Organic Gardening: The Beginnings
Some time soon after I retired in July 2018, we decided to grow some organic vegetables in the small place that we have available around our house and also on the terrace. And ever since I have been planning to write a couple of posts about it. But somehow other important things came up and I kept on postponing it. Finally the time has come :). The project has been one of the longest on-going one. We still keep adding and changing things.
We (my wife in particular) have been interested in home grown organic food for some time now. We wanted to avoid using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides and wanted to grow plants in the traditional way. We know it will be difficult but wanted to try it out as a small experiment. It initially started out as a project with a few plants on either sides of the house where we have about 4 feet of space. Wanted to grow plants that don't need a lot of place to grow. So obviously, vegetables that grow underground and green leafy vegetable were a good choice for us. We planted radish, carrot, tomato, brinjal (egg plant), spinach, mint, lettuce etc.
We also setup drip irrigation, so there is no water wastage. We bought the cinagro drip irrigation from amazon, connected the main line to the tap that was situated outside and connected the feeder lines from the main line to the plants along with the drips.
We have had our share of issues with bugs and poor soil quality but we managed to get a small yield from our first experiment. One of the problems with the soil we had was that it was too hard. So root vegetables had difficult growing into the soil. On the other hand, the tomato plants stems were too weak and would break quite often by the weight of their own fruit, even though we tied the plants to sticks. Anyway, we had a good learning experience.
Encouraged by the success (for a couple of noobs in farming, it certainly was a success) we decided to fix some issues we faced and add more plants to our list. We paid for half a tractor load of good soil from outside and used that in grow bags which we placed on the terrace. We got different sizes of grow bags so we can plant big and small plants. By this time, the wife has become an expert at making compost from discarded food that we throw away everyday, left overs from cutting vegetables, fruits, other waste and dry leaves. May be another post some day on how she manages waste and makes compost. She mixed the bought soil and compost to make a mixture that was more fertile than the ground soil we had. We started our first organic terrace garden with 25 bags in January 2019.
By this time we were getting pretty confident about our skills in farming (what a joke). So expanded the number of grow bags to 40. In addition to the previous list of vegetables we have also added onions, chillis, capsicum, watermelon, musk melon and a few others to the mix. I also started planning and designing the drip irrigation setup. Here is the story with the help of some pictures.
There you have it, the beginnings of organic terrace gardening. Below are some very early harvests. All the vegetables are grown organically, without any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. I will write about natural fertilizers and pesticides we have used in another post.
This is just the beginning and it was the end of February 2019. More things have happened in the following few months and I will give a more detailed account of the happenings in my next blog post. Stay tuned.