Have you, inspired by what Jyotika did in 36 Vayadhinile, wanted a terrace veggie garden of your own? It’s a good idea, actually, to grow everyday spices and herbs, so that you have them at hand — fresh — whenever needed. But if you’re among the many who don’t know how to go about setting up this garden, read on…
Choose the right space
Go to the terrace, take a good look. Judge the play of the sun throughout the day. And then, select a place that is shady, but at the same time, gets direct sunlight for some part of the day. You’ve to ensure that the plants get at least five hours of sunlight daily. But mind you, herbs are delicate leaves, so be careful that the sunlight is not so strong that the leaves get scorched by the heat.
The state government, as part of its environment and green cover initiatives, provides coir peats that come in plastic bags, which means you can grow the veggies in them, without having to bother about spending on pots. To begin with, wet the peats, place them on a sheet in the terrace. Keep watering them regularly, and in about a week, you’ll see what looked like a small brick would’ve expanded to look like debris, and filled the bag. Now, to plant the seeds…
Prepare the soil
Get some soil and natural manure from any nursery, and mix it well with the peats. If you want to keep it organic, add cow dung or goat dung manure to the mix. Leave this mix aside for a few days. Meanwhile, when you peel veggies, etc, do not throw away the skin. Instead, create your own compost with these vegetable skins and waste veggies in another pot in the terrace, and add them to this mix. After about a week, this mix is ready for plantation. Get the seeds of whatever you want to grow (tomatoes, chillies, coriander, basil and herbs are good choices). Sprinkle a few seeds over the mix, slightly dab them in with your hand, and leave it be for a couple of days. Watch them grow.
Pick the right veggies
To start with, try out just one or two vegetables, and then go in for more veggies. Tomatoes, chillies and keerai (spinach) are easy to grow, so start with them. Sometimes you might need to net out the seeds and the saplings as they grow, to keep pesky sparrows and other birds from feasting on them.
Watering is the key factor
Water the plants regularly, as and when needed. Excess water often causes damage and decay to plant roots, and it also washes away the nutrients of the soil. Also, post every heavy rainfall, remember to add manure to the soil.