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Growing spinach (in the balcony of a high rise)

Spinach is one of the most nutritious greens that one can get in their diet. Questionable growing practices coupled with the fear of contamination have made people wary of including it in their diet.

The aim of the experiment was to grow spinach (in the balcony of a high-rise apartment building) without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

The beginning

I went about and bought the essential apparatus that I believed, would allow me to successfully complete my experiment. That included a spinach seeds, a large plastic tub and (much to the consternation of people around me) twenty kilograms of manure.

Some points
  • In order to grow spinach, we need a container about six inches deep.
  • Drilled a few holes in the bottom of the container for the water to drain (If you do not have a drill handy, you could use a heated knife)
  • Used a mixture of red soil and horse manure (cow manure is better if you can get it) for the potting mix.
  • Made furrows about half an inch deep and spaced a couple of inches apart
  • Placed the seeds in there and covered it up with soil

Spinach does not like being over watered. The soil needs to be kept moist. Spinach grows well when it gets four to six hours of direct sunlight every day (it is a shade tolerant plant as well).

The Wait

Days quickly added up and I was despondent at the fact that I was watering a bowl full of red soil and horse s@#*. A week passed and lo and behold, a tiny green shoot popped up from under the soil. I continued to water and the next week several of these tiny shoots popped up. Once out the spinach grows quickly.

The villainous pigeons

A casual glance toward my balcony made my heart skip a beat. A pigeon was strutting about on the container digging up the soil wherever it pleased and adding copious amounts of its own fertilizers. This called for defensive measures. Cardboard pieces cut up and planted along the edges so that the pigeons could not sit down in the container. I even plopped some grains on the other side of the balcony to divert their attention. It worked… (sort of).

Growing up

It takes about ten days for the seeds to germinate. Once out the spinach grows very fast. At this point, I kept a close watch on them ensuring an adequate supply of water and hoping they did not catch fungal diseases with ominous names such as cercospora etc.

The Harvest

By the time the spinach grew up, I had grown quite fond of them. Quite fine looking plants they were. However, the time had come to harvest. Spinach usually can be harvested a couple of times and so needs to be snipped at the stems.

The Result
Spinach was grown and consumed in dashing style.


Sangeetha Ramamurthy said...

Excellent experiment... Although its not an experiment anymore since it turned out quite a success.. Love the pics...
Good thinking on the cardboard pieces for keeping out the predators...
Looking forward to news about more of our green friends in your balcony.

Venkat said...

Brilliant manjo,i can imagine the satisfaction. you should post this on Facebook..if not for publicity atleast for awareness.Now you are a real engineer.

xpercept said...

@Sangeetha - planning to grow tomatoes next. will see how that turns out :).
@venkat - definitely was satisfying. Will definitely share this. Havent been very active on facebook but will do...

Anonymous said...

ok dude....sounds good and as an apartment dweller I'm gonna give it a go. Any suggestions on how best to cook it?

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