Good methods of home vegetable gardening

Nor Noriah Mat Jali, 57, and her son Mohd Zaimi Mohd Arip, 35, look after their vegetables that are grown on the grounds of their home in Kuantan. The duo have been planting many local varieties in their home garden since the first phase of the Movement Control Ordinance came into force in March 2020. – Bernama photo

For the past year and a half of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone has wondered how to spend their time at home.

Some have tried growing hydroponic vegetables. News of such successes from big timers has gotten widespread, but basic soil cultivation remains very profitable.

Friends have collected polymer boxes that are intended for soil-based cultivation.

Planting in pots has entered a new phase of interest with housewives where the platforms for growing home vegetables now encompass the backyard, sidewalks, or just any space that receives good sunlight.

My friend sells potting soil and said that mother earth and scorched earth seem to be the new business trend – he asked me to deliver them from my farm.

Another guy said, “I’ll go to your yard to get earth as soon as my son returns from the outstation project and transports him with his ‘Hilux’ (earth).”

My friend, Mr Lim, had previously picked up about 20 bags for his new vegetable growing project in the backyard – this venture has proven to be a success, as published on the iPhone for the ‘SAVA Urban Veggie Group’.

The auto-pot system is also on offer for the lazy folks looking to grow some specimens at home!

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The ideal method / mechanism would still have to be to keep the vegetables healthy by using the right nutrients, preventing any attack from pests like snails and insects, and also removing any pesky weeds that come together in the bed.

To sum it up, really pay attention to the environment and the methods of keeping the vegetables.

As for my farming project, it has been easy to maintain for over three years and my methods have been copied by others; So I can now recommend it to my readers here.

1. Design a planter box plan the size (length, width, and depth) of your vegetable growing needs. It shouldn’t be too wide so that our hands can’t reach the middle of the box. After we have selected your open space, which will receive the maximum amount of sunlight most days, we can first lay the base with the plastic film suitable for gardening in order to isolate the original weeds from growing again. We need to extend the cover around the planter for footpaths and edges up to 60 cm. Now measure the size of the boxes to be built. We can divide the boxes with wooden boards or block cement to hold the medium in place.

2. Fill the boxes with the chosen medium, depending on the needs of the vegetables, along with the basic nutrient dressing. The choice for growing common vegetables like ‘Chai Sin’ (local mustard greens), ‘bayam’ (spinach) or Frauenfinger is based on the fact that they are short-term varieties; the long-term ones like ‘Chanko Manis’ (Manichai) and sweet potatoes can be picked and regrown, but these would require deeper beds as the root system would run deep. The medium for short-term vegetables can be flat up to 8 inches. All other tree crops such as papaya must not be grown from a planter box as this would ruin the medium as the roots would reach very far down and the tree itself, together with the leaves, could cast large shadows over the rest of the area.

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3. Sowing with seeds or cuttings as a propagator could benefit more from using a seedling tray to sow the seeds and transplant the seedlings very efficiently. I’ve done this for pumpkins and brinjals, versus using poly bags for fruit crops.

4th Care and control of heat and drought – watering the vegetables twice a day is good when the weather is not ideal. Practice rigorous pest control and hand picking the pests if possible, which is better than using pesticides.

The enhancement of nutrients takes many forms these days; We have a liquid formulation for foliar sprays – just mix 1:10 with water to create a weak solution to avoid scalding the vegetables. Pallet NPK takes 5: 5: 5; or urea premixed with water for soaking is also ideal for many vegetables. Adding scorched earth or humus compost would also help. My friend has coconut shell fiber for mulching, which is even more ideal for keeping in moisture and keeping weeds out.

Some can even set up nets to prevent pests from ruining their efforts. This is where you can encourage your children to watch out for aphids or beetles as they (the children) will be more vigilant.

5. The harvest time is fairly precise and accurate for many vegetables; Otherwise, if picked too late, they can get too old and too fibrous. There are several ways to test the vegetable: For example, a lady’s finger plant should be ready to harvest in about four days after the flowers have emerged. The correct harvest time for many types of leafy vegetables can be anywhere from two to three weeks; in most cases, this is the time to ensure tenderness.

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I very much hope that more home gardeners will come to the open spaces to enjoy the sunlight and also to sweat well, as the majority of my former colleagues would agree.

Have fun gardening!

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