Gardening in small spaces!

Gardening in small spaces!

Grown last year
Capsicum in a kyari
In the last summer vacations, my sons wanted to do some gardening. Since my plants don’t thrive that well or the monkeys come and wreak havoc, I had almost given up on planting anything. We had earlier grown capsicum, chillies and brinjal in a thin bed or “kyari” and pots. Seeing the enthusiasm of the kids, I played along and planted sunflower seeds, tomato, capsicum and some flowering plants.
Gautam: The proud nurturer
My younger son, Gautam, has been diligently caring for the tomato plant, and his delight knew no bounds when flowers appeared and now small fruits are forming. He checks every day to see when they will turn into nice, juicy, red tomatoes :). See the pictures here.
We use spray bottles for watering plants. That uses less water and is more effective especially for herbs and tiny plants. You can also use plastic bottles and drill some holes. Now invert it and put them in pots or soil for a sustained watering system. I am using water from my kitchen, after washing veggies, dal, rice etc. for watering the plants. That helps me conserve water and also provides nutrients to the plants.
Tomatoes and flowers
I also want to share my way of making organic manure at home. I no longer use plastic liners for any of my bins. The kitchen bin has kitchen waste usually veg peels, egg shells, tea grounds etc. These can be put in a large pot or a closed pit if you have the space. In this pot, I put in dried leaves, cut grass or fresh leaves that fall off the plants. One layer of wet waste from the kitchen and one layer of brown or green plant waste are put alternately till the pot gets filled. It must be covered at all times. It should be slightly damp, not wet and keep stirring it every few days to expedite the breakdown process. If it gets too dry, sprinkle a little water. In 4-5 weeks, you will have a pot full of brown, organic manure prepared at home that can do wonders for your plants. You can keep repeating this process and make your own manure. You end up reducing your waste and especially plastic usage if you stop using bin covers.
Coriander, fenugreek and mustard seeds
Another way of growing greens is in these tubs in a multi-level structure. Here we have planted coriander, methi and mustard seeds. The plants have just started sprouting. This structure has been constructed by hubby. It saves space and is convenient in growing herbs or greens.
Also, these days I remember to carry my jute bags or reuse my previous plastic grocery bags every time I go grocery shopping. A good way of conserving water in toilets is by taking out the cover of the cistern and manually operating the mechanism that stops the flush when I want it to and not flush the entire cistern for every flush.
Ajwain plant. Leaves are very good for cough
Curry leaves!
Hope you have enjoyed the pictures and maybe picked up a tip or two from my efforts. I would love to hear about your plants or gardening tips!
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97 thoughts on “Gardening in small spaces!

    1. Isn’t it? Though I must admit that my husband is a good gardener. I am pretty bad at handling gardens and give up easily. It is the kids’ enthusiasm that acts as a motivating factor!

  1. Rachana, Ideasfor compost,multi level tubs , are fun to try out. Thanks.
    Congrats to sweet young guy with a proud smile!Hope the tomatoes will become red soon, then another picture can be posted.:-)

    Capsicum is cute.

    1. Thank you Panchali ji! Actually, it is my hubby who is the diligent gardener. He is innovative too and fashions these pieces himself. He is quite the carpenter :). The manure is something I can take credit for :).

  2. Nice gardening and other tips! Involving kids makes it a learning experience for them. I remember doing gardening with my father and the delight when they would flower.

    1. Thank you Chatty Wren! I never did any gardening in my growing up years. Mom and dad both had nothing to do with gardening. My husband’s family are keen gardeners, so I am picking up things from them :). Sharing with kids is so much fun :).

  3. As you know I am a keen gardener – loved the tips you have here, BTW over here we have two buttons on the cistern, one for for full flush the other for half – that works well as a water saver.

    1. I know Jane. You are an inspiration. I can hardly call myself a gardener. I get by. Yes, we have two buttons these days for the cisterns. The ones in my house are almost 10 year old and were supplied by the builder. They have a basic pull up and release mechanism that empties the cistern. The aesthetics suffer, but I do save a lot of water.

  4. The green tomatoes look delicious. Have you had a green tomato avial? It’s delicious and my mouth’s watering even as I type this comment out 🙂

    1. I haven’t Sudhagee :). Wow, I will have to look up the recipe. Will these do? They are quite small just now. I think, in this batch Gautam is eagerly awaiting red ones :).

    2. No, I haven’t but I am salivating at the prospect :). Recipe politely requested! It sounds tangy and yummy. Yes, I will for Gautam’s sake.

  5. Lovely Rachna… 🙂 The manure making at home… at the very start… you do not need any compost to start off the process? Also… do you need to have holes at the bottom of the pot so that the excess water drains off? I have been trying to do this for ages… just never knew how to go about it perfectly..

    1. Thank you, Aathira! No, you don’t need manure to kick start the process. I have prepared manure just this way. You could add a little brown soil if you wish. Cow dung is very good but who has access to that? No, you don’t need holes at the bottom. If you need holes then your manure might not turn out good. Like I said, it must be damp not wet. And, it does not smell. This is really simple and easy to achieve. Remember the layers and mix it once every 2-3 days. Also crushing or breaking leaves, egg shells expedites the process. Wish you luck!

    2. I don’t. Because I just take it out and sprinkle it on all my plants. I have many pots and plants. Maybe, you can store it in some container if you are not using it right away. I really don’t know if you need to dry it in the sun.

  6. Loved the pics rachna and WOW.. I need ot use my space wisely too.. but the weather has been playing spoli sports this time , nothing seems to be working ..

    I loved the capsicums.. and the tomatoes already fruiting , mine are just shooting yet …


    1. In Indian cities, we have to be space conscious. Though, I do have a tiny lawn and even trees like Christmas and avocado trees, but mostly I have plants and potted plants. So, your tomatoes will be out soon, but mine will be more flavorful. They are Indian, that’s why ;-).

  7. What an environment friendly set of mother and sons! I loved that multi-levelled structure: its a brilliant idea. Great images to back with. You need to work up the levels/saturation/contrast of your images. Do get a good photo editor. There are quite a few good ones that come free.

    1. And hubby too :). About the photographs, I know I am still a long way from clicking good pics. These were not edited in any way, just clicked, compressed and loaded. I have Picasa, but I don’t edit all my pics. I guess I don’t have a keen photographer’s eye to discern the perfection in my clicks. Thanks for your constant inputs. They egg me to do better. Any suggestions about which editing software I must use.

  8. wow!! you do manage your time pretty well. thanks for all the tips. will try them. we have mango trees, guava trees and many other. and surprisingly, we haven’t planted any of these. they grow automatically.

    1. Thanks Deb! And, I always felt that I could still do better time management :). In my in laws place, they have mango, chickoo, drumstick, coconut, pomegranate, lemon, and papaya trees among other plants. And, most of them grew by themselves. In our house in Bangalore, real estate is at a premium. I have a tiny lawn that I try to make the best use of. I do have an avocado and Christmas tree that I planted and some other plants in pots or otherwise. What is of value though is that we can grow a lot of things in pots or thin beds with some tweaking that most city dwellers can do!

    1. Thank you Giribala! Gautam is very diligent in what he takes up. He tends “his” plants really well. All through summer vacations, he would be watering all the plants with his bucket and mug. Quite impressive for a 5-year-old boy :).

  9. Wonderful. Loved the pics. As I don’t have a photographer’s eye, I find no errors..everything looks perfect to me..:) You have so much patience Rachna. I love plants but can never survive them. As the kids are not yet back, I am bored and go on this needless shopping spree and get two indoor plants. I am trying my best to water them less. As the summers are too hot here, I can’t put them in the balcony. so, I put them near to the patio door just for 5-6 hours(inside though) and left for my class. By the time I realised and called hubby to move them next to the TV..I think they already took much heat..some of the leaves are turning brown in between and some yellow..:(..the natural manure is good to learn, however, I am a lazy bug to do all that process..

    1. Patience is one quality that I’ve worked at since I became a mom. I am still trying to acquire a zen-like state :). Thank you for liking the pics though I know that I need to work much more on my photography skills. I am grateful that Umashankar provides me candid inputs so that I may improve. I can imagine how you feel bored doing gardening. Maybe, hum a song or two while gardening if that helps. And, if your heart is really not into it, don’t do it. Maybe, your kids might fire your fancy some day!

    2. It’s not lack of patience or boredom. I think lack of enough knowledge on gardening and laziness to the core. Everyday I think I need to talk to my plants, but I don’t. Cooking, cleaning, blogging by dozing off in my sofa is all I do. I feel guilty when I see them, I think they understand that..because I look at them often..:) sounds crazy? huh? I hope not.

    3. FiF You can try googling any particular topic if you are seeking information. There are so many groups of gardening enthusiasts on FB, join them, and they will keep you inspired. That said, it is not necessary that every activity enamors everyone. Till almost 10 years back, I had nothing to do with gardening. I would appreciate lovely flowers (someone else’s garden) but never want to grow anything myself. The point of these hobbies is to make you feel relaxed. Do it only if it connects with you. Btw, it doesn’t sound crazy at all :).

    1. Hi Vaishnavi, Welcome here. Well, capsicum, tomato etc. are all planted in my balcony along with the greens so they never get direct sunlight. Watering once a day is adequate.

  10. Nice to see this. When I was a kid, I used to do gardening as we had ample space. After growing up and shifting to metros I miss those greenery. It is always interesting to spend time growing your own plants including fruits. You can have your own organic vegetables. I hope your blog reaches many people and inspire them to try out in their own terraces.

    1. Thank you so much, Sabyasachi! When I was a kid, I never did any gardening :). Yes, I hope that I can grow much more. It is always the paucity of time and also because we have monkeys visiting us that is demotivational.

  11. Rachna,

    You took me back by more than 60 years. My Dadi was a plant lover. We had a huge house with enclosed courtyard. There were KYAARIs all along the sides of cemented open space as well as many makeshift ones in old metal tubs or such articles. Roses, RAAT KI RAANI, CHAMELI, GENDAA were part of it while DHANIYAA, PUDINAA, Chillies, Mogra, Radish, even brinjals were there. Living in flats curbs this but one can still do a lot. Thanks for such workable tips.

    Take care

  12. Wow Rachna. Firstly love the changes on your site. Its a fresh feeling! I have never done serious gardening before but I have always been interested or rather intrigued by it. I have been planning to do it now that I am back! Your post has me hooked. Love the tips on re-usability, lady you’re doing some awesome recycling/reusing! I am definitely going to try that tiered structure, that is so cool. And making the organic manure, so very natural and environment friendly. But I didn’t understand how that is related to plastic bins? My limited knowledge about gardening is causing me to ask these questions! Oh and using the dal/veggies water for watering the plants, brilliant!

    1. Thank you Deepa for noticing the changes to template :). About the plastic bins, we put plastic covers/liners in our dustbins. Then we put in our kichen waste/ plastic/paper and whatever in it and then the kachra van picks it up and dumps it. This plastic does not disintegrate and cows end up ingesting these bags and dying a painful death. What I do is segregate at source. All the vegetable, organic waste from the kitchen goes into one bin without a plastic cover. This waste then goes towards making organic manure. The dustbin is then washed with water that can be put into plants and then reused in the kitchen. The plastic, paper etc. dry waste is put in another dust bin that again has no plastic liner in it. This is directly disposed in the kachra gadi. Actually, it is not plastic bins that I was talking about but cutting the usage of plastic covers on a daily basis.

  13. Beautiful! The plants look healthy and loved and cared for. Great tips on gardening and water conservation too. I feel so proud of you 🙂

    I am not much of a gardening person, but this post makes me want to try my hand at it. Great job!

  14. its gr8.. how can we plant capsicum & tomatoes ?
    I have planted coriander in my gallery, now its growing too.. but yes, I loved to plant other things to.

    1. Hi Zalak,Welcome to my space. Well, all that I do is put in the seeds. I did not buy any fancy seeds, just took out the ones from the tomatoes and capsicums used, dried them and then planted them normally. They require very little caring. Regular watering is a must, and organic manure can be put once every 15 days. Hope that helps.

    1. Thank you. The guidelines on your blog’s reviews are helpful I will be overhauling the website in the coming weeks. Indeed, sometimes it is so easy to do small things that can make a difference. And growing something of your own is so rewarding.

  15. Loving the new look and colors, Rachna. It’s wonderful that your kids are involved in the garden – such a good experience. I remember my own gardening exploits when I was young. I love your idea of not using the plastic liners and making manure. Will have to try and convince the building to create a pit.

    1. Thank you Corinne! The kids actually acted as motivators for me. Monkey had almost killed my efforts. I hope your building agrees, or you can do it in your balcony in a larger container if possible. A pit would be the best to have, though.

  16. Wow! Glad I did not miss this post! I never knew that organic manure can be made so simple. Very interesting and informative. And loved the tier structure you’ve used. And all green capsicum, curry leaves – Ooh! Lots of learning through this post Rachna!

    1. Thank you Vaish! The credit for having the idea and building the structure goes to hubby. He is very good with these things :). Thank you for finding the post of value.

  17. I have definite plans to grow some veggies this monsoon. I usually grow flowers which I love. Roses, daisies and anthuriums being my favourite. Loved the pictures and the post.

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