Kitchen garden: Health and wealth just at your doorstep

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What a kitchen garden is? Why one should grow a garden near his/her home. Why to send our time at taking care of plants? . . . Many such questions and queries fill the minds of an average man of our society, Hence a need to clarify such misconceptions and misleading attitudes is needed.

Kitchen gardening is basically a small piece of land somewhere behind, near or within the human living place i-e the house one lives in, consistent of ordinary or special to purpose vegetables, fruits of your choice and some ornamental plants if one wants to add beauty to the place. Kitchen garden is often organized and maintained by a single family and sometimes shared by two or more families depending on the circumstances (probably upon the relations with the neighbours) where no specific labour or any specific agricultural practices are needed. Normal vegetables suitable to the season are planted either by; directly sowing the seeds or by getting an already prepared nursery if one can afford.

Summer vegetation and winter vegetation; Tomato, Hot pepper, sweet pepper, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brinjal, Cucumber, Okra, Bottle Gourd, Carrot, Potato, Onion, Lettuce leaf, Tinda Gourd, Pumpkin, Arum, Radish, Turnip, Peas, Spinach, Mint, Turmeric, Ginger, Musk Melon, Fenugreek, Beets, Mustard, Water Melon, Sweet Potato Coriander, Mint and Garlic Why to practice kitchen gardening?

Growing vegetables at your nearest spot will enable you to get a safe and healthy food with lowest cost and best nutrition as you will be the caretaker and you will better know what you have planted how you have cared for it and what are you going to eat. If each family or at least one or two families have a kitchen garden within your vicinity, the problem of malnutrition which is basically due to lesser consumption of vegetables, can be overcome as vegetables are the major source of proteins, vitamins and minerals.wherase the daily intake of vegetables is quite low in Pakistan – about 100gm per day while the recommended is 285 gms per day. Hence kitchen gardening offers an ultimate solution to malnutrition. On the other hand a poorer family can not only fulfill their need of food and feed but can also sell vegetables if produced in ample quantity to help out with their budget.

Some simple tips for a healthy step to vegetables:

Choose the site where the sun shines strongest and longest, the site should be well enough to gather an ample amount of sunlight at least 6 hours a day. The next thing to decide is to define the goals for your kitchen garden which encompasses what you should grow in how much quantity and most importantly what will be the size of your small home farm. By wise planning and better use of resource including management with respect to climatic and soil conditions a small area of land at the back or front of your home can give a large produce.

The size of the garden somehow or the other depends on your need and the place you live in planning how to plant the plants on the other hand depends on your comfort (as its home gardening and does not need a big mechanized processes) and largely depends upon the soil type. If the soil is poor and drainage is also not good then raised beds will be a good option. These raised beds can be easily prepared and also maintained afterwards just with the help of spade and such other common tools.

The next important thing to work out is what to plant? The most simplest and interesting thing is to start with what you would like to eat. Just go for such vegetables. This practice will ultimately increase your interest and simultaneously motivate you to get another crop of your choice again and again with better yield and taste. One can directly sow the seeds to the soil or rather get a nursery of it and transplant it to the garden. The later sometimes costs more so direct sowing of seeds is an economical approach for initial growers.

Once you have sown your seeds, the next task is to maintain your garden and care about the weeds. Regularly remove weeds in order to let your vegetable and fruits more swiftly and healthy. Water them regularly as per need and keep away the insects, rodents and birds.

Aesthetic value:

Apart from just being used for vegetables and fruits and filling your table with home grown food, you can also beautify your home and yourself. Some flowering plants and low shrubs with beautiful colors can also be added to the garden to add up beauty to the garden and your home.

Different coloured flowers and beautiful shrubs and herbs help out the grower and his family to relax mentally and release stress. Moreover, some flowering plants attract beneficial insects for the vegetables as well while some sorts of plants repel the harmful insects too.

Hence one can even make his/her weekends productive, relaxing and enjoyable by staying at home with family and in the meantime able to fulfill his family needs of food and feed by an integrated work at his home farm with just a little input and a marvelous output of his taste.

To conclude just use some simple tips and techniques and grow your own food and stop relaying on market products and let the market increase the vegetable export. Play your part and produce enough to meet your family nutrition need with the best healthy vegetables.

The writers are associated with the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


Published in: Volume 05 Issue 22

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