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Gardening is holistic for some of us who don’t hit the gym too often.
Him and Her traded the activities of weekend cycling and walking for bending over to clear weeds , water the plants, check the plants and such other tasks together. This proved to be fun, exercise to build an appetite and a chance to use the picnic basket for Her.This basket replenished with snacks, fruit, juice and the likes!
There was a time where these baskets made of colorful plastic wires used to be prevalent in every household in regions south of India. Used mostly for groceries /vegetables , this convenient and washable item slowly gave way to plastic covers, and now hopefully cloth/paper bags.
Chanced upon one such wired bag on a recent trip to Chennai based Ratna Stores, it was her who decided to lug it along. It doubles up as a picnic basket inspite of him smirking at the glamour quotient!
Must add that these are quite sturdy and reliable.
The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, usually known in North America as the beet, also as garden beet, red beet or golden beet.
In indian cuisine, chopped, cooked spiced beet is a common side dish. In some regions, also used with a dollop of yogurt, mildly spiced.
Him and Her got the seed packet and alloted two squares for the beets.
The leaves which are also edible ( as later reading revealed), were easy target for the winged garden visitors.
About the beets, there were few harvested, probably 4 per square feet. Though the size of the beets weren’t a match for those sometimes found in the grocery stores, the color and crispy freshness was beyond compare!
And of course needless to say,organic is the key!
The boon and the bane in organic gardening is the weed/pest control.
Bane in terms of time consuming task of weeding, Him and her spending many sunny weekends bent over the garden plot.
But worth its while and more rewarding is when efforts bear fruits ( or rather -vegetables).
As part of square foot gardening, draft planning was done to figure out the rows/squares to be cleared with priority.
Also, once the seeds were sown and the saplings say hello, theres another round of exercise that the garden ensures. Weeds grew faster than the plants that were tended to!!
Here, this pic might help to speak a few words about the weekend afternoons….Well, for Him and Her, it was music, sweat, exercise for the body and more time together.
The carrot (Daucus carota) is a root vegetable, usually orange in color, though also has different other colors at times as seen in markets.
The most commonly eaten part of a carrot is a taproot.
Started from the seeds, Him and Her read up several information sites and decided to have about 16 plants per square feet for carrot. Spacing the tiny specks of seeds wasn’t done to precision, which is quite plausible.
Later readings and www helped to realize that a mix of the seeds with some grains of sand does well to space out the seeds comfortably.
Ensure to thin out once the saplings are out and about. This is required to have a “carrot” shaped “carrot” harvest !
With the rocky terrain of the garden plot, inspite of a lot of cleaning the stones before start of gardening, there were carrots that grew around and about the stones/pebbles underground and this posed a challenge in cleaning the crop after harvest.
Heres the first bunch of harvest….Cleaned and spruced up for a picture!
One of the few veggies that needs more than a square foot of space, the summer crop ZUCCHINI (Cucurbita pepo).
Here are a few points to note , as Him and Her had their debutante harvest of Zucchini in the garden plot. Got to see a lot of this floating on the www, which is very useful.
- Needs a lot of room to spread out and grow.
- Days to harvest: 60 days
- Grows in warm weather and grows best in direct sunlight.
- Once the plants have grown to a decent size, their broad leaves will help keep the area weed-free by shading out invading plants.
- Prone to develop powdery mildew.
- Zucchinis require pollination before they can begin producing fruit. If there is not a healthy population of bees, hummingbirds or other natural means of pollination, you can pollinate each plant manually. Male flowers have elongated stems with a collection of tubelike stamens inside. Peel away the petals and brush the stamens inside a female flower to pollinate it.
- Harvest zucchini when the fruits are small for better flavor and tender crop.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the zucchini off , to avoid damaging the plant.
- Produces fruit throughout its growing season.
And also read up to know that one of the culinary dishes from this crop is the famous ratatouille.
To smell the flowers,
To admire the snowman,
To feel the rain,
To bask in the sun,
To say hello and to be thankful.
To smile your worries away,
To go green .
In the post, “Full House” , the herbs and plants grown in the raised bed were displayed. To note, they were not pruned and allowed to grow in full splendor, and treated as a kitchen garden.
Heres a list of the herbs/veggies/flora that were part of the raised bed and around it:
- Basil (Lots of it)
- Jasmine (Being the friendly neighbor)
Him and Her got a small mint stalk from the temple visited in Peoria, IL and reserved a square in the raised bed . Dill, Basil were from packet of seeds purchased at the nearest Walmart/Meijer. Okra was accompanying the wild one (the tomato). Jasmine was His surprise to Her on a pleasant weekday evening, sapling purchased from a local nursery.
The 4 by 4 square foot raised garden project did very well for the hardy plants.
There are atleast 5 plants thriving in this picture. Not to miss the wild ones too.
And, most green ingredients needed to make a pesto sauce are here too
Come spring and summer (2015), there were showers of blessings accompanied by occasional thunderstorms.Being in the Zone 5 of the planting zones, it was important to check the planting/sowing times, for fear of an unexpected frost after April.
Closely watching the forecast proved useful in decisions about how much to water the plants in the garden plot.
Though there have been incidents of watering the plants and being surprised with rain showers.
Thanks to ample sunlight in the garden plot, most plants did well when challenged by rain or frost.
One learning while planning the garden plot is to consider the height that the plant can grow to and the sunlight that it can receive and the amount of sunlight it may possibly block to its neighbors.
Cabbage is a leafy green or purple plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads.
It belongs to a broad family of common vegetables that also include brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and broccoli.
Him and Her allocated one square feet for purple cabbage.
Since it was a first time, it made sense not to give in to the risk factor and allocate more squares for this vegetable.
Square foot gardening technique usually works more efficiently when you grow what you know you will eat. So dedicate more to veggies that are for sure staples at the dining table.
Moreover, the seed starter process was indoors, and one sapling survived well after being transplanted in the garden plot.
Cabbage structurally consists of clusters of stiff leaves in compact layers, allowing it to acquire round shape.
The vegetable crop catches the eye once its out and about during the formation of the layers.
Successful in the harvest of the purple cabbage, it was treated as a star in the kitchen.
Have to admit, the crunchiness was amazing.