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A never ending wait for the Carrots

21 Sep

I have always been a fan of pulling up fresh carrots from the soil and devouring them.  But had never tried growing them in a container, as always my curiosity got the better of me, and then the much awaited purchase of the carrot seeds from the local nursery happened.    I  was quite surprised to note that the seeds resembled  cumin seeds faintly.

carrot seeds

I  was told by my  Amma that carrots need a lot of  loose soil, and had to ensure that  I raked the soil enough to ensure there were no weeds or stones . Started with one big pot.    The carrots seemed adamant in testing my patience and took around 3 weeks just to germinate.   I  was instructed to keep the soil moist, weed free all the time.

In two months time, the leaves resembled that of very tall coriander plants ,reminding me of my coriander pots.

carrot leaves

 

When  I  couldnt wait longer, I pulled out a plant and was extremely dissappointed to see these babies just forming.

unformed carrotsAnd then the wait continued which seemed like forever, and then at  70 days , could see the heads pushing up previously seen here.  I  was instructed to cover the heads up with soil.

carrot head

 

 

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And finally on the 87th day came the labour of love,  I pulled most of them out and left some in the pot.  So here’s presenting the baby carrots.

carrots

 

Was not very happy with the size of the produce . apparently  I  needed to fertilise them which  I did not.  All I would do is mulch them enough.

And here’s what  I  made with the first batch.  A  few glasses of the freshest carrot juice which  I know will work wonders for my eyes.

carrot juice

So long folks.  See you soon.   I await your comments as always.

 

 

 

 

Okra/Bhindi/Lady’sfinger in pots

24 May

Growing up,  Amma would make me eat Bhindi calling it brain food and I grew up loving the vegetable.So how could I not attempt growing these nutritional wonders in my pots.  The seedlings took ten days to germinate and the tiny saplings were beautiful to stare at.

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I waited for the saplings to grow into strong four leaved plants and transplanted them into seperate containers. Planted three  of them in each pot. I had eight pots filled with compost, soil and cocopeat.

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They prefer a lot of sunlight and I have realised that they are thirsty plants. I needed to water them quite frequently.Kept checking for weeds and pests and within twenty days, I had the most beautiful flowers . Apparently, okra is related to the hibiscus family, Take a look at the flower .

Flower

 

And after ten more days,  had the flowers growing into pods , A bit of organic fertilizer during this stage helped boost the pods. Take a look at them growing in various stages.

PicMonkey CollageEnsure that the pods are harvested when they are tender, lest they become stringy . Tender succulent Okra made for quite a few delicious dishes at home.  So the proud owner gleams at the produce after a total of two months.

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The nutrition powerhouse has the highest number of folates apparently . Take a look at its detailed nutritional benefits here.And if you have any questions for the amateur gardener, please dont hesitate to reach out.

 

When I am full of beans

31 Mar

Beans Poriyal and Sambhar is comfort food anyday for a kindred South Indian soul like me. And when I decided to grow some of these beauties, they blessed me with abundance. Giving me the freshest produce and by far the best that I have eaten.

Choosing the variety – I chose the dwarf beans variety. I was told by the guys at the local nursery that they did not need  support or trellises which was a blessing in disguise.

So off the seeds went into a potted medium of soil, cocopeat and vermicompost. and they germinated within ten days. Did not need special care, just needed to ensure that the weeds were removed periodically.

It was  a sight to the eyes when the two leaved saplings turned lush and green. Pictures of them at fourteen days and then a month old babies.Image Image

Regular fertilisation, adding manure and lots of love led to harvest time soon. When the greenie beans played Peek-a boo with me.

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And my produce of 1.5 kg from 10 pots . Had a regular inflow of them at the dining table for a month after which they had to be taken out.ImageLessons Learnt :

1. Beans can be sown in January, February and March for the Indian climates.

2. They prefer a lot of sunlight and flourish when they recieve about four hours of sunlight everyday.

3. Occasionally you might find white lines spread across their leaves, which is apparently a trait of the beans family.

4. Harvest the pods when they are still taut and fresh.Waiting for too long decreases their flavour and makes them stringy.

Happy Bean time folks and if you need any tips , please dont hesitate to contact the Pitter Potter gardener.

Fresh grown Coriander

5 Mar

Fresh coriander garnish, or the green chutney that my mum makes has always been something that I have cherished. Coriander or kothimeer or Dhaniya Patha as it is known in the Indian Kitchens is a  must have . And , if it can be freshly plucked from the window sill of your kitchen, all you have to do is savour the crunch and revel in the aroma.

So here I sprung into action on a hot and humid February afternoon, to split the coriander pods. No, you dont need exquisite seed packets, a good old raid into the kitchen to find the seeds would do.

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Split each pod and put them in a well drained pot and potted medium of soil, manure and my favourite vermicompost. After ten days, the saplings rise up .

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And after a while and watching them carefully,  the leaves can be nipped, and after harvesting for atleast six times, you can start afresh again.

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Lessons Learnt

  • The coriander prefers a sunny balcony
  • And yes , they need more space than the cramped place you see them in here
  • Ideal times to grow in February and March
  • I can never have enough of this

Bell Peppers anyone

1 Mar

Well , the salad needed more of these and the growing girth of DH and mine were proof to that. Hyderabad is a warm city and I am  too lazy to run to the supermarket each time. I decided to take matters into the pot directly by chucking a few healthy capsicum seeds into a 3 inch plastic paint pot. I was not even sure if they would germinate hence the haphazard lines. The germination time was around 20 days . 20 days of peeping and only saying hello to the potted medium which was a mix of soil, manure and cocopeat. ( 50:25:25)

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I let the saplings grow to an inch and a half before transplanting them into bigger containers. I was not sure if the transplants would survive hence planted two/three in a pot. Ensure that the transplants are done either early morning /late evening when the sun isnt too harsh.

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Thinned the growth and potted some more pots after the saplings were stronger and looked healthier. And then I used some organic fertilizer and lo and behold, after a  month and a half , I could see the cutest looking buds.

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Leave them alone, watch out for pests and weeds . I noticed that the plants prefer warm places but cannot handle direct sunlight.  Add fertiliser or manure every week and watch them growing. So here they come,  say cheese .. to two months of nurture. Got about 2 kgs of  capsicums from three pots .

179207_501242529020_4730887_n Bell Peppers

Best time to sow for the capsicums are when the Sun God isnt  shining too much , atleast in South India , I would choose the rainy seasons July to August  and beginning of winter October,November or my favourite months of the year, January and February.

Chomp Chomp on juicy bells. Leave them on to ripen to get a prettier pic.