Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Mom's Curry leaf tree

Do you remember the times your mother called out to you from the kitchen to pluck some sprigs from your favorite kadi patta or curry leaf plant at home growing in your balcony garden for the dal that she wanted to temper? Well, at least I do! I indeed took great pride and pleasure to pick those ever so aromatic leaves, off the plant when you invariably held it to your nose and took some deep, much-loved sniffs! Aah! Dark green and very fragrant. I would check for white spots of fungus that sometimes got hold of the plant, but thankfully there were none of those. She would often use them in making exciting podis or spicy powders for puffy idlis with ghee.

Today, living in an apartment, I find it easy to grow my herb garden. Here are some useful ideas that readers could implement for increasing your own commonly used herbs in India.

It's easy if you know how?

It is easy if you do not get daunted by the task and acquire a green thumb using patience and perseverance. Green thumbs are as universal as they come. It is often thought that only some are gifted and this is not true. All you need to develop is common sense available in the closest shop near your home, some good observation powers, routine knowledge of prevailing weather conditions in your state, and going back to the germination classes that you've learned in school.

Pots raised beds and the supply you need:

A plethora of containers are available: You do not need much investment. What you need is a keen, creative eye. Anything can work as a container to grow your plants -- old rubber tires, coconut shells, plastic containers, pots, old half broken buckets that you no longer use, clay pots or rectangular hollow trays, earthenware shallow rectangular trays, cut off plastic bottles. Everything that can contain some soil 4-5 inches deep is suitable. For those who are concerned about aesthetics, visit the nearby potter and obtain pans and pots and clay trays with ornate designs. Select the sizes of containers depending on the size of your plants that you would want to grow in them. Ensure containers have some way of draining off excess water. Raised beds outdoors would also serve the purpose in patches of different herbs.

Soil- Good quality soil is necessary. Make your own. Red soil is preferred or any soil that can hold moisture. Beef it up with crushed dry leaves, onion and vegetable peels used dry tea leaves, used dry coffee powder, some egg crushed egg shells, some good organic liquids like mild left-over water that you wash your dals in or vegetable stock, etc. All these add much-needed mulch to your soil making it rich with nutrients and organic manure. Make your compost which is natural art.

Seeds- Look for high-quality seeds available at your local garden shop selling tools and other small equipment. Pick up small saplings at a local plant nursery or pick up some from your friends' garden. Usually larger curry leaf trees have seeds that fall around them, and these grow into small plants which can be transplanted. Sometimes they are available right in your kitchen.

Coriander or dhania seeds (cilantro), fenugreek, methi seeds, Chilies of different types, sarson seeds, basil or tulsi, turmeric, wheat grass, lemon grass, spring onions, mint stalks are commonly available and popular with both beginners and experts too. All these are relatively easy to grow as they require less sunlight, less care, moderate water.

Urban spaces - Can I still grow my garden in my apartment?

Of course, yes. The best places to choose are your window sills or balconies.

Location- Ideally place for growing herbs is indoor balconies or under partly shaded trees in your garden. Do not place on the terrace as it is hit by direct sunlight. Unless you want to create your greenhouse which requires some level of management and expert handling.

Plant health care- How to tell? Here some expert tips:

Hey, you do not need any magic fingers or green thumbs for ensuring your herb garden thrives. Like we have mentioned, it requires some common sense and patience.

E.g., Containers kept indoors need to be set on a drip tray so that any excess water drains off into it. After watering, remove any excess water. Avoid water logging as this can cause roots to get soggy and kill your herbs. If extraordinarily sunny and you see your herbs drooping, then move your plants to a shaded area.

On the contrary, if your plants are not getting any sunshine, then move them into a sunny spot for a while.

Lemongrass grows well in a large pot as it grows into a bush and thrives well in a sunny climate. It also evolves into a large, well-rounded bush given more space on a raised bed outdoors in the soil.

Basil is hardy and grows in a great sunny balcony. Only primary care needs to be taken when the plant is little. Prune foliage periodically. You can either cut it back to half its height or trim the plants from the top or remove from the stems from time to time. Also, regular pruning helps to curb the plants from becoming too big for their pots, growing out of it untidily.

So, follow these expert tips and viola! You are on your way to being the proud owner of a happy, thriving herb garden that fuels your culinary artistry in the kitchen. A gratifying and satisfying experience indeed and worth the effort and time.Visit http://www.terragreensorganic.com/