You can have your own kitchen garden in your apartment, It is not necessary to have large spaces to have a kitchen garden. You can grow vegetables even if you stay in small houses. The concept of kitchen garden is picking up in India as more and more people staying in the apartment would like home grown vegetables. You can grow basic vegetables in spaces like balconies, gallery or window panes where ever there is a source of natural light.
Deciding on what to grow: If you stay in apartment you will not have lavishness of full fledge kitchen garden but you can grow many things in smaller amounts in spaces available in your flat. You can grow vegetables like brinjals, tomatoes, spring onions, radish and capsicums; salad greens like cucumber and lettuce leaf and essential herbs like coriander, mint, curry leaf, ginger, garlic, green chilly etc. It would be difficult to grow daily vegetables like onions and potatoes as they require more space.
Selecting containers: You need to consider two factors while selecting right containers i.e. Vegetable you decide to grow and space available. For e.g. plants like curry leaf or chilly will require pots between 6 to 10 inches in size of pots. For vegetables like cucumbers and capsicum will require 4 to 8 liter pot per plant. Brinjals and tomatoes will need larger pots of at least 20 liters capacity.
-Window boxes are ideal for flats with many windows as they look fairly attractive and are convenient.
-Stone pots or terra cotta pots unlike plastic pots allow plants to breathe freely but are difficult to shift and they dry fast.
-Wooden containers save plants from heat but plants have a tendency to become rancid.
-Place plastic saucers under the pot as they avoid water and soil spillage.
-You can also use old buckets and can use wire baskets for hanging smaller plants.
-Try and avoid using containers with small opening.
-Make drain holes in all the pots.
The Soil: Planting medium should be light weight, disease free and should have capacity to hold moisture. It should have vital nutrients and should be drainage friendly. Organic manure or compost can be a wonderful growing medium. You can add decomposable kitchen waste to it. The combination of earthy garden soil, sand and peat moss also makes a good growing mixture.
The Seeds: You can get various seedlings from the nursery. Plant them carefully so you don’t harm their tender roots.
Fertilizers: You can find many chemical fertilizers in the market. But liquid organic fertilizers would be a better option as these are edible plants. Transplants would need nutrient solutions from the moment you plant them. In case of seeds, the solution dose is required when plants germinate. Enquire about the frequency of fertilization and duration of sunlight each plant should receive when you buy seeds or transplants.
Watering: All vegetable plants need constant moisture. Some plants might need water on a daily basis. excessive watering is bad for plants and avoid wetting the foliage because wet leaves might invite diseases.
Insects and Diseases: You should keep a regular check on the plants. Companion gardening is highly recommended to keep insects away. For example, garlic plant protects cucumber and celery plants and these pots can be placed close together. If insects or diseases do strike your plants, you can go for the safest botanical or microbial pesticides.
Quick Tip: The months of April, May and June must be chosen for planting new saplings.
These are the few tips for having your own kitchen garden in your apartment.