Kitchen Gardening: An Affordable Source of High-Quality Vegetables

Sat Sep 09 2023
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ISLAMABAD: Agriculture experts have advised the general public to embrace kitchen gardening as an economical way to access high-quality vegetables for consumption.

Agriculture (Extension) Department spokesperson said that vegetables play a crucial role in meeting dietary needs and maintaining human health. However, per capita vegetable consumption in Pakistan falls significantly below global standards. Health experts recommend a daily intake of 300 to 350 grams of vegetables, while in Pakistan, the average consumption is only 100 to 150 grams daily.

The spokesperson highlighted that those vegetables grown in kitchen gardens are fresh, healthy, and cost-effective. These vegetables can be cultivated in fields or home gardens and are free from the harmful effects of pesticides, fungicides, agricultural toxins, and other contaminants, promoting positive impacts on human health.

Kitchen gardening typically involves growing vegetables on a small scale at home to meet daily kitchen requirements. Vegetables can be grown in pots, plastic bags, crates, boxes, and open spaces within houses. Even if there’s limited space in the house lawn, rooftops can be utilized for cultivation.

Vegetables Cultivated in Kitchen Gardens

Vegetables cultivated in kitchen gardens are pollution-free, as no chemical insecticides, fungicides, or pesticides are used in their growth.

Winter vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage, potato, onion, salad, radish, turnip, peas, carrot, spinach, fenugreek, coriander, and garlic, can be harvested from September to February-March. Summer vegetables like okra, bitter gourd, cucumber, watermelon, and melon can be sown during winter using tunnels.

For optimal growth, winter vegetables should be cultivated in areas where they receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. If there’s a shaded area in the courtyard or garden, leafy vegetables like coriander, mint, spinach, and salad can be grown there.

Certain vegetables, such as coriander and mint, can meet a household’s needs even when cultivated in a small area, while others require more space. It’s advisable to create a diagram on paper and mark the selected vegetables before planting.

The spokesperson also recommended cultivating vegetables in rows with sufficient spacing between plants and rows. In winter, vegetable rows should be oriented north-south to maximize sunlight exposure.

To protect kitchen garden vegetables from birds and pets like chickens and rabbits, installing protective fences and bright strips around the cultivation area is advisable.

Vegetable seeds are readily available in the market and agriculture department. Therefore, people should consider cultivating their vegetables to enjoy pesticide-free, healthy, and hygienic produce.

The Agriculture Department has launched a special campaign to educate and train people, aiming to help them derive maximum benefits from kitchen gardening.

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