A patch of edible delights

Why focus on a specific vegetable? Mixed food is a sustainable model for kitchen gardening

The image of an ideal kitchen garden of the past few decades has always been a patch of neat bordered squares, each holding a collection of plants, like nuclear families in apartment blocks. The Indian kitchen garden plan was largely influenced by Mughal gardens, which had formal structured kitchen gardens with the purpose of feeding large households, and their retinue.

In contrast, the gardens of most small farms and rural homes were a glorious medley of edible plants. An extension of the kitchen, it had essentials like curry leaves, coriander, chillies, tomatoes and herbs. Seasonal vegetables and greens grew alongside pumpkins and beans, bitter gourd and ivy gourd vines crept up the trunks of papaya, guava and chikoo trees. Tall coconut palms, mangoes and drumsticks dropped leaves and bark, enriching the ground with organic matter. Birds, insects and butterflies flew around pollinating, and earthworms burrowed deep, aerating and enriching the soil. Waste from the kitchen decomposed in a corner, soon to be transformed into rich manure.................Read more


Source: The Hindu

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