Srinagar: Early in the morning, Shabir Ahmad managed to procure a bunch of vegetable saplings from a nursery located close to his residence in the Rawalpora area.
Though he was never interested in growing vegetables, Shabir, like many others in the Valley, turned to kitchen-gardening just to beat the Covid lockdown blues.
“I developed this hobby last year in Covid lockdown. Honestly speaking, I did not get a good yield last year. I spent a lot of money buying saplings and pesticides and in return was not able to grow much. But, kitchen gardening gave me a lot of satisfaction and it also relaxed my mind. This year again, I have started kitchen-gardening due to the lockdown and it is the best way to kill boredom,” he said.
A nursery owner in the uptown area of the city said he was doing brisk business these days despite the lockdown.
“As you can see, my nursery is located in the interiors and I never did any advertising. However, during the Covid lockdown last year, somehow more and more people came to know about my nursery through word of mouth. And this year too, a lot of people are coming to buy saplings. Most of my customers are new to kitchen gardening and also ask for tips on how to effectively grow the vegetables,” said the nursery owner on condition of anonymity.
He said the people, by and large, preferred to buy saplings of haakh, brinjal, capsicum, chilies, tomato, cucumber and bottle-gourd.
Abdul Ahad, a vegetable grower said, saplings could be sown till June 21. He also said new-timers should seek advice from growers before planting saplings.
“The time for sowing seeds is over but one can still plant saplings till June 21. At this time of the year, one can grow different vegetable varieties like haakh, brinjal, capsicum, chilies, tomato, cucumber, and bottle-gourd. However, I have noticed that few sapling sellers give wrong information to customers just to sell their produce. People who are new to kitchen gardening should seek advice from local growers before they plant anything,” he said.
“I see that a lot of people are showing keen interest in kitchen-gardening yet again during the present lockdown. Many complain that their vegetables did not grow well. I give them tips like growing tomatoes or bottle-gourd saplings where you have bright sunshine. For haakh, there should not be a lot of direct sunshine and it also needs specific pesticides to keep the insects away. Also, saplings of bottle-gourd should be sown in a pair on a slightly elevated ground. Small tips matter!” he added.