Kitchen Gardens: Nutritional Hub At Your Doorstep

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By: Dr. Shweta, Deptt. of Genetics & Plant Breeding C.S. Azad Univ. of Agril. & Tech. Kanpur & Executive Editor-ICN

Nutrition is vital for strong immune system. According to world health organization essential nutrients are vital for disease prevention, growth and good health but they must come from food as body cannot make them or can’t make in sufficient quantity.

A balanced diet is essential from very early age of life for growth and development to the old age for repairing of cells and boosting body immunity. In this regard micronutrients, vitamins and minerals play a very important role. They are required by the body in minute amounts to fight diseases, to support metabolic activities and protect against infections. Malnutrition in India has become a situation that haunts the lives of millions of children. It is not an issue that is new rather it has been a major cause of concern for Indians for decades. Malnutrition in every form presents, significant threat to human health. Today India is facing double burden of health risk due to existing malnutrition and outbreak of Covid-19 a global epidemic. If people do not have right balance of nutrients in their diet, their risk of developing certain health conditions increases.        

Vegetables and fruits are important part of a healthy diet, and its variety is as important as quantity. No single fruits and vegetables provide all nutrients needed for a healthy body. As per reports foods rich in Vitamin-C, Vitamin-A, Vitamin-D and Zinc are especially considered important micronutrients for boosting body immunity.

Mega dosing of their supplements is not recommended in normal health conditions, hence round the year planned nutritional Kitchen garden is the only way left out to the families as a source of required vitamins and mineral. Fresh and organic fruits and vegetables from nutritional Kitchen garden can help boost immunity and prevent infection in rural families by increasing their availability of fruit and vegetable consumption per person per day.

Vegetables stand as the cornerstone of a healthy diet. They supply nearly all of the vitamins and minerals required for good health and contains fiber and a few of them, such as legumes, are great a source of plant protein. Vegetables have little or no fat, no cholesterol and are low in calories; they play an important role in meeting the energy needs and thus protect against diseases.

Vegetables help combat malnutrition and diversify the diets. Dietary diversification balances the diet by enhancing supply of essential micro-nutrients leading to improved health, enhanced thinking ability and increased efficiency. The study findings revealed that Kitchen gardening had increase environmental beauty and income of the household to some extent in the targeted area as this lockdown time when everything is closed farmwomen sold vegetables and got money.

Fruits and vegetable production in kitchen garden gave households direct access to important nutrition that might not be within their budget to purchase. Kitchen garden is providing organic, low cost and totally chemicals and pesticides free vegetables. Kitchen gardening has also proved cost-effective and sustainable method for producing organic round the year vegetables and boon for this crucial time when food supply is also a challenge for the govt., and come up as hunger fighter for society. Promotion of Kitchen gardens would be key to improving the dietary diversity and micronutrient status of households. So it is recommended to plant kitchen garden for healthy and prosperous living.

Today, because of Corono pandemic, many people have initiated growing of vegetables in their kitchen garden. Growing your own fruits and vegetables not only results in less pollution from shipping but also ensures you are consuming produce that are fresh and healthy. A kitchen garden is a small garden where you grow fruits, vegetables and herbs. It can be a vegetable garden or a herb garden or both . You can use wasteland around your house to convert into kitchen gardens or can have pots to grow plants in them depending upon the availability of space. Following points should be kept in mind before starting kitchen gardening;

  1. Different types of vegetables should not be mixed. This is helpful to prepare the land each time for sowing new seeds.
  2. Availability to the light is very important to vegetables so keep in mind the place to sow must receive at least 7-8 hours of direct sunlight.
  3. The vegetables like cucurbits, bitter gourd, bottle gourd etc which have growing habit of vines should be kept separate from other vegetables without vine. These vines should be separately grown near some support like wall or support can also be provided with sticks.

CHOICE OF VEGETABLES, HERBS AND FRUITS

The vegetables in kitchen gardening can be selected on the choice of the farming family. The time of the year or season should be kept in mind because some vegetables grow well in summer and others are winter vegetables.

Winter vegetables: pea, spinach, fenugreek, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, carrot, turnip, sugar beet, onion, garlic, coriander and salad leaves etc.

Summer vegetables: chilies, cucurbits, bitter gourd, giant gourd, bottle gourd, okra, eggplant and tomato etc.

Herbs are easy plants to grow and they taste delicious. Starting a herb garden is a great way for beginner gardeners to get into growing their own produce. Parsley, oregano, mint, coriander, basil, chives, thyme are some common but important herbs for kitchen garden. 

Papaya, mango, lime, custard apple, guava, moringa and pomegranate trees are the few fruit trees   that can be grown in the kitchen garden.

It can be concluded that during this period of crisis families become extra conscious about nutrition and health. Now time is to develope positive attitude towards nutritional garden as a source of nutritional security due to availability of fresh, healthy and organic fruits and vegetables at door step. To get full benefit of nutrients from nutritional garden excess vegetable should be preserved instead of letting them rot or distribute. Everyone should focuse on cleanliness of vegetables before cooking. In short we developed many lifestyle changes during this global epidemic to prevent ourselves and our family members from infection.

 

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