…. some technical hygiene aspects about urban gardening and urban cooking that you should know
“When you like a flower, you pluck it. When you love a flower, you water it daily” – Buddha
The following lines are for those who seriously like to get their hands dirty.
Once you have your heart set at home gardening you would need to carry out some hygiene checks. Now don’t fear the technicalities, these don’t take much time to know, lots of practice to functionalise and a lot of loss of effort & time if ignored. There are things that you should really know at the back of your hand.
- What’s the type of soil in your area further focus towards your garden specifically
- What’s the type of terrain in your yard/s
- What’s the weather condition in your locality
- What’s the best method/s to maximize the use of obviously limited yard area
- What’s the water availability
- What are the major challenges which other gardeners face in your area
- Where’s the nearest nursery and the seed store
Like I read somewhere, “grow Peas of mind, Lettuce be thankful, Squash all selfishness, Turnip to help thy neighbor and always make Thyme for loved ones”
Lets glance through all the critical hygiene start-up points for an urban gardener.
Types of Soil: There’s no right soil or wrong soil. Even sand is right for the right plants. There’s loam with high fertility and lots of humus and there’s clay which is sticky and tight. Sand is a familiar one for deserts and sea shores and grows cacti and succulents. And finally, there’s gravel, it doesn’t grow anything on its own but can be mixed with other soils for plantation. Also remember to check out the ph value of your area in case you are interested.
Weather Condition: Weather zones, annual rainfall, highest – lowest temperature, length of all seasons of your area should be known to you even without studying geography. That local knowledge will be put to good use in gardening.
Landscape Terrain: Like every enthusiastic urban garden, I have more expectations and limited yard area. So I’ve done everything that I can to optimise. That includes tied pots on wall, box and raised level gardening, sack plantation, tub and container gardening etc. you’ll see it all in this site.
Colour Planning: Is green your primary colour. Then go for all sorts of perennials, succulents, cacti etc. But if you have colourful expectation from your foliage then seasonal flowers would do great. Choose your colours, choose their combinations.
Irrigation Planning: Drip watering system is a great was to control irrigation in your garden. Also, it allows you freedom from holding and pointing a wet hose and moving across the yard with a fear of entangling your hose among foliage and spoiling more plants than you benefit.
Animal protect: You will see in this blog, how I have tried bird nets and foil ribbons to detract the monkey and bird menace in my area. There’s more for you to consider including wandering livestock, rodents etc. Mind you bees and butterflies are good news for your garden.
Sun availability: Be educated about the directions in your garden. The sun shaded areas, the hyper sunny areas and the partially sunny areas. This will help you plan where to plant what.
Given below are suggestive graphs which will help you decide which type of plantation mix should be to your suitability and would best meet your expectations. This will save you lots of heartburn at a later stage.
“Activity need not necessarily mean productivity”
“When you say it, they’ll doubt you. When they’ll taste it, they’ll be your fans !!” – The G-man, MCMH original
SO how do you define cooking ? Mixing food and flavors is cooking. It goes back over 2 million years when man learned and enjoyed cooking. There are cooked and uncooked recipes for food.
Like knowing the hygiene of any other activity, it always helps to know the hygiene of cookery too.
- What are the main ingredients of foods
- What are the major cooking techniques
The main components of the food we eat are carbohydrates, fats, water, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Besides these the mass component is made of something we call as roughage or fibre.
Understanding the basic components of food: While carbohydrates or the energy giving foods include the various types of sugars like fructose (sugar in fruits), sucrose, glucose and starches; the fats are the oils obtained from animals and vegetation and include butter, oils, ghee etc. Fats are also energy providers. Proteins are body building foods and are present in milk, eggs, fish and legumes. Vitamins are A,C,D,E,K and B complex. While vitamin D & K are already in our body the others need to come from the food we eat. Minerals which our body needs are iron, iodine, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. Vitamins and minerals are the protective foods which our body needs to avoid diseases and deficiencies.
Major cooking techniques: Roasting is the most popular and primitive cooking technique. Various iterations in these are barbecuing, grilling, broiling, rotisserie & searing. Baking gives us the bread content in our food and hence is very popular. Boling is considered the healthiest way to cook and has several variations as by braising, steaming, poaching, stewing, pressure cooking etc. Frying is another extremely popular method since it involves spices and flavouring in various types of ways like deep frying, shallow frying, pan frying, stir frying, sautéing, sand frying etc. This requires fats to be cooked along with other foods. Finally let me mention a tough way to cook. It’s called smoking. In smoking, the food is cooked by exposing it to the smoke produced by burning wood material.
Can’t help sharing a great cooking quote here, “Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education” – Mark Twain
Obvious inspiration from greats like Tarla Dalal, Sanjeev Kapoor, Vikas Khanna, Jamie Oliver and countless online freelancers.