I belong to a family of farmers. My grandfather used to grow paddy, arecanut, coffee, banana as commercial crops and cucumber, beans, etc for domestic use.
Being grown up in my grandpa’s place has inculcated me with a tendency to grow plants. I like the process of how a seed/sapling grows into a plant, bears flowers, and later fruits.
My mother also gets plant cuttings from wherever she can. This is kind of an obsession she has.
Where I live now is a small place but spacious enough to have plants in a few pots. Here are the first few things I grew.
Now these are very common plants we see in almost every household here in the southern part of India.
Malabar Spinach (Basella alba) is native to India and grows well here. It has thick leaves and is an acquired taste. Pretty much the entire plant is used to cook curry.
Jeerige Menasu (Capsicum frutescens) is a hardy plant that grows everywhere here. Its hotness is higher than normal chillies. It also has a characteristic taste which I personally like. The fruits in the plant usually point towards the sky for some reason. Maybe because they are small and light. This is extensively used to make Chutney.
Mint Leaves are very easy to grow in a pot if watered every single day. This is an additional ingredient to Chutney which gives a good aroma.
The best plant I have grown(brought here by my mom) however is Bombay Spinach (Talinum fruticosum).
It grows like a bush if not pruned(eaten) regularly. This has never been infested by any insect so far. If you ask me which leafy vegetable has the lowest maintainance then I will point towards this guy.
My wife cooks amazing pappu(A tasty Andhra curry) with this plant. By far my favorite leafy vegetable.
A very similar one that my mom planted is the Honna Gone (Alternanthera sessilis).
This one is treated as a weed here. It also grows like a bush if not pruned. It doesn’t have any characteristic taste but it is known for its medicinal values.
It is known to be good for eyes and for taking good shits.
When fried leaves are grinded with chutney, it gives a bright green color! Who doesn’t like a green chutney!
I’m growing a few other plants like Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), Ginger, Kaki Soppu (Solanum Nigrum), Bell Pepper.
Why grow vegetables?
These are mostly emergency vegetables. When you are out of vegetables, or you feel like eating some of these then you cook with these.
It gives us an alternative. Say we do not get any vegetable for a week, we have our own, home grown veggies.
I don’t think this is enough but I’m planning to grow more once my own place is setup.