Prices of commodities have been escalating lately. Food prices are soaring. Can
you reduce the price of your food? How about growing your own vegetables? Why
not? Watching the vegetables grow can be a delightful experience and it is a
wonderful experience to harvest your own ladies' fingers, brinjals, chillies,
tomatoes, long beans, kangkong, sawi, etc. in your own backyard.
These local vegetables can thrive well in hot conditions and in any kind of
soil. No space in your backyard? Plant them in pots that are available cheaply
and abundantly in our own country. All it needs is a little enthusiasm and
energy on your part.
You can start your vegetable planting by identifying a
spot in your garden which has good sunlight. Sunlight is important for local
vegetables to grow healthily. Be aware of shadows from buildings, walls and
trees as your vegetable plants need at least six hours of direct sunlight per
day to yield a satisfying crop. Some days will be sunnier than others but aim
for a minimum of six hours of full sun on average. The spot can be near your
kitchen for your own convenience.
Next, visit the nearest hardware store and choose from a variety of vegetable
seed packets and read the requirements. You can also get a seedling from a
nursery, friend or family member. I usually get mine from my uncle who is an
avid gardener. Go shopping for a variety of pots at nurseries. Watch out for
bargains and also go window shopping. Bargain for cheaper prices. If you buy
many pots at one shop, you can bargain for a lower price. Buy large containers
to facilitate the easy growth of vegetables. It is advisable to use plastic pots
with small holes for adequate drainage and root growth.
Also, buy a mixture of good quality soil like vermiculite, sphagnum peat
moss, compost bark, perlite and fertilizer. Do not use garden soil as it could
be riddled with bugs and insects that may eat the vegetable sprouts. You can,
however, choose hydrophonics if you are adverse to earthworms, bugs and insects.
Hydrophonics is a contemporary way of cultivating plants without having to use
soil. Many people wonder how it can be done since soil is an essential component
to a plant's nourishment. This is not a new idea as the famous Hanging Gardens
of Babylon was created using a form of hydrophonics. The key is nourishment.
Just about any plant can be grown with hydrophonics. As long as the plant is
properly nourished, whatever the means, it will be healthy. As a beginner, my
advice is to stick to planting vegetables in soil as it is easier and convenient
for a novice.
Once you have got your young plant in a plastic bag, dig a hole in the
identified spot. Ensure that the hole is at the right depth to match the height
of the plastic bag your seedling is in. The hole must not be too deep or too
shallow. Next, cut the plastic bag carefully and ensure that you do not cut the
young roots. Place the plant in the hole neatly. I usually say a little prayer
when I place my plant in the hole. It has always given me healthy-looking plants
with larger fruits and greener vegetables. I also know of a friend who sings to
her plants to ensure a healthy growth. She too has succeeded in producing plants
with good yields.
If you are using a flowerpot, fill three quarters of it with soil. Then make
a hole with your hands or use a spade. Next lower the plant into the hole after
the plastic has been cut. Whatever method you choose, remember to handle the
plants with care. As living things they respond to love and tender touch just
like a baby. Then cover the hole with soil you have removed earlier. Press the
soil down firmly with your hands. Add more soil if your plant is in a pot.
Then place some wet mulch all round the plant. The wet mulch must be really
wet and hold enough water for the plant to grow healthily for the next few
weeks. The mulch will provide protection as well as nutrients for the roots.
Water the seedling frequently and make sure there is proper sunlight for
photosynthesis to occur.
Growing your own vegetables may be one of the most rewarding additions to
your family meals. Now you do not have to use tasteless tomatoes from the food
store anymore. And if done correctly, you will be rewarded with fresh vegetables
all year round.