IN every house, there is space which can be utilised to grow organic, pesticide-free vegetables. To get started, consider an area which gets maximum hours of sunlight. Level it and ensure that there is good drainage. Source seeds from a government agricultural establishment or a reputed company.
PREPARING THE SOIL
A well-drained loam soil, rich in organic matter, gives best results. If required, replace it with farm soil to the depth of 18 inches. Digging is to be followed by at least 2-3 days of exposure to the sun. Add 4-5 baskets of well-rotten manure or vermin compost in 25 sqm. Mix it thoroughly. Plant seedlings in the evening hours.
Its seeds are sown in early September. After a month, the seedlings are transplanted at a spacing of 45x45 cm in rich organic soil with good drainage. Add urea to the soil after a month. It takes more than 60 days for the head to get ready. Once the central head is removed, side shoots emerge, which will lead to smaller heads.
The main crop is sown till mid-September at 60 cm on raised ridges while the late varieties are sown from October to mid-November and are spaced at 45 cm. After the crop is established, irrigate it once a week. The late varieties get ready in about 60 days, while the main crop takes 90 days.
Its nursery is sown till mid-September. In 45 days, seedlings are ready to be transplanted. These are spaced at 45x60 cm. Irrigate regularly till the plant is established. Thereafter, do it once a week. Watch out for pests. Harvest takes place after about 90 days.
Its sowing continues till late October. It grows best in sandy loam soil (with added potash) on a raised platform at a distance of 7.5 cm. Do thinning after 30 days. Remove weeds. Go for shallow irrigation. Crop gets ready in 90 days.
Lettuce (salad leaves) seeds are sown in September-end and transplanted after a month on raised beds, maintaining a 20 cm gap. A clean cultivation and thinning exercise is beneficial for quality yield. The leaves are available after 60 days.
Spinach & Fenugreek
Spinach (palak) can be sown at regular intervals till late November directly on raised or flat beds in continuous lines for an easy upkeep. It takes 45 days for the leaves to get ready. Multiple cuttings are beneficial. The sowing of fenugreek (methi) starts once the temperature cools down by September. Its maintenance is like that of spinach.
It prefers well-drained loamy soil. It is sown by breaking the seed capsule in rows by September-end till early October. The crop grows at a slow pace. Weeds need to be uprooted regularly. Maintain moisture but do not over-water.
Early varieties of turnip (shalgam) start sowing in September on raised ridges spaced 10 cm apart. The seeds grow in clumps. These are to be thinned after 15 days of germination. The crop is ready within 60 days.
Radish (mooli) is sown 10 cm apart on raised ridges 30-45 cm apart or on existing inter plot ridges. The seeds need to be thinned, keeping only the healthy ones. Harvest when roots are tender.
Sown in September-October, the garden beet (chukandar) crop gets ready by December. It is sown on ridges 30-45 cm apart at a spacing of 15 cm between plants.
The nursery is sown from mid-October to mid-November and the seedlings are transplanted from mid-December to mid-January. Plant in rows 15 cm apart and plant to plant distance of 7-8 cm. Irrigate immediately and subsequently at an interval of 7-10 days depending on the soil type and weather conditions. Hoe regularly to root out weeds and improve aeration.
Dibbling of cloves is done from the last week of September to the first week of October. Plant at 15 cm in row. Keep plant distance at 7-8 cm. Irrigate immediately. Later do it after 7-10 days. Hoe regularly to remove weeds and enhance aeration.
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