The Table x Le Mill Guide to Starting Your Own Home Garden
Last weekend we spent a sunny Saturday learning about farm to fork in its truest sense at The Table Farm. The Table Farm was started in 2012 and is located in Sasawne, Alibag. The Table was one of the first restaurants in Mumbai to conceptualize and then practice farm to fork. The idea is to source the freshest and highest quality ingredients to create dishes that look and taste their best. The Table works with Adrienne Thadani of Fresh & Local who specializes in urban farming. Adrienne has helped The Table efficiently plan the farming and harvesting of various vegetables and herbs, including heirloom tomatoes, spinach, beetroot, radish, microgreens, coriander, lettuces and edible flowers.
Here are Adrienne’s tips on how to start your own home garden.
Figure out how much sun is available to your gardening spot and pick the fruit or vegetables you plan to grow accordingly.
Full sun of over six hours: Plants we eat the fruit of such as tomatoes, peppers, chillies, cucumber and fruit trees
Partial sun of four to six hours: Pants where we eat the entire plant, leaf or root such as spinach, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, radish and most herbs.
Less than four hours of sun: Microgreens and ornamental plants
Choose the kind of containers you would like to grow your home garden in. Options include natural containers like bamboo baskets and wood fruit creates. Clay pots that are locally made, they have a nice look and are affordable. These drain well during the monsoon but require more watering during dry months. Plastic containers are the least environmentally friendly but are affordable, lightweight and long lasting. A wire mesh frame with filter sheets is good for larger plants and trees while raised beds with a drainage board and filter sheets are great for larger spaces.
Adrienne recommends a mixture of 1/3 vermicompost/compost/cow dung; 1/3 coco soil or dry leaves and 1/3 soil. Plant roots like airy and light soil where they can grow easily and spread nutrients. When wet, your soil should be sponge like so that it holds moisture but drains excess water.
As much as you may want to grow avocados in Mumbai, it is important to understand the native origin of certain plants. This will help you figure out what will grow best in the climate you have. Water plants during cool times of day such as early morning and late evening so that you minimize the evaporation of water. Control light intake if required by using a larger plant or cloth for shade. Use companion planting and natural pesticides rather than fungicides and fertilizers to grow organic plants. These include neem leaves, neem oil, coffee grounds, garlic paste and chillies to keep pests away. Mulching is very important! The mulch provides plants with nutrients and also helps retain moisture.
Here are our favourite resources in Mumbai for you to start your own home garden today.
Fresh & Local
Bandra Farmers Market (for organic produce and seeds)
Vriksha Nursery (nursery carrying organic seedlings in Irla/Juhu)
Urban Leaves (more urban farming in Mumbai)
Daily Dump (home composting)
Annadana (for organic seeds)
Square Foot Gardening (for getting started)
Dial La Devi (organic veggies to your doorstep)
The Green Lab – Neeprima Farm and Nursery
Namdeo Umaji Agritech (for all your gardening needs)
022 2372 5674
You can follow The Table at https://www.facebook.com/TheTableRestaurant/ to learn more about their gardening workshops.