FAISALABAD-The agriculture experts have advised general public to adopt kitchen gardening, as it is a cheap source of quality vegetables for human consumption. A spokesman for the Agriculture (Extension) Department told APP that vegetables played a vital role in catering to the food requirement and kept the humans healthy but per capita consumption of vegetables was very low in Pakistan as compared to the world standard.
He said that the health experts recommended 300 to 350 grams vegetables per day but in Pakistan its consumption was 100 to 150 grams daily. He said that the vegetables grown under kitchen gardening were fresh and healthy in addition to easily affordable although these were cultivated in the fields or home garden. These vegetables were also free from the ill-impacts of pesticides, fungicides, agri toxins and other contaminations whereas its effect on human health was very beneficial.
He said that kitchen gardening generally meant to grow vegetables on a small scale at home so that it could help the grower to meet its daily kitchen needs. The people could grow the vegetables in pots, plastic bags, crates, boxes and open spaces in their houses. If the space was not available in the house lawn, the same could also be cultivated at rooftop of the house, he added.
He said that the vegetables cultivated under kitchen garden were free from pollution as no chemical, insecticides, fungicides and pesticides were used for their growth. He said that the vegetables for winter were harvested in September-October and these could be harvested till February-March. The winter vegetables included cauliflower, cabbage, potato, onion, salad, radish, turnip, peas, carrot, spinach, fenugreek, coriander, garlic. He said that summer vegetables could also be sown during winter by using tunnels. Among summer vegetables included okra, bitter gourd, cucumber, watermelon and melon etc.
He said that the winter vegetables should be cultivated at such a site where their plants could get sunlight at least six hours daily. If there was a place in the courtyard or garden where there was shade for a long time, then the people should grow leafy vegetables like coriander, mint, spinach, salad, etc. in these sites. He said that some vegetables like coriander and mint could meet the needs of a house even they were cultivated at a small area whereas other vegetables needed more area. Therefore, before planting the vegetables, a diagram should be drawn on a paper and write the selected vegetables in it.
Similarly, the spokesman also suggested cultivating vegetables in rows with sufficient distance between plants and their rows. In winter the rows for vegetable cultivation should be oriented to north-south for getting maximum sunlight. The birds and pet animals like chicken and rabbits could attack the kitchen gardening vegetables. Therefore, protective fence and bright strips should also be installed around the area where the vegetables were grown. He said that seeds of the vegetables were easily available in the market as well as in agriculture department. Therefore, the people should cultivate them and enjoy pesticide free, healthy and hygienic vegetables. The agriculture department also launched a special campaign to educate and persuade the people in addition to impart training to them so that they could get maximum benefits from kitchen gardening, he added.