Looking forward to having fresh veggies in your house in a metro city? Here’s all you need to know on How to Grow Vegetables at Home in Mumbai!
Dwelling in the lap of the coastal region, Mumbai is known for its high humidity and tropical-wet climate, with an average temperature of around 28° C (82° F). The city is not only famous for its humid climate but the congested space due to urbanization. Many people are living in apartments and willing to grow vegetables. This article is going to guide you on How to Grow Vegetables at Home in Mumbai by converting your limited balcony space to grow nutritious, fresh, and organic vegetables!
Check out our article on the best indoor plants for Mumbai here.
In the congested areas of urban living, growing veggies may look impossible at first glance. Most people dwell in apartments in Mumbai, so keeping that in mind, growing vegetables in the balconies or window boxes is a feasible option. You can grow maximum all of the vegetables in the pot, given proper conditions and nurturing.
If you are making your vegetable garden at the balcony, make sure which plants prefer direct sunlight, and which partial shade. Keep the orientation of the pots accordingly. Tomatoes, peppers, chilies, and cucumber require atleast 5-6 hours of direct sunlight, while spinach, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, and herbs require partial sun for 4-6 hours. Also, a south-facing window is considered good for growing veggies.
Choosing a Container
The pot size for growing vegetables can vary depending upon the veggie you are growing. For instance, if you are growing tomatoes or zucchini, you will need a bigger pot of around 18-20 inches. For growing small veggies like mint, coriander, or chilies, small pots of 10-12 inches deep will do the trick.
Choose terracotta or clay pots as the porosity of the material prevents the soil from being waterlogged. Make sure, any container you choose, has ample drainage holes.
Choosing the right type of soil is always a big concern while growing vegetables. The best soil for growing vegetables in Mumbai is an organic potting mix for containers. You can even DIY it by mixing equal parts of peat moss, potting soil, vermiculite, perlite, or sand.
You can either purchase a transplant from a local nursery and plant them in the container or directly sow seeds in pots. Fill the pot with soil mix and soak with water. Sow the seeds with some space, as not all seeds might germinate. Mist the soil regularly to keep it moist.
Best Vegetables to Grow in Mumbai
1. Kale / Karam Saag
Packed with multiple anti-oxidants and vitamins, Kale is one of the best veggies to grow indoors. It is a cool-weather vegetable that grows in winters. Coming in multiple varieties, this curly-leaf veggie grows in the form of long stalks. You can cook it either by steaming, boiling, sauting, or mix it in soup and smoothie.
Growing Tip: Choose 12-14 inches deep container and use well-draining, loamy soil.
Sowing: October to November.
2. Radish / Mooli
This root vegetable is cultivated for its globular shaped edible taproot. Its outer skin can be purple, pink, or white but the inner flesh is of an off-white color. The sharp pungent flavored radish is consumed raw in salads. It is easy to grow and can be harvested within 3-4 weeks from planting.
Growing Tip: Use compact soil, soil, rich in organic matter. Add some compost for good results.
Sowing: September to January.
3. Carrots / Gajar
Sweet in flavor, carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, fibers, and antioxidants. Growing in reddish-orange color, some cultivars are available in a purple, black, white hue with slightly different flavors as well.
Growing Tip: It needs atleast 12-15 inches deep container and 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
Sowing: October to November
4. Spinach / Paalak
This green leafy veggie is highly admired for high iron content and other nutrients. This veggie can be easily grown in tropic and subtropical areas, as a bi-annual crop. It produces triangular to oval-shaped, broad leaves.
Growing Tip: Add a good amount of compost or well-rotted manure while planting. Mulch the soil regularly.
Sowing: Spring and Fall
5. Tomatoes / Tamatar
Tomatoes are the staple ingredient of many dishes in Indian cuisines. It is important that you choose the right variety, as numerous varieties are available in the market. Some of the best heirloom varieties for indoors are Plum Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Amish Paste, and Yellow Pear.
Growing Tip: Choose 16-18-inches diameter and 18-20 inches deep container. Use tomato cages for supporting its vine.
6. Zucchini / Turai
Also known as summer squash, the outer peel of zucchini is crunchy and the flesh is spongy with a musky flavor. People eat it raw in salads as a part of a healthy diet too. It can also be boiled, steamed, or even baked.
Growing Tip: Water the soil deeply. Use stakes when the plant grows to support its long vines.
7. Mint / Pudina
The strong flavor of mint that has a lingering cooling effect on the tongue. It is extensively used for dressing salads and chutneys. There are many varieties of mint-like spearmint, peppermint, and bergamot mint that you can grow in pots.
Growing Tip: Keep it in the partial shade and harvest it leaves regularly to encourage its growth.
Vegetable Care Tips
- Water regularly and check the moisture level by poking finger, one and a half inches deep, in the soil.
- To help the soil retain moisture, keep the plant weed-free. Mulch the container soil with leaf molds, compost, or straw.
- For vegetables growing in the vine, like tomato or cucumber, install vertical support like a cage or stake.
- Many potted vegetables need watering twice a day. To keep them cool during summer days, place a small pot inside a larger one, and fill the space between them with sphagnum moss or crumpled newspaper. When watering the plant, also soak the filler between the pots.