Diipti Jhangiani has been growing over 30+ edible plants in her 50 sq ft balcony for the past twelve years.

The former journalist-turned-urban-gardener founded ‘Edible Gardens’ in November 2017 through which she helps people set up a kitchen garden.

Diipti started with a kitchen garden in her Mumbai apartment balcony, and also set up a larger kitchen garden in her apartment complex, which is spread over 540 square feet and has 100+ vegetable plants, fruit trees, and medicinal plants.

This garden provides fresh fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, brinjal, bitter gourd, beans, ginger, turmeric, about three different varieties of spinach among others, to the 40 residents of the apartment.

Here are a few tips to start gardening at home, even in matchbox apartments:

Diipti states that one can start with growing microgreens at home. Use raw whole spices like mustard, fennel, sesame, methi seeds to grow these microgreens.

Fill up the container with soil. Spread the seeds evenly to ensure there is enough space for each to grow.

Spray water and keep it near your window sill. If you do not have soil, you could also use cardboard or tissue paper as a medium.

“What you need to do is take the cardboard from a box and soak it for 24 hours in water. The next day, you take two pieces of the cardboard and sandwich the seeds between them. You will see the seeds germinate in 5 days,” she explains.

“Spray water on the cardboard as it needs to remain moist. Ten days after sowing, these microgreens are ready to eat,” she says.

In case you are using tissue paper, you follow the same instructions except that it does not need to be soaked in water for a day but remember to keep it moist. Keep the seeds in the tissue near your window sill under indirect sunlight.

You can also grow legumes like moong, rajma, chana, etc.

“What I do is I poke tiny holes in the soil and push the seeds one inch from the top. The same can be replicated when you are growing vegetables with hard seeds like muskmelon, pumpkin, and karela,” she says.

You can also sow lemon seeds and tamarind in 20-inch pots. For veggies like tomatoes, chilli, and capsicum, which have small seeds, it’s better to dry them in the sun before sowing them in a pot, she says.

Diipti highlights the importance of nutrition for the plants. She uses compost for her plants at least twice a month.