My Kitchen Gardening Journey

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Hello Folks. Say Hi to my today’s Guest Blogger Asha Balakrishnan from Asha’s Musings & Ramblings. Asha is multifaceted and pursues many creative arts. She comes across as a mature, warm, kind, intelligent and a strong woman. We connected online through our blogs years ago. Though, we have not met in person but we feel more closer and connected with each other.  Asha blogs about her experiences of travel, food, art and culture and life in general.

Please join me in welcoming Asha to my space here and I hope you enjoy her informative insights about Kitchen Gardening.
Over to you, Asha…

Kitchen gardening was not new to me as I have seen my parents grow food organically since an young age and even today it remains their retirement hobby. Living in a high-rise apartment I cited limitations like lack of space, indirect sunlight, pigeon menace as excuses. The catalyst to start my own kitchen garden was my first compost which I harvested at home from kitchen wastes. So, the next step after composting was automatically to start a kitchen/balcony garden.

Initially, the results of my kitchen garden were discouraging with the said limitations, but with time, I was able to overcome these challenges and started growing simple greens from my kitchen spice box. I used the cracked ceramic mugs, soup bowls, biscuit boxes, etc. as containers. The micro greens harvest were encouraging and gradually I experimented with other vegetables in clay pots.

My Kitchen Gardening Journey

It was not an easy task, like I said, it came with its own disappointments. The tiny seedlings would be eaten by pigeons. They would hop and crush the little plants and there was ‘blossom drop’ of tomatoes and chillies. Just when I would be excited to see the blossom of tomato or chilli and would dream to see the fruit, the blossom would drop to the ground. All these were initially frustrating and de-motivating. As they say gardening is a great life skill teacher. It teaches you to be patient and face disappointments, just as each sprout, bud or flower teaches you to be optimistic and hope for a better tomorrow. When you fight all these disappointments with patience, grit and determination, your garden seems to say with each harvest – ‘perseverance pays’.

It started as a small patch and still is, but I am glad I made a beginning 7 years ago. The journey is on, I am also moving homes due to transfers and the balcony set-up moves into new balconies and adapts itself. The little patch yields no major harvest, but the gardening makes a tiny difference on my food plate and soul.

It gives me micro harvests and sometimes the harvests do dictate my menu. I get safe and healthy food like a sprig of curry leaf, tuft of methi, mustard micro greens, baby cumin greens which adds punch to my sandwich, rasam and recently my turmeric harvest turned into a bottle of homemade organic fragrant turmeric powder.

My kitchen garden has given me the following harvests over the years…

  • Micro greens of mustard, fenugreek, amaranths, radish, cumin
  • Greens like fenugreek, spinach, amaranths, coriander, spring onions, mint, lettuce, curry leaf
  • Tomatoes
  • Chillies
  • Thai basil/cinnamon basil/holy basil/clove basil
  • Oregano
  • Potatoes (hilling method)
  • Radish (in one litre water bottles)
  • Okra
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots

Besides, as I sit on a jute mooda, sipping tea leisurely in the morning or evening, my tiny patch which I call my ‘nano farm’ throws sensory carnivals. It is a delight to feel, see, smell and touch the…

  • tender baby leaves of chilli hanging with its seed coats precariously
  • tiny sprouts of fenugreek pushing forth their stubborn selves out of the soil
  • micro greens of cumin and mustard chortling
  • a just emerging bud on the okra plant
  • the soft tendrils of the bean plant
  • the exotic smell of the lively soil made soulful with the compost that I have created from waste and much much more.

One could lose oneself in this little green space admiring the vegetable flowers too. In short feels like pure magic. This is when I believe in the adage- “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth.” – Dorothy Gurney

Here’s presenting a glimpse of my bursts of freshness that has added an extra zing on my plate at various times in the last 7 years.

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Do you have a kitchen garden? How has been your experience? Are you interested in growing your own vegetables?

My theme for this year’s Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is Food Talks. Join me for some interesting, fun conversations about food experiences, experiments, basics, tips, ideas, hacks, trends and much more.