Urban Leaves India: 5 Baby Steps to start off your kitchen garden.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

5 Baby Steps to start off your kitchen garden.

What you need:-

   1. A spot that receives at least 3-4 hrs of sunlight
o   Balconies, window sills, open passages

     2  Choose small containers at home that can be recycled to plant small herbs.
o   Use what is readily available.
o   An old plastic tub, container, bucket, oil cans, bisleri bottles.

3.       3. A mixture of compost and red earth in the ratio 1:1
o   Ask a friend to share
o   Collect the top layer of soil under trees from a park
o   Borrow from friends, buy from nursery (Last resort, purchase from the nursery , remember this is just to get u started, and should not be resorted to every time)
o   Start your own compost pot.

4.      4. Select seeds/saplings

Fenugree ( methi) 

     Start with something that you need in your kitchen and is simple to grow
·  Select seeds from your kitchen cupboard for example: Fenugreek

·  Soak the fenugreek seeds overnight, allow them to sprout and then sprinkle them over the cocopeat  in the container you have readied to plant.Fenugreek can be harvested by 40 days.
· Use saplings which propagate with cuttings or rhizhomes.ie: Pudina, lemon grass, mint,

Something simple like this can also be used in your cooking. Check out this recipe for Methi Dal.

5.      5. Mulch.
o   Dry leaves ( collect from garden )
o   Sugarcane bagass ( collect from juice vendor)
o   Coco peat ( buy from Nursery)

On Sunday 3rd July we had quite a gathering of enthusiastic wannabe kitchen gardeners braving the Mumbai rains and coming from far off suburbs. It was very heartening to see them.

We started the session with Julius teaching them to make self watering cans out of recycled bottles at home. These are good as they do not need any maintenance, conserve water, and allow small herbs to take in as much water as they need and saplings grow very healthy. (Most of plant diseases are due to over watering of 

We filled the base of the pots with semi decomposed dry leaves, layered with mixture of the compost and soil, planted herbs like spearmint and pudina, mulched with coco peat.

 ( to use cocopeat: Immerse the cocopeat in water. It will absorb water and swell up. Remove it from water, squeeze dry  and spread it as a top layer on the mixture of compost and red earth).In very tiny containers use coco peat.

 If you are using sugarcane bagass to mulch make sure that you use the very fine fibers.

 If you use leaves, ensure you crush them thoroughly into fine parts.

The contents of following sessions are:

5 seeds to sow from your kitchen cupboard        Sunday 10th JULY
5 types of recycled containers:  Sunday 17th JULY
5 types of herbs on your windowsill  Sunday 24th July
5 minutes of Daily Care: Sunday 31 st JULY
5  friends  to share with : Sunday 7th August
5 mins to brew your refreshing homemade cuppa! Sunday 14th August
5 good website on gardening: Sunday August 21st
5 ways to Connect on KGI day: Sunday 28st August

We would love to have you join us on all of these Sundays , however you  may also start by simply following the blog and experimenting yourself.

We hope that with these simple steps you will have started your own small little kitchen garden.

With love and smiles
The Team
Urban Leaves


  1. Thank you so much.
    Indeed very useful tips.
    Just 1 question - why ist that you have said that buying earth from the nursery shoud be the last resort?

  2. If and when you have a choice use semi decomposed bio mass under trees.(without causing harm to the existing tree). or borrow compost from a friend. We do not know the contents of ready made compost and therefore do not recommend it for regular use, and hence say it should be the last resort.

    As you must have read, we have had such wonderful results with Amrut Mitti that we are hooked on to it for life. However we understand that for those who have very tiny spaces,and for first timers starting with Amrut Mitti may be difficult.

    We hope that once you get addicted to harvesting your little produce at home you will be motivated to spread your wings a little more and make your compost / Amrut Mitti at home!

    with best wishes...

  3. hi!I do believe that kitchen gardening is a very good initiative towards helping our environment keep clean.i too have my own kitchen garden.But a small one.I want to ask u something.How do I make compost at home out of plant and kitchen waste?Can u please help me out?

  4. Check out our earlier posts Home Composting


  5. hi thanks for being so resourseful,thanks indeed!!

  6. Since last 4 to 5 months, i have nurtured a dream of a organic kitchen garden and then would like to have a organic farm eventually. I have been collecting kitchen waste,tree leaves waste and filling them in container, tubes, etc.
    I would like to meet and get guidance from a group who will help me co-create a sustained kitchen garden, a rather self sufficient urban kitchen garden. I found this blog from the sunday ETwealth times.

  7. HI i am kapil Aneja from panipat i am intresting in starting Organic farming at my home roof top and if it gose well i have a agri land in my village 5 acre i will use that also.

  8. Hi, Nice to see such a group to support and educate people with passion for veg garden at home., Can you please suggest a list of veg or leaves like mint, etc to occupy my terace of approx area of 1200 sq.ft., i will happy to get your expert adive., thanks.