Is it necessary to have a large plot of land for a vegetable garden?. Yes, it’s necessary to have a large plot for a vegetable garden if the vegetables are meant for a commercial purpose or if one has a huge joint family. But not for personal use of a small family consisting of  3-4  family members. And even for this one need not have land. 

“How?”, you may wonder. However small may  be the size of the family, how on earth one can grow a small vegetable garden without land?

Yes it can be grown in pots and containers. How many of the city dwellers in the present scenario can say that he has the pleasure of eating freshly plucked vegetables he has grown? 

Presently organically grown vegetables are highly expensive. Why? Because, to grow vegetables without using pesticides has become expensive because, it’s not possible to grow vegetables without using pesticides on a large scale.People are gradually waking up to the fact, chemicals are not welcome in our food. Which is why people are leaning towards growing their own vegetables in their homes without using pesticides.

But urbanization made the cities narrower and narrower, it has become difficult to find a place to live.  In this dreary background, how anyone can think of a vegetable garden? That’s exactly what this article is going to discuss. 

CONTAINERBut before that a bit of history.

History says the practice of growing the plants in containers was very much there for more than 3500 years. It means , growing  plants in smaller places was not a condition created out of extreme conditions of lack of place or urbanization, like the conditions we are in right now.

What all you need is a strip of balcony or a tiny area in your terrace.  You will be surprised to know, many edible plants do not demand much space or much care. What all they need is a place with lots of sunshine. Now coming exactly to the point,  we discuss the possibilities of  growing a mini vegetable garden in a small place.

 A few points worth noting.

At the very outset, we should bear in mind that the soil that is needed for the healthy growth of  vegetables grown in small areas must be  very rich. That is the soil should contain nutrients like, nitrogen, phosphorous  and potassium . The last one, that is potassium makes your produce large and luscious. 

Containers for vegetables must have good drainage. And what about the containers?

Broken buckets, unused  baby’s old bath tub from the attic of your good neighbor, old plastic basins, anything will do. The criteria is the containers should have enough depth to accommodate the heavy root structure of the vegetables, as many vegetables have  quite a good root growth.  Many of the common vegetables are annuals.  Annuals are plants that live for 1 year or less. Keeping this fact in mind, if you plant seeds at three week intervals, you are assured of  a constant supply of  quick germinating plants.  If grown in containers, 

Ensure the plant has enough room for growth as mentioned above and must be fed at regular intervals.Climate where you live in plays an important part in growing your mini vegetable garden. Most of the vegetables can be grown from the seed. If you don’t have time for thinning and transplanting, go for seedlings. This is a question of convenience of the gardener.  Both seeds and seedling are inexpensive.

Vegetables require daily watering. Veggies like lettuces will be ready for eating after sixty days. Others take as much as four months to come up with their produce.At the time when fruits and vegetables begin to appear, the plant has to be fed with enough potassium. Wood-ash, an inorganic chemical is a good source of Potassium. 

Growing the same vegetable in the same spot year after year makes trhe plant prone to pest attacvks.. Each vegetable has its own requirement of essential foods. And according to this, they draw varying amounts of food from the soil. 

Crop Categories

The three basic crop categories are, brassicas, root crops and others.

  1. Cabbage, cauliflower, radish, turnips, Brussels sprouts and parsley are the examples for brasicas.
  2. Carrots, beetroots, potatoes, onions, garlic, leaks and spring onions are the best examples for root crops.
  3. Aubergines, okra, beans, peas, capsicum, lettuce, spinach and other greens, tomatoes and sweet corn come under the ‘Others.’

It’s advisable to mark three places for the three different crop categories in your garden. Soil conditions in a tiny garden grown in a piece of land, vary for different crop categories. If  each crop category is placed in a different bed, soil making becomes easier for the gardener. 

Care should be taken for planting time for seeds and seedlings. In India there are different climatic conditions in different regions. Some places receive monsoons earlier than others. In some regions see that the seedlings are mature enough, before the advent of summer. Else the seedlings will be scorched by the sun. Likewise, before monsoon, the seedlings must be mature enough. Else the seedlings will be affected by water-logging.

The beds in a medium sized vegetable garden should be a minimum of 4 feet wide. In between two beds small paths should run to facilitate the gardener’s movements for frequent checking and to take up soil related works.  Manure should be added layer by layer and a thorough mixing is necessary before going  to take up another thin layer.

VEGGIESWinter vegetables

Globe artichoke is an annual.  Its botanical name is Cynara scolymus.Its seeds should be sown between the end of August and October.  Sow the seeds of Globe artichoke in seed boxes. After some time when  5 or 6 leaves appear, transplant. If you are using  seed lings, you can plant them straight away in the beds or containers. The vegetables will be ready for eating after six months. 

Asparagus

Biological name for Asparagus is Asparagus officinalis. Asparagus is a perennial. After sowing seeds in a seed bed, wait for a period of 10- 11 months transplant in to a well drained bed or a large container. The distance between each plant should be at east 12 inches. Make it a point to feed with rich compost along with sprinkling of salt once in an year. It takes 3 to 4 years before the plant gets ready for cutting. 

French Beans

Seeding time for French Beans is between August and October. Though French Beans are better suited for the hills, they can be grown in the plains also with enough provision for light, shade and protection from severe and extreme weather conditions. 

Summer Vegetables.

Okra/ lady’s fingers belongs to hibiscus family. It’s biological name is Abelmoschus esculentus. The seed lings should be planted between April to late June. Dwarf variety of Okra can be grown very comfortably in 12 inch pots. Okra can reach a height of 4 feet. In about sixteen weeks  the pods will be ready for eating.

Aubergine

The biological name of this plant is Solanum melongena.  Sowing of seeds or seedlings should be done between March and April. They should be  planted in rich soil, talking care they are planted 18 inches apart. Aubergines are available in varied sizes. For container growing, ideal size is Dwarf sized Aubergines.  It takes 5 months before it gives you fruits which will be in purple, white or green in color. 

Chilli

The biological name of chilli is Capsicum frutescens. You can sow or plant seedlings between April andMay. In a span of ten to twelve weeks you can see your produce.

Bottle Gourd

Biological name of Bottle gourd is Lagenaria Vulgaris. Other gourds are Ribbed gourd and sponge gourd.Sow seeds or plant seedlings between March and May. All gourds are climbers. Hence they need supports.

Other summer vegetables you can grow in small places are Cucumber, bitter gourd, pumpkins, ginger and leafy veggies like Spinach. 


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