allow more than one or two suckers to grow. If the suckers crowd in the pot, the main plant will suffer due to the competition. To get the dense growth, occasional pinching of the terminal buds is desirable. Flowers of this plant are extremely fragrant.

Fruit plants : These should not be confused with bonsai. Fig, Lemon, Sitafal, Chikoo, Guava, Papaya, Pineapple and Passion fruit creeper can be grown easily in a kitchen garden for full size fruits. Most of these can be grown as potted plants too, provided that the pots used for the purpose are large enough.

Saplings of all these plants can be obtained from a reliable nursery. Pineapple can be grown even from the crown of the fruit. A pineapple plant grown from a crown will yield a fruit in about 24 months. If grown from a sucker or a slip, they will yield within 12 to 18 months. Root pruning of the potted fruit plants will have to be carried out at least once a year. Unless the roots are pruned, the overgrown roots will throw out the soil and there is a chance of pot breaking too.