Growing Your Own Produce To Save Money
Growing your very own produce is not just about saving money, it's also about cultivating fresh vegetables grown with organic practices.
Home-grown produce is a practice that is increasing phenomenally around the world as people look to their gardens to see what they can grow - no matter the size of the space. You only have to go onto the Web to see how thousands of people are looking at ways to grow their own fresh herbs and vegetables. Even YouTube is inundated with informative and interesting videos of how regular people have turned their landscaped gardens into gardens that are dedicated to growing a selection of vegetables.
In this article, we focus on Ajay Sharma, whose success in growing home produce is based on the many success stores of home gardeners that have transformed lush lawn gardens into raised bed farms. With zero knowledge about gardening, he was willing to put in the time and effort to establish a healthy lifestyle for his family.
His main focus is on growing vegetable crops, particularly those vegetables that could be grown with limited garden space since Ajay only has a small rooftop garden to work with. On his rooftop garden, Ajay now grows over 20 different varieties of organic vegetables and herbs, fed year-round via drip irrigation.
From brinjals, tomatoes, chillies, beans, spinach, cabbage, and potatoes to fruits like guava, lemon, plums and pomegranate, Ajay’s terrace garden flourishes with greenery, wild birds, and temperature that keeps the entire house cool.
While all this sounds so simple and almost magical, his success did not come easily. It was only after months of experimentation that his garden started giving veggies regularly, that now feeds the eight family members. But the best part of this is that the Sharma family eats food grown without chemicals and saves nearly R1000 every month, that otherwise would have gone in buying vegetables from the local supermarket.
His success with growing his produce comes from sourcing the best seeds possible and apart from this, Ajay does not spend a single cent on the management of his food garden. Because toxic chemical fertilisers and pesticides were a strict no-no, Ajay found a way to prepare them naturally at home at zero cost. He procures manure from a nearby farm and discarded coconut husk from a temple for free.
Meanwhile, to enhance the nutrition of plants he uses leftover food from his kitchen to top up his compost heap. “Vegetables and fruit peels contain nutrients necessary for the growth of plants. I keep banana, onion, and garlic peels in water in a pot for 7-14 days. After filtration, the final solution is sprayed and makes my plants healthy,” he explains.
With so many plants on his terrace, watering became a time-consuming task, as Ajay would spend nearly three hours in a day. So, he changed his watering method and opted for drip irrigation via pipes, the benefits of which are many. He now covers all the plants within an hour. Additionally, drip irrigation also prevents the growth of weeds and helps the plants grow faster.
Ajay is quick to warn about maintaining a balance while watering, “Irrigation should be done according to the season and the plant. For example, in the summer season, irrigation should be done twice and two hours of sunlight in the morning are sufficient. Excessive sunlight can damage the plant.”
It is tips like these that have proved beneficial, and today, his small farm gives him healthy and nutritious food. He harvests daily, thus eliminating the need to rely on having to shop for veggies. Every mealtime, he only has to walk over to the terrace and pluck the colourful and fresh vegetables, herbs, or fruits.
“Gardening is easy, does not consume much time or require hard work. People are often discouraged by space crunch. In such cases, you can go for vertical gardening. The monetary investment is not much and the returns are massive, the biggest being the health benefits. If you grow your own food, at least you will know what you are eating,” Ajay signs off.