You might have heard of the benefits of organic vegetables. They are rich in nutrients and have lesser exposure to nitrates and pesticide residue. The supermarket vegetables you buy under the label ‘organic,’ however are probably not only overpriced but also fare below your expectations. A great alternative is to grow your own vegetables at home. We know the thought might overwhelm you, especially if you think you don’t have a green thumb. But don’t fret, we have a detailed guide on how you can cultivate your own vegetable garden without much hassle. Here is a list of the 10 best vegetables to grow in a pot at home in India.
What you will need to grow your own vegetable garden?
All you require for the purpose of bringing your vegetable garden to life are some seeds, soil, cocopeat, compost, gardening tools, and pots.
- Look for seeds that are not prone to disease and are capable of producing lush plants. You can even buy non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organics) and organic seeds.
- You need to choose the pot for growing vegetables based on how much space you have. Clay or cement pots are both suitable for the same.
- You will need tools to prune the plants, give the soil a mix and weed it.
- You may use vermicompost/compost or manure to properly nourish the soil.
When creating your own garden, it’s best to start small. Make sure the size of your garden is manageable and have a readily available water source nearby.
Slit open a dried chili to procure seeds. This commonly used food ingredient is quite easy to grow.
- Take cocopeat, compost, and perlite in equal portions and mix them.
- You will need a small pot in which you can put the potting mix. Take an adequate amount of water to soak it overnight.
- The next day, gently press the chili seeds into the moisturized soil and cover it with hay. It is recommended you sow two seeds per pot for a successful seedling.
- Water it every day until the seeds germinate into saplings.
- When the plant reaches 4-6 inches in height, transplant it into a bigger pot that is at least 20 inches in height.
- Daily watering should continue until the plant flowers. You can water less frequently once flowering happens.
- You don’t need to wait till the chilies are bright red to harvest them. You can pick them when they are still green to encourage fruiting.
- Some of the major pests to look out for are thrips, pod borers, nematodes, mites, etc. Make sure to use well-rotted manure to avoid infestation.
Also Read: 5 Best Crops That Can Boost Farming In Bihar
Coriander is an excellent addition to any dish due to its pleasant aroma. It’s also super easy to grow on your own.
- To grow coriander, you will need to take a few coriander seeds and press them gently to split them into two.
- Soak them overnight in water.
- To make the potting mix, mix equal portions of cocopeat, neem cake, sand, red soil, and compost.
- You need to drain this potting mix thoroughly.
- Space the seeds 20 cm apart when sowing them in a planter that is 8 inches wide and 6 inches in height. Splash a little water on them.
- Once they sprout, water when the soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering, the soil should be moist and not soaked.
- Harvest the plant when it’s ready and big enough to sustain it. You may plant new seeds every 6 weeks for a constant supply of the leaves.
- The plant may have issues with aphids, whitefly, nematodes, armyworm, cutworm, and wilt or powdery mildew. You can use organic sprays like soil and water mixture or essential oils.
Whether you use them as a salad or in gravy, tomatoes are an irreplaceable ingredient. You can grow them easily in the following way-
- If you don’t have readily available seeds, you can slice a tomato into 4 pieces and procure them.
- Make a potting mix with 20 percent cocopeat, 20 percent red soil, 2 percent compost, 30 percent sand, and 10 percent neem cake.
- Tomatoes require a lot of space to take root. A pot 18-24 inches wide is ideal.
- Bury the seeds ½ inch into the soil at equal space from each other. You can cover them with dry leaves or hay.
- Spray them with water every 2-3 days till they start to sprout.
- Once you notice four sets of true leaves appearing, you can transplant the sapling into a bigger pot. You may stake the plant with sticks on all 4 sides.
- Every once a week, you can add a small amount of compost to the plant till it starts flowering.
- The tomato plant is known to be attacked by mealybugs and leaf miners. To protect it, you may spray the plant with diluted neem oil in a dish wash solution every 15 days.
Brinjal is a much-loved vegetable in India and is often prepared as a main course. Here’s how you can grow them.
- Soak brinjal seeds in ample water overnight.
- Sow them into the soil about 10 mm deep and 24 to 30 inches apart. The ideal pot size should be 20 inches n height.
- Prepare a potting mix with soil, compost, cocopeat, sand, and neem cake powder in a ratio of 30:20:20:20:10.
- Water the plants regularly. When the sapling reaches 5-6 inches in height, you can transplant them into the new pot.
- When you see that the plants have started flowering, you can control the amount of water you give daily.
- You may place a stick in the planter and tie the plant to it for support,
- For the nutrition of the plant, add compost to the soil.
- Harvest the brinjals when they look glossy and attain full size before they ripen.
- The most destructive pest for brinjals is brinjal shoot and fruit borer. Leafhoppers, aphids, beetles, and ash weevils can also cause infestation.
Cucumber, a great source of potassium and fiber, also has the capacity to regulate body temperature in summers. This plant can be grown with the following method:
- Ensure that you soak the cucumber seeds overnight before you sow them.
- Use a high-quality potting mix with equal portions of soil, compost, cocopeat, and perlite. The pot size should be at least a foot in height.
- Next, you need to sow the seeds into the potting mix 1 inch deep and 6 to 10 inches apart. Top it with mud and water it carefully.
- Keep the soil moist, don’t waterlog it.
- 6-8 hours of direct sunlight exposure is required by the plants to thrive.
- You can manually pollinate by your hand to ensure fruiting.
- When the fruits are ready, you may harvest them.
- Aphids, cabbage loopers, cutworms, squash bugs and slugs, and cucumber beetles are some of the pests which are known to attack cucumbers. They may even transmit diseases.
A superfood, spinach is an iron-packed superfood that also has lots of nutrients with fewer calories. These leafy greens can be a great addition to your homegrown garden.
- Plant it in a month when the soil has a lower temperature. Mid-August is ideal for planting these seeds.
- A potting mix prepared from well-drained and loamy soil along with organic compost is good for the seeds to germinate. You can add the compost a week before planting for ideal results.
- Sow the seeds ½ to 1 inch into the soil and 1-1.5 feet apart from each other. The pot should be 6-8 inches high.
- Water them well till they germinate.
- Once they start sprouting true leaves, you need to create 6 inches of space between the saplings.
- You need to keep the plants under direct sunlight during daytime or partial shade. Even though they can grow indoors, it isn’t recommended.
- You can pick the leaves whenever you need to. The leaves will keep regrowing until the end of the season.
- Leaf eaters like cabbage loopers, cutworms, snails, and slugs can cause your plants harm. Applying neem oil on them or placing insect netting over them is good for keeping them away.
7. Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd is a quite popular vegetable in Indian cuisines and is known to have many medicinal properties. This slender creeper is grown in the following way-
- You need to soak the seeds in ample water overnight before you sow them.
- Use small pots to sow the seeds in. Make sure that you sow only two seeds in each pot.
- Prepare a potting mix with red soil, cocopeat, sand, compost, and neem cake in the ratio of 30:20:20:20:10.
- Extract the sapling with the soil from the small pot and transplant it into a bigger pot that is both 16 inches wide and high.
- Get sticks to insert into the soil to support the creeper.
- Pinch the side stems regularly to ensure that the main stem reaches 6-7 feet in height.
- Keep adding compost to the soil every once a week.
- The top of the plant needs to be pinched when it reaches 7-8 feet in height.
- On the appearance of female flowers, you may pollinate them with male flowers by hand.
- Harvest the bitter gourds when they are ready. To procure more seeds, you may leave 1 or 2 of them to turn completely yellow.
- Red pumpkin beetles and aphids are known to attack bitter gourds. You may remove the leaves at the bottom of the plant to prevent infection. Also, cover pollinated flowers to avoid fruit flies from attacking them.
A plant widely grown in summers, Pumpkin is not only delicious but also good for your health. Petha sweets, a popular dish in India, are made from these vegetables. Here’s how to grow it-
- The temperature of the soil should be on the lower side in the range of 95° as pumpkin plants are not good to tolerate the cold.
- Seeds should be sown 1 inch in depth in either rows or ‘pumpkin hills.’ If you plant with hills, it will warm the land quicker and the seeds will sprout more quickly too. It will also be quite effective in drainage and pest control.
- You can prepare the hills beforehand with old manure dug 12 to15 inches inside the soil.
- Space mounds should be 4 to 8 feet apart.
- Your plants should start sprouting in 5-10 days. You can begin snipping off unwanted plants when you notice the plants are 2 to 3 inches in height.
- Harvest the plant when the pumpkin is completely ripe and has a rich color.
- Watch out for Powdery mildew, cucumber beetles and squash bugs as they may infect the plant and destroy it.
One of the easiest plants to cultivate, mint can grow even in water. Here’s the method:
- Take a healthy stem from a fresh twig and make a cut at 15 cm along the length.
- You need to remove a few of the leaves from your stem.
- Keep a few of these cuttings in a filtered glass of water. An indoor setting is ideal for the plant, away from sunlight.
- You will see the cuttings start to sprout new leaves and grow routes in a couple of days.
Cowpeas is a type of bean rich in minerals like potassium, folic acid, vitamins, magnesium, iron, and copper. A look at how it’s grown below-
- Prepare a fresh garden bed with a width of 4 feet to sow seeds in with soil that is well weeded.
- Sow the seeds directly into the soil approximately 1 inch deep. Keep them 4-6 inches apart in rows too.
- Wait a couple of days for the seeds to start sprouting and water them thoroughly throughout.
- The cowpeas will sprout from the plant once they grow.
- Harvest once you notice a bright yellow color on them.
- Aphids, gram pod borers, spotted pod borers, and leafhoppers are some of the pests to watch out for while growing cowpea plants.
The important thing when growing your own vegetables is not to be dismayed by failure. Keep this guide in mind and you will soon have your very own lush garden full of healthy and nutrient-rich veggies. You will also avoid the risk of pesticides while saving trips to the grocery store every time you need to cook. So, get started on growing your vegetable garden today!