"At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling" – Shanti
Some of us were inspired to see a duo who have dirtied their hands too to bring that sparkle in others. "Can do" was the mantra reiterated by Sangita and her friend Lima in the field of nuturing home gardens – kitchen or ornamental.
GurgaonMoms team always attracts passion. This event also seem to be a passion spotting done by Subhashini in ever active community GurgaonMoms. The 30 of us who attended this gardening introduction session is sending their blessing to the teams way to have arranged this informative and practical oriented session. In matter of some months all of us would be boasting of sprigs of mint or a bunch of lettuce from our garden with the starter kit given away as part of this session.
Sangita's journey with the plants started of with adopting a plot near her home to grow veggies out of need to provide organic vegetables to her family. And now this has grown to a passion which a lot of people through the forum of GurgaonMoms and others are benefiting.
The first part of the event Sangita introduced us to basics of Kitchen gardening, and also to the winter veggies which can be easily grown in balconies too. She urged us to start with Greens first. The practical tips which she shared with us for growing them in concise is here.
- The winter leafy greens which can be grown in gurgaon/delhi kind of climate are lettuce, spinach, methi, coriander, mustard oregano and parsley.
- The easiest of the lot i.e the greens which includes spinach and methi(fenugreek) could be grown from seeds available with our local garden shops.
- The old gurgaon area near sector 15 and Kappashera area were referred to for a lot of garden supplies store which store them.
- The best part about these are that we could sow and grow these seeds in shallow pots and can be harvested in 6-8 weeks, which can be a great boost for a beginner.
- The other winter veggie, lettuce can also be grown in pots, germinated out of seeds. In growing these she introduced us to the concept of pinching the center part, to stop over growth and for urging more shoots to come up from the sides.
After gaining some experiance by growing the greens, Sangita urged us to grow cauliflowers and brocollis. In this new techniques like using mulch to retain the water, blanching with curd of the bud when it is 2-3 inches in diameter and technique to tie the leaves over the bud to retain the milky whiteness of the bud were introduced to us. This could be a process of around 2 to 3 months.
Another sunny spot plant like the cauliflowers which could be tried are tomatoes. Here the egg shells or egg cases could be used to germinate the seeds, and then transferred to bigger pots when they are 3-4 inches tall. The harvest can be done in 3 months after sowing them. This brings us to the great concept of recycling of home waste of egg shells and egg crates. These egg shells are great source of calcium content for the soil is another bonus.
Another kitchen crop which is quite easy to grow is the radish, here the only care taken should be the depth of the pot in which we sow them, so that they have enough space to grow deep and flourish. Sangita says she had once a crop of radish which was almost 20 inches, more than enough to feed mooli parattas for the town… what say… here with these inspiring stories we were all set to "grow" our veggies.
Lima cautioned us about the creepie-crawlies which could give us the challenges in our way. There were mentions of our common ants, millie bugs, termites or moths which could eliminated using natural methods of neem oil and turmeric application. Butterflies and bees which can be of beneficial for us could be also be encouraged to be more present in our gardens by the right selection of plants is what her observation was. We could all benefit out of her experience as a marine animal scientist and plant enthusiast for years.
For more details please do refer to the documents shared by both which would be stored in GurgaonMoms repository.
Practical session was a eye opener for most of us, as we discovered the wonder called coco peat which could be substitute and stabiliser for the clayey soil which is mostly available in our surroundings. We were introduced to how the soil, coco peat and manure can be mixed (2:1:1 ratio) and tips on how deep should be the pots be for each kind of plants were very useful.
The attendees of this session were a mixed group of first timers, garden enthusiasts who had dabbled in some gardening on their own. This session gave a boost to first timers with practical session on how to sow and handle the mix. The two pots which we could plant in the practical session would be great starting point for us. For the experienced the new techniques introduced would give a great boost to add new variety of plants to their kitchen garden and to try to use the new materials shared. The garden party ended with take-aways too, well thought of gifts -two pots with our favourite seeds or sprouts already planted. Now we are ready to tend to them and harvest the same in some days.
The venue The Sandys Bar and Kitchen with their own garden was perfect. Their arrangements for us to have a presentation in their lounge and also to get our hands-on experience with Sangita's and Lima's guidance in their garden is commendable.
Gardening Workshop by Sangita Wahi Mohin and Lima Rosalind
Photo Credits : Shalini Makhija Venugopal
Blogger: Lakshmi Thampi
Event Produced By : Subhashini Ramasubramanian
Event supported by: Upasana, Vidhya Venkat, Vidya Deshpande | A GurgaonMoms Event