Every new year we make new resolutions for a better year ahead. Have you made your 2022 resolution?? If you haven’t made any, no worries, then let’s make one together with the TAOS family. What can be a better resolution than gardening for the year 2022? If you haven’t got your hands on plants or gardening them now is the time.
Watch our workshop on “Gardening Resolutions for 2022” with our speaker Divya Varma. She’s a homemaker from Hyderabad, who started gardening 5 years ago in her small urban space. Her desire to add more flavor to her food from her garden leads her to grow more veggies. And in this workshop, she will share with us how & what food we can grow at home. Her Instagram handle is “growwithdivya”
Divya and her Gardening Resolutions:
“Hello, everyone. Welcome to another workshop by TAOS. Today we have with us, Miss Divya Sharma. She is a homemaker who started gardening at her place about five years ago. Annoyed by the amount of chemicals that are used in commercial foods, she decided to grow food organically herself. She will tell us about some resolutions she has taken for 2022. Also, she’ll tell us about what plants we can grow at our place in February. So, let’s start,” said Zehra.
“I’d first like to thank the team of TAOS for having me here. My journey started when I was cooking amaranthus one day, and I found out that the leafy veggies were giving out a foul smell. I thought I should be offering organic food to my family. I started gardening with the intent of adding flowers to the food. I first grew leafy vegetables like amaranthus in used soft drink bottles, which turned out to be successful. So, my resolution for this year is to garden. I have taken a total of eight resolutions this year.
- The first one is to go for organic gardening. Some tips include using neem solution or garlic ginger as it acts as a pesticide for plants. You can also use dried cow dung cakes as manure. You can also use rice water for watering the plants as it is nutritious for the plants.
“Can you tell us how to prepare ginger water?”
“You have to cut the ginger into pieces and then grind it. Then, add water to it, and you can spray on the plants. You have to dilute it with water, though.
- The second resolution is to save water. Rainwater has the optimum pH for the plants, so you should collect it and give it to the plants during the rainy season.
- The third is to work from the garden. Many people are working from home currently, so if you are interested in plants, set up a space where you can be with them. This will also be good for the mind.
- Then next is removing weeds from the garden. Weeds are dependent upon the main plant for food and water, which deprives the plant of essential nutrients. So, to keep them healthy, it is important to keep healthy, it is important to remove the weeds from time to time.
- My fifth resolution is to grow your own food. It ensures more healthy food for your body and also better mental and physical health.
- Next is to attract wildlife into the garden. You can keep some bird feeders around your garden, so when birds come, they will also aid the process of natural pollination.
- The Sixth is to prepare your own compost. You can do this by taking a plastic container that has a lid. Make holes in the lid. Then at the bottom of it, you have to place a paper towel, and then keep vegetable wastes from your garden above that. Cover it with soil and then leave it for 6 to 8 weeks. Your compost will be ready,” said Divya.
“Why do we need to place the paper towel at the bottom of the container?”
“It generally is used to absorb the moisture present in the mixture. There should not be any moisture in the setup.”
- “The last resolution is to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic. Plastic is a non-biodegradable material. Hence it is important to reduce their use and reuse them in various ways.”
“I have taken some water and banana peels in a bottle here and kept it for three days. This we can spray on our plants, as it is rich in nutrients. We need to leave some space on the upper side to prevent any kind of overflow. It should not be tightly packed, either. So, this can be used to keep pests away. To dilute it, you can take 10ml of this solution and 1 liter of water and spray it,” said Divya.
“How to keep your plants protected from slugs?”
“You can use neem oil solution for the purpose. That will do.”
“Next, I’ll talk about crops that can be grown in the spring season. They include:
- Strawberry, which can be grown throughout the year, actually. It is easy to take care of, and we can grow it through a runner. A runner is a miniature of a plant used for propagation.
“Please elaborate on all the requirements to take care of this plant.”
“Firstly, for soil mix, we need 30% cocopeat, 30% garden soil, another 30 compost, and 10% sand.”
“What about the weather?”
“Cold on hot climate is best. So, planting it in Spring is recommendable.”
“Elaborate other requirements, please.”
“We need to water the plant after the soil has dried up. Check the soil every day for the same. Then again, it needs 8 hours of sunlight, but it can grow in slightly shady regions.
- Next, we will look at Palak. It is a leafy vegetable rich in iron. It needs a good amount of sunlight, as well as water. I have taken a tray and used the same garden mix here. I have also used cow dung instead of fertilizers in it. The soil for leafy vegetables needs to be porous and aerated. You just need to water the soil once, then plant the seeds, and keep them in a shady area for 2-3 days. The palak will start growing already,” said Divya.
“How soon can we harvest it?”
“For microgreens, we can harvest in 6-12 days. However, for fully grown palak leaves, at least 30 to 40 days will be needed.”
“Will it grow big in this tray?”
“Yes, of course. Space is not an issue here. All you need is some patience and effort.
- The third vegetable we’ll be going for is Spring Onion. They are also easy to take care of. They need a good amount of water and sunlight, but you must not overwater them,” said Divya.
“That was really a meaningful session on the plants. Let’s move on to the next segment,” said Zehra.
“Next, I will be talking about micro-greens in greater depth. They refer to the growth of the first leaf of the plant. To start with micro-greens, Radishes can be a good option since they are easy to grow,”
“Do these microgreens grow again after the harvest?”
“No, they do not. You have to plant new seeds and start all over again.”
“So, these radish microgreens contain more than 40% of the nutrients present in agriculturally harvested radishes, which makes them very nutritious. I haven’t taken garden soil in the mix. With the other three components of my soil mix, I added some flakes of dried powder. Take this potting mix in a container, and water the soil. Then, scatter the leaves over them, and leave them aside for three days in a shady region. You can harvest it within 10 days. Keep checking the moisture of the soil, and make sure it’s wet all over. Selection of seeds is also important, so make sure you select the proper seeds. You can therefore get the benefits present in the vegetables within 10 days by consuming microgreens. Also, I haven’t created any holes in the container since I do not water them heavily. Cow dung acts as a very good manure for plants. You can also give neem oil solution, rice water, etc. For peas, it takes a long time. However, it helps in fighting diabetes and is anti-inflammatory. I had soaked the seeds in water, and once they sprouted, I planted them. These peas do not need sunlight for the first three days. After that, place them in partial sunlight. Two to three hours of direct sunlight and then back to shade also work. You can see I have planted small ones in coconut shells as well,” said Zehra.
“They are really pretty indeed. They can be used as decorative pieces also. We got to know so much about using small things at our homes in such a good manner,” said Zehra.
“Thank you. We can harvest the microgreens in a week, or else to let them grow, we need to shift them somewhere else, in a bigger soil area,” said Divya.
“After harvesting, can we use the same soil to grow another pea plant?”
“You can add some compost and dry it in the sunlight, and then we can reuse the soil.”
“Thank you so much, Divya, for joining us today. It was a very interesting session.”