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Hello friends,

Everythin do in my garden/yard, I would like to share here.

First of all, why a interested in in doin arden work ?

As a kid, I used to watch my mother do gardenin n the small garden that we had at the central govt. quarters where we lived. She would ask my brother and sister to help her with it, but usually they didn't or were busy with their studies. I would help take out grass, bring out the pipe/hose or fold the pipe after she was done watering (I was little then and she probably didn't trust me then with watering her plants). As rew, we had a backyard too which she didn't use and ot full freedom to do what I wanted there, but all I did ever was either dig a huge hole (I wanted to see how far I could dig) or burn wood/junk or chase the kids with sticks and stones who came to steal the guavas(peru) from our tree. uarded our neighbor's Drumsticks' tree too, because our neighbor allowed me to climb their tree and pluck leaves. My mother would fry the leaves. Once I found a dead animal(big rat, called goose in hindi) outside on the road, I dragged it with a stick near our yard and then ran inside and told mom "There is a dead rat outside. Your lemon tree seems to be pale; didn't you say that dead animals are good fertilizers ? Can I dig a hole near the lemon tree and plant it?" :rolleyes: I would also collect dung, etc and put it near the plants' roots for manure.

Long story short..... ay have picked up some interest in gardening fro y mom and watchin randfather(mom's side) in the fields when we visited our native village in AP during summer vacations.

Since last year, I have been asked by my doctor to indulge in some physical activity / walks to keep my stress level low, high bp under control. So it came naturally to me to fully utilize the backyard for gardening. It also gives me a sense of satisfaction, when I work in the yard, even if it involves just picking up weeds/grass.

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Last weekend, I pulled some rhubarb stems for cooking. I got plenty of it and shared some with my mother-in-law and still have quite a few left in the refrigerator.

The plant looks very nice this year.

One more angle...

The leaves were huge.

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Hi Chetan, to answer your question, my opinion is yes, it can help to a decent extent, but we cannot get/grow everything that we need from our kitchen gardens. :)

A little more detail on my opinion :

For a couple or a small family, having a kitchen garden really helps. For example, one can plan and choose several diff. varieties of vegetables to grow; almost twice a week, one could be picking leaves (spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, gongura, etc.) or some vegetables like tomatoes, squash, beans, etc. and this will help reduce some expenses. Some initial investment maybe required towards procuring basic stuff for the garden and the seeds, but in the long run it will indeed be very helpful.

The right combination of vegetables like early harvest (GautamDa has generously shared his immense knowledge and mentioned in detail what one can grow in different seasons, about the best variety of seeds for tomatoes, eggplant and several others, how the soil can be maintained, fertilizer use, etc), peak summer, late summer, winter, etc. and depending on the climate, one can plan a very good garden indeed for their own consumption (and maybe share some).

There is no comparison in plucking fresh green corrainder / herbs from your own herb garden to getting a bunch of corrainder leaves from the market.

Last year, during peak summer, I was plucking something or the other at least 2 times a week or it was going to ripe / waste. All I need was some onions (in some cases potatoes) to cook along with the vegetables that I had picked from the garden.

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Dear Chetanbhai,

Speaking from a US perspective, & T-meister's climate zone, recently, after much frustration, animal attacks [deer, woodchuck,rabbit etc.] I built 2 raised beds enclosed by pressure treated wood [that lasts for many years & nowadays are mandated by law to be non-toxic, unlike the COPPER CHROMIUM ARSENIC or the good old days!!].

Second grade wood [fine for gardening] from The Home Depot:

2" x 6" x 6 ft = $4.74; 8' = 6.12; 12' = 7.29; 16' =9.72. So, let us say, 2 twelve feet planks per side x 2 + 2 six feet planks to make the ends + two 2by4 by 8 feet for buttresses [chop them up] plus 4 more at each corner. You guys are the maths wizards so figure these out, plus say $30 for screws & fixtures.

16 feet, 20 feet or 12 feet, it costs almost the same. Let us say you make 12x 3 or 36 sq.feet bed that is nominally 1 foot high. God willing, you have some soil in your yard. Even if not, you sti;; can buy WEED FREE STRAW, not HAY, and start growing simply on that, overing it with a thin layer, couple of inches of sterilized cow manure or manure + humus : 3 bags [40 lbs each ] @ 2.65 as of today.

Those who have no space can get 60lb/30kg tomato per plant [less in polluted cities in India] by growing on straw supplemented by a little soil or GROWING MIX. ON THEIR BALCONIES. Dhaniya, pudina, on their balconies. Lettuce grows NICELY in the shade. Peeps can be harvestings microgreens or mixed salads, that are badly infected in India, from their balconies. Chaulai & Sunflower microgreens 6 mos, lettuce, mizuna, beet, chard baby salad 6 mos. NOTE the differenc between microgreen and baby salad. How much time are people interested in devoting to this? Tell me & I shall GUARANTEE exceptional results! There will be a LEARNING CURVE. Those with a high impatience level need not apply!

Cucumber you can grow in plain water alone, as in a kumbha, earthenware jar, topped up a couple of time a week. Dosakkai, too. But the nutritional value is zero. Problem is, Indians in India are resistant to learning, as they feel they know almost everything. Except when they shell out money to Israelis and get taken for a ride, then they feel they have gotten their money's worth. As completely unprincipled as our elites are, they finally have met their match in their gurus in Israel!!

Let us take our Suresh's beautiful roof garden as an example. It is such a perfect little piece of paradise, with trellis etc. in place. When I look at it, I see LEAF AREA INDEX, and how much radiationit can catch. I am instantly aware of many parameters as you IT experts are when you enter as computer system. So, even knowing the roof load capacities, soil etc. I am very confident that I can feed a family of 6-7 with basic vegetables: greens : amaranth, basella, lagenaria/lauki greens [bengalis/Sicilians love it, 6% protein], sweet potato leaves[ Chinese love them], Long beans, Chayote, leaves, green squash, tomato, eggplant, chilies, okra, limes, mangoes green & ripe of the tropical type, passion fruit.If we recycle human manure & urine, as the FAO recommends, there would be very little need for additional inputs. I guarantee no smell, disease or flies. The daily newspapers, a little straw, kitchen waste, coconut husk being thrown in the street.

if we compost block by block, and all the green trash in the fresh markets, we could grow more food in our homes and neighborhoods.Maybe we could help teach unemployed young boys and girls. This itself becomes SCIENCE education, ECONOMICS education. We need some big people to jumpstart this because big people monopolize every aspect of life in India. I have tried, after finishing my studies, and went back to Bengal. Done this, been there. In the process, I have become very disillusioned. I forfeited an immense inheritance for this task, a life of immense comfort and running around like a big shot. What embittered me was not that xyz was taken away but the utter cynicism, cold-bloodedness & disdain for basic morality, a fact that I long have been aware of. Why do you suppose people like Kobad Gandhi and his wife have turned so decisively against the very classes that birthed them?

A young friend of mine, tempted by the happy memories of the past, often dreams of returning to India, and of retrieving a semblance of those lost days. I forbear to remind him of the saying, "you cannot ever return home again" nor can I sufficiently warn him about the complete absence of principles in every aspect of modern Indian existence. Swalpa Adjust Madi! But by the time you have finished adjusting, you will have lost yourself completely. You shall have gained the world, but have lost something. What that is, is not for me to conjecture. There are few middle paths: in India, there are either sharks or minnows. Even the IPL, which was a happy thing for the ordinary Indian, now is sullied by multiple dark streaks, from exaggerated drinking by young players, ugly post-match parties where tired players are paraded like purchased property, to many other things. Our agriculure minister is involved full time with cricket politics, not agriculture. Nor does he have a mind or heart to understand any of the agricultural issues facing India.

Alka asked a question to which I wrote a long answer that Is erased. I come from the groups that were trained to run the country, in economics, and other subjects . My peers, as in the same people one grew up with, the exact social milieu, today are at the helm of the country, many in the cabinet and other even more important positions, running the wheels behind the government. Some are major industrialists and movers and shakers. None bother about those whose lives are composed of limitless despair. They merely have contempt for such. That is the answer to Alka's question. I too cannot exist in a world where people feel uncomfortable where women are always respectfully addressed as ji, mother, sister, or relative. A woman was molested in public in Delhi, and none bothered in a crowded bus; same in Calcutta, where even in the Naxal period, none of this behavior would be tolerated. An elderly gentleman was beaten to death by adolescent goons because he protested their teasing women; none in the neighborhood came to their aid. So long as this moral degeneration continues, so will economic health. Economies are built upon psychology, upon character. Think carefully about this. I really, really understand what I am talking about. If you are going to refute this, you had better have a scholarly rebuttal on hand. We are living in a sick and evil society that cannot continue long in the present mode. The signs are all around. The government has no grip over roads & railroads. Pakistan talks down to us; someone shot a professor in Bengaluru & travelled safely by train, road etc. & escaped to Pakistan. Imagine that happening in any other civilized country? Nagas or Gujjar blockade highways & kill police without fear!!

Many Indian innovator have created SIMPLE HOME COMPOSTERS. We have India- ADAPTED tomatoes in Tamil Nadu, that we refer to as the MEXICO MIDGET type, [only in fruit size!! the plants are climbing]. Plant a Mexico Midget TN tomato next to our INDIGENOUSLY INVENTED HOME COMPOSTER now in use in many parts of southern India.

EVERY home will have several pounds of excellent cooking & salad tomatoes EACH WEEK, PERMANENTLY, with no more care. NO TECHNOLOGY or EXPENSE needed. Our motherland has EVERY bit of talent AND RESOURCE WE NEED available RIGHT WITHIN HER. WHY DO WE GO LICKING BOOTS MANMOHAN & CHIDDU STYLE, at the drop of a hat?

Anyway, the 12 x3 feet box can produce an incredibly large amount of food for 2-3 people, 10 mos.in Albany. 3 tomatoes, 2 zucchini, eggplant, chard, so many cropping schemes. A second one can produce high value raspberries, strawberries etc. 1 red currant plant will produce many pounds of berries, depending on age. A dwarf apple tree will easily produce 100-120 lbs. Sour cherry 6-10 gallons, 1 grapevine 20-40 lbs.

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Thanks GautamDa for the detailed explanation about the raised beds and touching the topics of my interest in such minute detail. :)


I haven't really used basil in Indian style cooking; wonder if it can be cooked along with lentils in a pressure cooker.

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A store-bought flower plant.

I forget its name tho; its pretty commonly seen in garden sections in stores and comes in different colors too.

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Of course, like last summer some small animal was destroying the sunflower plants; I kept planting the seeds in pots and transplanted them into the ground when they were a few inches tall, however some animal kept eating them. I tried it out 3 times and gave up. However the anger inside me was still there. I asked my landlord for his cage to trap such animals. Initially, he tried to talk me out of it. I said to him that I would buy the cage myself in that case. He sensed my anger and gave me his cage on the condition that I will release the animal near the Hudson river. I reluctantly agreed. So, guess who we caught on the first weekend when I put the trap out ?

Mr. Squirrel. :)

It looked like a young squirrel. I released it immediately after taking a photo.

Next day was a Monday and in the morning I went out into the yard and peeked from the corner and was surprised to see a skunk trapped inside the cage. Skunks are known to spray a strong nasty liquid when in danger or get excited for any reason. I did not dare go near it. Wife also advised to just call the landlord. My landlord is a hill-billy (lives in the scenic mountains nearby with ducks and geese in the yard) and is used to all these kinds of things. When I called his house, his girlfriend said that the landlord had gone to the Adirondacs for camping and wont be back for a full week. I explained the skunk issue to her. I got more tense and started watching youtube videos on how to release trapped skunks without getting sprayed. lol

His girlfriend called me back and said that she had informed the city's animal control and a specialist would be there in an hour to get it. I asked her if she had an idea how much would it cost me and she said there is no cost. She went all the way to my house and waited for the animal control specialist and they gave her the cage back after releasing the skunk somewhere far away. She called me back and asked me not to set any traps till the landlord was back. :)

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