The Green Patio is a new section on The Saffron Platter where I will share my experiences on container gardening. One of the most satisfying aspects of cooking is using fresh ingredients from one’s own garden. Tearing a few sprigs of coriander or mint, harvesting hot peppers, plucking fresh basil for pasta or using cherry tomatoes for a salad, a kitchen garden thus adds a new dimension to the whole process of cooking. In a way, you are starting to prep your meal when you sow the first seed or plant a tiny sapling into the soil, watering it, seeing the shoots emerge, watching it grow, develop buds, flowers and eventually fruits.
Gardening is not only a rewarding hobby, but also a healthy one. Plants, especially leafy indoor ones, improve the air quality of a room, filter out toxins and allergens, maintain humidity to make breathing easier, and can be overall very relaxing if you live in an urban setting. There are days when you have to delicately handle your plants. But get ready for some exercise in the hot sun too, lifting heavy bags of soil, digging or moving large pots during severe weather conditions. You are also eating healthy because instead of harsh chemicals, you are in control of using organic fertilizers and home made fungicides, and really know what’s in your food.
There are different ways in which you can grow plants even if you have limited space, resources and time. There’s Hydroponics (using only nutrient-rich water and no soil), Terrariums (creating a self-sustained environment in a closed or open glass container), Basement Greenhouse (completely indoor, using artificial lights for photosynthesis, fans for air circulation, humidifiers for moisture), besides regular ground and patio/balcony container gardening. Container gardening is especially tricky because you have to be extra vigilant about watering, drainage, position, light, soil type, fertilization, pruning, staking and so on.
I am not a gardening expert. But I have been doing it long enough to make mistakes, learn from them, and still excited to learn new things every day. When I started my food blog about three years ago, I had cooked chicken and baked a cake just once in my life, fish twice. It was more about sharing my experience with all of you and tackling the issues beginners face because I have been through that myself. Today when I look back at the first recipes I posted, I see a huge difference in the way I cook something, the speed and the presentation.
So The Green Patio is targeted towards those who are thinking of starting a container garden or already have one and are experiencing some difficulties. The first few articles will be on the common mistakes made in container gardening, beginning with overwatering. The Saffron Platter will primarily be a food blog but this seems like a right time to introduce a section on gardening, considering how much I love using various herbs or peppers from my patio garden in my cooking. I hope you enjoy reading the posts on The Green Patio, find some useful information and get interested in creating your own garden too!