Tips to start your kitchen garden

Celebrated food writer Karen Anand shares her tips to have your own kitchen garden from seed to harvest.

04 Jan 2021

Home kitchen gardening is an activity that benefits our bodies as well as our minds. Nurturing plants is known to reduce stress, improve mood and boosts confidence while cooking with fresh ingredients imparts a better flavour to the food and is far healthier than preserved store-bought ingredients.

That’s exactly what celebrated food writer Karen Anand, a writer, entrepreneur and food consultant demonstrated during a recently-concluded session of HomeChefMatters.   Let’s find out the tips and hacks that she shared with us regarding tending to our home kitchen garden.

Getting started…

  • Make sure you have the necessary tools that you’d require, such as a trowel, rake, spade, seed trays, coconut peats, etc.
  • Germinate the seeds in coconut peats. They retain the moisture and keep it warm till it grows into a seedling. Also, they are very environment-friendly.
  • Choose plants that are suitable for your climate, temperature and kitchen requirements.
  • Ensure that your seedlings have enough warmth and moisture to grow. Cover your plants or place them in a way that they are protected from excess sunlight and heat.

What to grow?

  • Italian or Thai basil, thyme, rockets, arugula, celery, parsley are easy to grow in the typical warm Indian weather. You can move on to experiment with plants that require more expertise later.
  • It is also advisable to grow plants that you cannot buy easily instead of the ones that you can find easily but are cumbersome to grow in your home gardens.
  • Chillies, mint, lemongrass, capsicum, basil, mustard and all lettuce leaves grow easily in India and are very useful in Indian cuisines.
  • Microgreens are a great option for small spaces such as Mumbai as they fit easily on shelves and window sills.

Some tips and hacks…

  • It is advisable to buy fresh seeds in small quantities instead of buying them in bulk as seeds tend to not grow well if they're old.
  • Self-watering trays are a great way to ensure that your plants don’t dry out while you’re away.
  • Invest in good gardening accessories as it makes the activity more enjoyable and fun.
  • Growing one’s own herbs and vegetables take time and practice. Be patient and keep learning.
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