Give your summer kitchen garden a boost
Making a Seed garden at home is happiness in its way. To nurture a plant right from its seed to its full growth has a feeling of immense joy and a sense of accomplishment that cannot be described in words. Plus the crop that grows is your fruit of hard work and success. Here are a few plants that you could grow in your vegetable garden.
Lettuce is an annual plant of the Asteraceae family. Also called crisp salad greens, it is mostly used in making sandwiches and wraps as well as salads like Caesar salad, common salad, stir-fry, etc. Lettuce is a cool weather plant, so it is mostly sown when winter is just starting. There are various varieties of lettuce like romaine, butterhead, head, loose-leaf lettuce, etc. It can also handle warm temperatures but suffers from summer boil in the hot temperature.
- They grow best in loose, cool soil with good drainage and need a good organic material as fertilizer for an abundant crop. They also suffer from low ph value in soil so if you are having trouble growing them, get a soil kit, and test the soil.
- The seeds need direct sunlight so plant them only ¬º or ¬Ω inch into the soil surface and around 12 inches apart to ensure that the leaves do not crowd each other. Keep the watering frequent and consistent as they tend to suffer easily from over-watering, the goal is to keep the soil moist.
- You can plant basil and Dill plants alongside the lettuce as they tend to repel pests like cabbage worms, aphids, etc. Another thing to take care of is if the leaves starting turning brown and curling. This is a sign of tip burn which is caused by inconsistent watering. Simply remove the brown part and keep the watering consistent.
- Lettuce is easy to harvest; you can remove it in bundles or just a few leaves at a time.¬†Lettuce tends to become ripe after 50-70 days and can be harvested after that.
Spinach or Palak as it is known in India, is a rich in iron plant which is considered a delicacy and is used extensively in many Indian cuisines. It is a perennial plant and is good for digestion, skin, hair, eyes, and brain health as well as it is known to have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties.
- The Spinach is mostly grown in early spring and early winter as too much sun can burn the leaves. It can grow in full sun as well as partial sun. Spinach can grow in any soil with good drainage however it gives it‚Äôs best in sandy loam and alluvial soil.
- The seeds are sown in a depth of 3-5 cms and require a spacing of 8-10 cms for healthy leaves. They are heavy feeders and require fertilizers or organic materials in terms of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
- You can also add a line layer of compost over the seedbeds to provide the necessary nutrients. Avoid overwatering them as spinach is prone to root rot.
- Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Dill, Eggplant, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Strawberries, Tomatoes can be grown alongside the spinach plants.
Cucumber or kangri or khira as it is called in India, is a widely grown plant of the gourd Cucurbitaceous family. Mostly used in salads and sandwiches, it is a cool weather plant and is known to help in digestion, bowel movement and is also used as a skin conditioner and removing dark circles form the eyes.¬†They grow best in fertile rich in nutrients so add a lot of compost to the soil to help profligate their growth. Plant the seeds with a space of 45 cms in between and around 5-8 cms deep. Add mulch to the seeding row as the plants tend to suffer from cold weather.
- Cucumbers need support to grow as they are vines and need added strength to support their crops.
- You can also use a trellis or a wooden frame to give the vines support for the heavier fruits.
- Make sure that you water them consistently as inconsistent watering lends to make the cucumber bitter. Also remove all the male flowers which also contribute to the bitterness factor.
- You can also spray the vines with sugar water to attract more bees and grow more fruits. When the fruits are of the right size, harvest them as leaving them to long to grow can turn them bitter.
- Cucumbers are best when they are a uniform green, firm, and crisp. Also do not pull the fruit as it may damage the vine, instead cut just above the stem of the fruit.
Also called chukander, it is used mostly as a side dish in the chopped, sliced, and spiced manner in the Indian cuisine. It is also well known for its numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance. It grows best in cool weather and can be also grown successfully throughout the year provided a few conditions.
- Beets can be grown in a variety of soil but grow best in well-drained loams and sandy loams. As they are root vegetables, make sure the soil is well loosened before sowing. The seed should be sown 2-3 cm deep and have spacing apart of about 10 cm.
- Beets are heavy feeders as well so add a lot of compost and manure to fertilize the soil. During germination, the beets require a lot of water, but once they have sprouted, they require watering once every 10 days as over-watering them leads to them developing flowering and fewer roots or bolting as it is called.
- Pay attention to the leaves of the beets as yellow means a nutrients deficiency. Make sure that no weed is allowed to grow as beets do not get along with weeds. Beets thrive when planted near bush beans, soybeans, butter beans, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, peas, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, leeks, scallions, onions, garlic, mint, summer savory, borage, Swiss chard, celery, and lettuce.
- You can harvest the beets 9 weeks after sowing as leaving them too long in the ground makes the root woody and shriveled.