YOUR CHILLI PLANT MAY NEED LESS SUNLIGHT THAN THE TOMATO PLANT – TIPS FOR A KITCHEN GARDEN

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YOUR CHILLI PLANT MAY NEED LESS SUNLIGHT THAN THE TOMATO PLANT – TIPS FOR A KITCHEN GARDEN

Take care of your kitchen garden

Back in Kuwait, we had a few plants in our balcony. It consisted of only flowering plants grown with seeds purchased from the supermarket (jamaiya). They grew, they flowered and then they died. We dismissed it thinking they were contaminated seeds and left them behind when we shifted to another house. I didn’t dream I would ever have a kitchen garden someday.

decorating my kitchen garden
Simple butterflies to add to the decor

After I became a mother to two babies, my friends inspired me to have a green balcony. One told me to fill my huge balcony with garden decoration. Though I thought it was an awesome idea, I did nothing about it at the time. Another friend said that having plants around was beneficial in many ways and insisted that I kept the small Aloe Vera plant she gifted me for two reasons: it purified the air and I did not have to water it regularly. Yet another friend gave me a Tulsi plant (both perished after a while). Then when some friends left our apartment complex, they gave me another huge Aloe Vera plant, Snake plant, a Hibiscus plant, Money plants, Basil plants, Jasmine plants, Lemongrass and more.

homegrown produce
Homegrown produce is healthy

Looking at me do the sowing, shifting of pots and watering by myself, the husband felt the urge to buy a number of flowering and fruiting plants to make the garden colourful. In the midst of this, my mom came on a holiday and encouraged me to sow seeds of tomato, chilli, mint, avocado, Malabar spinach (valchi bhaji/basale) and more. Some thrived, some died, some gave fruit and then died.

kitchen garden
Homegrown chillies and tomatoes

While I was excited to plant every seed I got my hands on, some birds thought it was their birthright to destroy the little sprouts peeping out of the mud. They also plucked at the leaves of the big plants. So, we covered the whole balcony with a nylon net in order to keep the pesky pigeons and monkeys away. Slowly, my one plant balcony tuned into a mini garden.

Here is how we take care of our small but flourishing kitchen garden:

  1. CHECK HOW MUCH WATER EACH PLANT REQUIRES: Despite watering the plants every single day, we found that some were drying up or turning yellow, so we researched about the amount of water each one required. In order to prevent roots from rotting, you should make sure your Money plants do not stand in water. For mint (pudina), keep the soil moist but do not overwater it. While the Aloe Vera can survive for around 5 days without being watered, tomato plants require drip irrigation. Learn all about watering tomatoes the right way.
  2. IDENTIFY THE AMOUNT OF SUNLIGHT REQUIRED: A funny thing happened. We assumed one of the Money plants was getting too much of sunlight, as it was turning yellow and we had seen only green ones creeping along crown mouldings at friends’ houses. But, then we realized that my husband ordered a Golden Money plant online. Money plants can survive without a lot of sunlight but if you deprive chilli plants from the heat of the sun, they wither. Chilli plants need heat; therefore, the greenhouse effect is the best, especially during winter months. Click here to know the do’s and don’t’s of growing chillies at home.
  3. LOOK CAREFULLY FOR PLANT PESTS: While I’m the gardener at home, the kids are given the responsibility of watering the plants every day. The husband inspects the plants every alternate day in order to check for Mealy bugs – the white spots or snow looking infestation on the plants. This is very important as these fluffy looking creatures can not only destroy that plant but all the plants around it. Learn how to get rid of these pests.
  4. PURCHASE PLANT FOOD OR MAKE COMPOST AT HOME: Plant food feeds the plants while compost feeds the soil. The five main elements, required for a plant to grow healthily, are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium. You could always purchase plant food from nearby nurseries or agro farmers. Or you could make your own plant food and compost at home thus reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. And trust me, it’s pretty easy. Most of your kitchen waste or wet waste can be used to make compost, except onions, garlic, meat, dairy products or weeds. For more information, read how to make compost easily and plant food at home.
  5. AVOID USING A GARDENER: Yeah, some of us women do not like to put our recently done nails in the soil. Use gloves because doing the gardening ourselves is therapeutic, builds our strength, exposes us to vitamin D and helps improve our mood and memory. Try it. I have been doing it for 2 years now. Plus, you learn a lot.
hibiscus
Close up of the Hibiscus – used to make oil
hibiscus
Hibiscus plant – beautiful

You can always start with simple air purifying plants that do not need a lot of care. Then slowly grow plants from the seeds of vegetables you are consuming anyway. And you will notice the fruits in your garden are way smaller than the ones you get from the markets. So, you know that it’s healthy and not artificially induced.

Unless you have a garden to yourself, planting fruit trees won’t be possible but you can always plant the seeds just to see it germinate and click pictures of the beautiful leaves. I loved the shape of the leaves of the bitter gourd (karela) plant but it just gave one fruit and died. I’m surely trying to grow it again with better care.

12 air purifying plants for your home

aloe vera air purifying kitchen garden
Aloe Vera – air-purifying plant

You can use Aloe Vera is several ways – Head to toe!

air purifier
Money plant – air-purifying plant

Once you have your plants sorted out, you can go ahead and decorate it. I haven’t decorated the garden but I’m planning to get stools for my plants so we can clean the balcony without shifting or harming the plants. Also, more decoration for colour. What do you think? Do you have a garden? How do you maintain it?

Kitchen garden
Pin it!

This blog is a part of the #LBWP – Let’s Blog with Pri, Season 2. You can check out the various ways to use fenugreek seeds in Surbhi’s blog here and 15 must-have foods during the Monsoons in Arti’s blog here. Enjoy!


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Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva
Cindy D'Silva, besides being a mother of two angels, is a belly dancer, writer and photographer. She loves partying, bowling and eating sushi. There is a detailed biography about her on the ABOUT ME page in case you would like to know more. :)You can like and follow her Facebook page to get all updates on the latest blogs and more: https://www.facebook.com/blogaberry/

56 Comments

  1. Dr Bushra says:

    I love gardening. I’ve grown bitter gourd and lady finger in my terrace. Planning to plant tomato plants. These tips is going to help me a lot

  2. I love people who do to gardening because my mama is a big fan of kitchen garden and she does Chilli and tomatoes and coriander and I will definitely give this tips to her

  3. Tina Basu says:

    These are such beautiful tips you have shared. Right now BLR weather is such that it’s not quite good for tomato or chili! Both my plants died. Now I am growing potatoes!

  4. I too have a small kitchen garden in my place and my loved ones are the coriander and mint, they just make me so happy with all the greens. Reading your posts, I am so motivated to get some more green babies soon!

  5. Roma says:

    We have this love for gardening Cindy and yes I too have figured out after a lot of hit and trial how much to water, how much sunlight etc is needed by every plant

  6. OH I never thought it did. LOved your ideas on home gardening. I am a big fan of green thumb and I’ll try growing the chillis next now

  7. Varsh says:

    You have such a lovely home garden. I’ve been trying and growing my own greens too. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Chillies have grown well. Takes some experience.

  8. Jhilmil says:

    Home gardening is not easy! We have a huge Terrace garden with almost all vegetables , but the care plants need is immense! Good to know these tips!

  9. I had been planning on starting my own home garden and all of these pointers are going to be super helpful.

  10. Swati Mathur says:

    Very informative post, Though I love having plants in my house but Didn’t get enough time to take care. But planning to have some home grown vegetables now as I have plenty of time now.

  11. Ruchi Verma says:

    I just love to grow veggies at home but somehow it’s not getting done nowadays…Loved the way you have done this and shared the tips

  12. I have also started a small kitchen garden. And make my own compost for it. I am sure to be successful with your help and tips

  13. Snigdha says:

    I love home gardening and your points are so helpful on this. I must say you have a beautiful home garden .

  14. This is such a lovely post. My mom has a terrace garden where she grows various vegetables like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, okra, chili, beetroot, beans, eggplant, ridge gourd, tomatoes, fenugreek & coriander. She inspired me to have my own small garden in the balcony. Though I am not growing veggies the greenery is what keeps me happy. I have also written a post on it – http://growingwithnemit.com/balcony-garden-boring-into-interesting-garden/

  15. Gardening is so satisfying. Nothing can replace the feeling of seeing your plants blossom and grow. Thank you for this wonderful post. Will follow your tips – they are really useful

  16. Alpana says:

    We do have some plants in our backyard. And it feels so satisfying to consume home grown vegetables. Whenever I pluck fresh mint leaves for chutney, that happiness is different.

  17. Smitha N says:

    Wow Cindy ty dear for information looks great even I am planning for home Garden .. And I already have mint and tomatoes… Definitely will be planting for chillis..

  18. You have a lovely balcony garden Cindy. Will use these tips for my kitchen sproutlings.

  19. Disha says:

    My husband is equally enthusiastic about the home garden like you. He loves his plants like kids and now our kid is following the same steps. For me, having greenery in the house adds calm and fresh air. Looking at the blossoming flowers makes everyone happy! Great tips to maintain home garden.

  20. I have made it a ritual to water my Tulsi plant. It refreshes my mind a lot. Never knew about chilli plant and such planting facts.

  21. Complete coincidence that I planted my first one today.
    #tmmreads

  22. Great post Cindy… even I have done up my kitchen garden with lods of love and care and now I’ve basil, lemon, chillies, aloe and mint leaves growing beautifully.

  23. Being Amna says:

    This is such an inspiring post.. Now I am definitely planning a mini garden on terrace where I can plant some beautiful roses and some of favorite vegetables 😍. Thankyou for sharing such awesome gardening tips.. saving your post and sharing further with my friends

  24. Bedabrata Chakraborty says:

    Do the air-purifying plants really work? I like how these look but sceptical regarding their efficiency.

  25. This will come handy for me as I am planning to start one of my own.

  26. I have always wanted to help my mom in gardening but I have never been motivated enough. Your post has triggered enthusiasm and now I feel I should help her taking care of her plants.

  27. Ishieta says:

    I love the idea of a green garden and kitchen garden it is interesting to read about your experience in journey and notes

  28. Raksha says:

    This is super helpful as I am thinking of setting up a kitchen garden at our new home. And I have started to research on the plants that I can keep and how much sunlight is required for each of the plants.