Friday, June 12, 2015

Growing carrots

Carrots  from  my  terrace  garden - 1st & 2nd batch

Carrots are a cool-weather vegetable. 
They are hardy biennials grown as annuals. A rosette of finely divided fernlike leaves grow from a swollen fleshy taproot which can vary in size, shape, and color. Depending upon variety, carrots can be tapered and cylindrical, short and fat, round, or finger sized. Some carrots grow to 10 inches long; others are much shorter. Carrots are usually orange, but colors can vary from red to yellow to purple. Shorter varieties are a good choice for heavy soil; long types require loose, loamy soil.
Planting time  
Carrots are a cool-weather crop best grown in spring, early summer, and autumn. Sow carrots in early March. 
Place your pot in a location that receives partial sun and partial shade. As a root vegetable, carrots tolerate shade well. A location that receives up to six hours of sunlight each day may encourage growth better than a spot that receives none, however.
Growing carrots in pots  
Many of us are hesitant to grow carrots in pots assuming that the carrots will not get enough space to grow. Choose a big pot wide and deep enough for the carrots to grow and keep the soil medium wet to ensure that your carrots receive enough water to maximize growth. Plant carrots in wide rows in square or rectangular containers, or in concentric circles in a round container.
Try a mixture of red soil, decomposed compost, and sand mixed in equal portions for a soil-based media.Consider coco peat, mixed with a small amount of perlite, for a soilless media.
Water and feeding
Keep carrots evenly moist to ensure quick growth. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Reduce watering as roots approach maturity; too much moisture at the end of the growing time will cause roots to crack. Add aged compost to planting before sowing and again as a side dressing at mid-season. Carrots are prone to develop mildew when kept too wet, and you may need to spray your crop if you receive heavy rains over an extensive period of time.
Carrots have no serious pest or disease problems.
Harvest your carrots after two to two and a half months pass, depending on the variety you chose to grow. Grasp the greens near the top of the root and gently wiggle them out of place.  Lift carrots gently by hand or with a spading fork so that they don’t break. Pull carrots when the soil is moist. Lift one or two carrots to check the size when you are ready to harvest.  Regular main crop carrots are usually ready for lifting when they are ¾ to 1 inch thick three quarter inch thick. Carrots can be left in pots until ready to use.The earlier you harvest, the sweeter the carrots will be.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What's Growing @ Fresh from my Garden?

Due to my busy schedule, am unable to update my blogs regularly. But I do post pics of my activities on my FB page.
Here's a brief preview of what's growing in my garden....
For more details & pics, pls visit my FB page

Harvested my first batch of carrots yesterday...Super Excited :-) !!!!!

Red Spinach ( Naadan Cheera )

Chilli Pepper Varieties

Banana Trees

Monday, March 16, 2015

Get rid of Mealy-Bugs the Organic Way

A lot of us have trouble with mealy-bugs attacking our plants...I have a lot of them on my veggie plants..
Mealybugs are insects found in moist, warm climates. They are considered pests as they feed on plant juices of greenhouse plants, house plants and subtropical trees and also act as a vector for several plant diseases.
Mealybugs occur in all parts of the world. Most occur naturally only in warmer parts, and get introduced into greenhouses and other buildings in cooler countries.
I have tried spraying them with neem oil spray...but with no result.
Recently, my aunt suggested this remedy which seems to work. I hope this remedy will be useful to all of you dealing with the same problem.
The 2 things shown in the pic -
Kaandhari Mulakku ( also known as "Bird's eye Chilli") is a very small but spicy chilli.
Grind the 2 ingredients together & mix them with kanji vellam (water drained from boiled rice).( Kanji Vellam is starchy & sticky. It will help this mixture stay on the plant.)
Strain the mixture of ground kaandhari chilli, garlic & kanji vellam & spray on the infected plants (mainly the stems & underside of leaves)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back...After a Break !!!

After my recent re-location to India & a small gap from exploration in the kitchen & garden, am back into both. This season has my kitchen garden blooming with flowers of tomato, pumpkin, cucumber, peppers, bitter gourd, beans & okra along with mint, spinach, a small drumstick plant & shallots.

These are a few things that I harvested in the last few months...

Here is a glimpse of my garden... For more pics of my garden, pls feel free to visit my FB page...which is updated regularly

Monday, June 3, 2013

Garlic Harvest & a tiny carrot

These are the garlic cloves that I planted last fall (Sep 2012)

Harvested them & put them out in the shade to cure.

Also found a tiny carrot from the garden...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gardening - its pleasures & challenges

If you look at the pictures of my garden on this blog, it might seem like a perfect garden flourishing well with absolutely no problems. But like any gardener, I face a lot of challenges in my garden.

My backyard is a place where I LOVE to spend a lot of time. Every morning after my kids are off to school,  I spend some time in my garden, walking thru each & every part of it, inspecting all my plants to make sure that they are growing well. What can give you more joy & pleasure than seeing your plants growing & producing for your family? After school hours, my kids join me in helping me around my garden. They love to see when new changes have occured in my garden - for eg: a ripe tomato or beans & okra that are ready to pick.

But with all the pleasure, comes a lot of challenges. First, the weather - sometimes the extreme heat & at other times, the sudden drop in temperature are obstacles preventing the plants from producing well.
Second, the bugs - In several occasions, I've had seedlings "disappear overnight"....nice healthy seedlings of spinach, carrots & other tiny seedlings which grow nicely until they are about 2-3in high & then suddenly disappear overnight. This is in spite of having a 3 ft chicken wire around them. Its so frustrating to wake up in the morning & see that ur seedlings have been eaten up by bugs. On the advice of my local garden store associate, I used diluted dish wash soap to spray my plants. It didn't work. Neither did spraying them with Neem oil...the bugs just kept getting at my plants anyway. Now I've almost given up on my spinach & carrots.

The third & worst of all - A "rabbit". I had mentioned in an earlier post about a rabbit getting into my vegetable patch. It keep happening often & keep damaging my plants. My garden store associate suggested spraying the plants with diluted hot pepper sauce. I'm going to try that & see if it works with the rabbits.
There was an instance where beautiful my store bought Marigold plants with lots of flowers on them were completely chewed down by these rabbits. Now only the stubs remain.

But even with all these challenges, I love my garden & am planning to expand it a little more next season hoping that Mother Nature with bless us with lots of produce for our family.

I hope this blog post has not discouraged anyone from starting a garden. Despite all the challenges, gardening is a wonderful way to use your time fruitfully. Nothing more rewarding that see your basket fill up with all the vegetables & fruits picked fresh from your own yard.

If you don't have a garden space yet, start one right away & enjoy ur produce Fresh from your Garden!!!

Here are some pics of my beautiful plants still producing....& some Marigold plants started from seed...I have placed them on the window ledge to protect them from the rabbits.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Planting - Growing Garlic

I had mentioned in an earlier post about "Fall Planting" - vegetables & herbs that like the cooler weather are planted during spring & fall.

I planted some sugar peas, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, onions & garlic in late summer-early fall ( end of Aug - early Sep). Unfortunately my cauliflower seedlings were eaten up by bugs & I couldn't find more seeds in my nearest garden center. When I found some beetroot seeds, I decided to try those & they germinated beautifully, but soon they got eaten by bugs too. Same thing happened with my spinach too.

I tried using Neem Oil & diluted dish wash soap to spray on the plants to get rid of my bugs. Both neither of these helped.

Anyway, this post was about growing garlic. Garlic is a wonderful bulb that enhances the flavor of your dishes. I use a lot of garlic at home in most of my dishes. So I decided to trying growing some this year.
They are very easy to plant & grow. They hardly require any care.

Garlic should be planted in well drained, rich soil in a sunny location. Choose some big & healthy (without any black spots) garlic from your grocery store. The bigger the cloves, the bigger the garlic bulb produced. To plant, separate a garlic pod into cloves with the skin intact. If the skin is damaged it could lead to fungal infections. Place each clove into a hole or furrow with the root side down & pointed side up. Loosely cover with soil, water lightly & watch the sprouts grow. You can see the sprouts in a week to 10 days. Each clove will produce a whole new garlic bulb.
This pic was taken 7-10 days after the garlic cloves were planted 

Spacing : Each clove should be placed 6-8 inches apart to help the bulb spread out & grow big.

Bittergourd plants spread on the chicken wire around my garlic patch    

Water lightly once the sprouts appear. Over-watering can promote fungal growth. The garlic shoots must be fertilized in spring when most of the growth occurs.

In spring the garlic shoots will start to flower. Wait for the flowers to die & the leaves to die (turn brown) back a little around June - July. This is when the garlic is ready for harvest. Carefully dig up your bulbs without damaging them.

Then tie the garlic together in bundles & hang them to dry for a few weeks in a shaded, drafty area.
When the garlic is dry, trim the roots without damaging the skin. Store in recycled onion or garlic bags.

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