By Upendra Mishra
WESTON, MA—If you miss that fragrance of fresh Indian vegetables from the Shabji Mandis of India, you can grow some Indian vegetables in New England without much efforts—in fact, easily. In addition to giving you fresh aroma, home-grown vegetables are healthy, tasty and fresh.
If you have not tried vegetable gardening before, this is the best time to try in New England—between now and the Memorial Day weekend. If you think you may not be ready for the vegetable garden by this Memorial Day weekend, you can plant some vegetables even by mid-June—or even later.
These are several Indian vegetables you can grow in New England. I have given their names in Hindi first and then in English below.
Most of these plants and seeds you can find at Russell’s Garden in Wayland, MA. At this time, you’re better off planting plants directly in the ground rather than starting from seeds. Given the short growing season here, plants are the way to go.
Karela: Bitter Grourd (Indian). There is also Chinese version but that is too watery. Ask for Indian.
Lauki: Bottle Gourd
Simla Mirch: Green Bell Pepper or Capsicum (Many varieties of bell peppers in US)
Mircha: Chilli (Many varieties of chilies available)
Baigan: Eggplant (Many varieties)
Adrak: Giner (Can be grown indoor)
Pudina: Mint (Be careful: it spreads fast)
You can also grow peas and beans.
Of all these, the following are the easiest to grow and bring a bounty of produce: Karela, Lauki, eggplant and tomato.
Before planting, pick a sunny area in your back yard. At least six hours of sun a day will be good enough. Till the ground, pick the grass, rocks and weeds and use several bags of compost (depending on the size.) You can get them at Home Depot or any other similar store. Mix the compost and soil and make the ground even.
Before planting, please follow the planting instructions for depth, distance and watering. Once you have planted and watered, wait for the plant to establish and grow. Keep them watering per instructions. This might work the first time and you might have a bounty of crop; or, it may not be a total disaster and waste of time and money.
This effort, however, will you get you into the gardening. It is a great hobby and it forces you to spend some time outdoor and breathe fresh air. Most importantly, no matter how much gardening you have done or do, there is always a surprise.
(Mr. Mishra is managing partner of the Waltham, MA-based integrated inbound marketing and PR firm The Mishra Group. He writes about his three passions: marketing, scriptures and gardening.)