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Workshops in Mumbai….

Mumbai Farmer in the news….

Welcome to MUMBAI FARMER and thanks for stopping by! I’m Mandy, a Mumbai-based parent of teenagers, writer, activist, globe-trotter, die-hard entrepreneur, and greenie at heart! MUMBAI FARMER is a first step in the journey to connect with like-minded greenies, exchange resources, and grow the organic way of life in Mumbai.

Urban farming is a global trend. As people become aware of the deadly effects of mass-produced, chemicalized food, and with few organic options available, they choose to grow their food themselves (See: Why Grow?). MUMBAI FARMER has been created for those among us who have some space to grow, some zest to grow their own food, are curious about what it takes to grow, and are committed to a healthier world. MUMBAI FARMER gives you all the information you need. to grow your food in this climatic zone – sustainably and organically (See: When to Grow?, What to Grow?How to Grow?, Growing Organically). This website is the result of years of hands-on research on my Mumbai terrace farm, and a year of dogged documentation to create and streamline this content for easy reading. MUMBAI FARMER has also been a fun project, giving me lots of happy outdoor time, and new challenges, and joys, everyday! You can read about these urban farming adventures in my posts!

If you’re looking to buy products to get started with your own urban farming adventures, then do check out my Marketplace. You will find Urban Farming Kits, Earth-Friendly Grow Kits and Refill Packs of soil amendments and potting mixes – and I’m proud to say that this is India’s first online marketplace of organic soil products! Then join me and other greenies at Mumbai Farmers on facebook – our favorite place to share ideas, tips & resources!

PS: Since the opening of my Marketplace, and the enthusiastic response by urban farmers in Mumbai and across India, I decided to also offer a modest range of personal use products – what we call our Bath & Bliss range with Pure Epsom, Aromatic Epsom & Pure Himalayan salts, sharing space with pure, natural Massage and Essential oils. In June 2016 our newest baby was born: Green Gifts by Mandy’s Farm – Kitchen Herb Sets & Classy Corporate Gifts. These are easy to care for living plants that add beauty to your home or office, and in the case of herb sets, seasoning and spice to your food as well! Do check them out!

© Mumbai Farmer 2013. Do not copy in part or whole without prior written permission from the author. Infringement of copyright will render you liable for legal action.

87 thoughts on “Home

    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Thanks Bala, it’s really not that difficult, and gives you options to the pesticide-laden veggies we get in the market. If you’ve not tried it before, and have some space to experiment, it’s worth trying!

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  1. Anonymous

    Hi there, I am looking to grow a few vegies and herbs in my terrace too. I want to know where can i get corriander, mint, sweet basil, sage, rosemary, oregano plants here in city. I am new to gardening and have to no clue about how to start, any help will be appreciated.

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      I am unaware of garden shops in the western suburbs but know that there are some good ones at Byculla. I think you would get all your seeds there. May I suggest you grow coriander using coriander seeds (not roasted) from the kirana shop itself? You would need to crack open each round seed shell and scatter the smaller seeds inside on damp ground, then sprinkle mud over, place in sunny spot and spray water till they germinate and the stems become sturdy. About the other herbs you have mentioned, seeds are available but I found it simpler to propagate using cuttings. Simply pick up fresh herbs and plant cuttings – use as you would and save the sturdy stalks for cuttings. Snip off weak root ends and excess leaves or branches and plant sturdy green stalks. Generally herbs thrive on well-drained soil with moderate sun – and can tolerate some shade. Oregano, mint and basil will grow very fast (I have not tried sage) and in a couple of months you will have enough to pass around! You can buy your starter fresh herbs at upmarket veggie stores – or at Crawford Market. Good luck with the growing!

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    2. Marcello Vaz

      Hi ! Your blog is absolutely awesome. I would like to start composting my kitchen waste would like to know resources/numbers for Vermicomposting/vermiculture.

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      1. Mandy Post author

        Thanks – glad you like the blog, encouragement helps me to produce more 🙂
        About vermicomposting – will include info on the resources page pretty soon. In the meantime, do check out facebook groups like ours and Farmer’s Market to connect with like-minded folks with similar questions, and solutions to offer.

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  2. j

    Hi there, I am looking to grow a few veggies and herbs in my terrace too. I want to know where can i get corriander, mint, sweet basil, sage, rosemary, oregano plants here in city around vile-parle andheri. thanks

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  3. Sunilkumar

    hi,
    i have good variety of plants & their seeds, if anyone want seeds please email to me:
    1) touch-me-not plant
    2) Kalmegh plant
    3) Aparajita plant (white/purple)
    4) pattarchatta plant
    5) Hadjod (Winged Treebine) plant
    6) sesbania grandiflora plant
    7) bhumi alma plant
    & more – vegetable (cucumber, snake guord, tomato, ridge gourd,bitter gourd) & herbs seeds –

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Hi Sujatha,

      Unfortunately the bell tomatoes slowly died off and could not withstand the heavy downpour of our monsoon this year. I am going to try a winter/summer crop again and will surely get in touch with you if I succeed in growing them hardier 🙂 I’ve got basil but would certainly be interested in jalapenos. Could we swap jalapenos for thyme instead?!

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      1. sushma

        Hi, Impressed to read. Could u name the shops in Byculla who have seedlings of veggies. I know Ratanshi n the Jijamata udyan. i run a school n am encouraging teachers n children to grow veggies. we have successfully grown n consumed some veggies but i want children to grow it commercially n sell to parents so that they get life’s lessons not just some pottering around. Ideas might help. thanks
        Sushma

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      2. Mandy Post author

        Hi Sushma – good to know you like the blog. It’s commendable that you are teaching your school kids these skills! I will be starting workshops for school kids soon so do let me know if we could do something green and productive together!

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  4. Mansi Kapur

    Hello,
    I’m quite impressed with your spice garden and was keen to get some basic information – where can I get good organic soil, seeds, the ideal seasons for plants, and even the kind of sunlight and water they need. Is there a way to write to you?

    Thanks,
    Mansi

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Hi Mansi,

      Thanks for writing in – gardening is a hobby for me, and I keep learning new things! Please read my previous post (Getting Started…) for insights I stumbled upon along the way! It is admittedly, difficult to procure certified organic soil. The best thing to do is to visit the garden shops at Byculla, or any other, and order soil (if you need large quantities) or buy bags of soil (if you need smaller quantities). When you do so, also buy gobar, vermicompost, other organic fertilizer (potash, lime and bonemeal mixes are available) to suit different veggies. Besides these things, I also use up my biodegraded kitchen waste in the bottom layer (over the stones). I usually plant what I need to and add wood shavings (you can buy a sackful for Rs 50-100/- at any sawmill) as mulch at the top. Given our tropical climate I keep experimenting with seeds year round. But I’ve learnt that summer seeding of gourds helps as the monsoons work wonders for growing gourds. Also, tomatoes can be seeded in the monsoons or in winter because they need a long hot summer to burst to fullness. Cabbages, broccoli, caulifower and radishes can be seeded after the monsoons as they need a cooler winter climate to grow. Leafy greens grow year round but tend to take a beating in the heavy Mumbai monsoons. Most fruiting veggies need strong sunlight while leafy greens and spices generally tolerate some shade. Karela takes a hot summer’s day to germinate while lettuce and parsley need temps below 18 degrees C (I germinate them in the fridge!!)- only possible in unusually cold Mumbai winters. As for water – they all need it at least once a day – early mornings or evenings are best. Well…this is just a sampling of info, a quick and dirty intro to veggie growing in Mumbai! Hope this helps!

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    2. Neelima bafna

      hi mansi i want to learn organic kitchen gardening how can i learn , at present i have sown potatoes and ginger in pot,i have made manure out of kitchen wastealso. i want to grow tomatoes spinach red &yellow bell peppers

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      1. Mandy Post author

        Neelima please check out my pages on growing tomatoes, spinach and capsicum on my PLANTOPEDIA. You will find a wealth of experience on how to grow each of these.

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  5. Anonymous

    Hi I want to contact you . I am trying to have organic terrace garden. I need your help on this. Please give me your contact no. I live in Navi Mumbai

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Will write to you separately Aparna. In the meantime if you have questions of a more specific nature, I’d be glad to respond!

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  6. sheryl

    Hi,
    Really would like to start a small veggie garden but have very little sunshine. Please let me know some plants that could grow in limited sunshine.

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Sheryl, thanks for writing in. Am not sure how much sunshine your place is getting…Ideally veggies need 8-10 hours of sunshine daily. If your veggies would get a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunshine you could try shade tolerant veggies like spinach, amaranthus, coriander, parsley, basil, lettuce, mint, dill, oregano, garlic…good for greens and a herb garden basically. Not a bad way to begin a veggie garden at all 🙂

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      1. joseph kinny

        Dear friend., I am very much interested in terrace gardening as well as making vermicompost.., have an open terrace of about 200 sq feet which could be partly covered for some plants., I live in worli near the southern end of worli bandra sea link.(Worli village),would like practical advice about vermiculture and where to obtain earthworms to begin a vermicompost.,kindly reply on my email (VU3kny@hotmail.com). thanks.

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      2. Mandy Post author

        Hi Joseph. Sorry this response has taken so long. For some reason your mail went into another folder and I missed seeing it till just now. About vermiculture or composting, unfortunately I do not conduct any classes but you could try connecting with some of Mumbai’s gardening groups on facebook for hands-on experience in this. Our own group – Mumbai Farmers on facebook has contributors who also regularly post links on earthworm suppliers and composting. That would be a good place to start.

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  7. JD

    Hi there, I have recently moved to Mumbai and my new apartment has nice sunny grill cages outside the windows. I stay alone and have been wanting to start gardening for a while now. For starters, I think spinach, basil, coriander, chillies and tomatoes should be good. Can you give me some handy tips on where to start. I am completely new to gardening. Will also be helpful if you can share details of places to buy pots, manure etc in the area.
    Is there an email id I can reach you on? Any suggestions for “Gardening for dummies in Mumbai” sort of links?

    Thanks!!

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    1. mumbai gardener Post author

      Thanks for writing in n glad to know you are interested in GROWING 🙂

      There are good garden shops in Byculla and a few scattered in the suburbs. For window grill gardening I’d recommend plastic pots – bigger is always better provided your grill is well supported. See that your pot is well drained and put in a mix of earth and manure over the stones. Leafy greens and herbs is a good start as they don’t need very deep pots, and mature soon. You’ve chosen good starter veggies/herbs – also consider radish (winter is better), capsicum, brinjal and kadi patta (always useful to have). Tomatoes require deep pots for decent sized fruit, but if you can pull it off, are very satisfying to grow. I’m currently excited about sweet potatoes, after a very rich harvest, so will recommend those too! Wherever possible, start with seedlings instead of seeds (saves time!).

      I am going to work on your suggestions, thanks, and put up more info on this blog, including a Gardening for Dummies section! Have been so busy with the garden and other stuff that blogging has taken a backseat!

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  8. drshaikh

    HI, I have been trying to have a kitchen garden since a while but somehow have not been successful so far. Is it possible to visit your garden and get tips and ideas?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Glad you are planning a kitchen garden! Let’s see if we could coordinate a visit sometime. Will write to you separately. Thanks!

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  9. Mihir

    Excellent blog! I’m planning to start a little balcony garden for herbs and spices as soon as I return from a 3-week trip in May (not sure if anything I plant now will survive that long lack of attention), and this is an extremely helpful resource, I’m sure I’ll keep coming back to it for regular referencing, to avoid reinventing the wheel 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing this will all us wannabe gardeners!

    PS: Methinks there’s a broken link at the bottom of your “How to Grow” page that’s supposed to point to ‘Growing Organically’ but seems to be going elsewhere / nowhere…

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks for the compliment, and also pointing out the broken link 🙂 Will fix it pronto and yes, do keep checking this blog cos I got more stuff getting ready to roll…!

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Not sure about shops in the western suburbs…Why don’t you join our facebook group and see if someone else in the group could refer you to any shops? In the meantime, start with seeds in your kitchen cabinet! – mustard, saunf, full wheat, dried tomato, bhindi and simla mirch seeds…

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  10. Tanuja Nadkarni

    Wow!! Amazing blog and you sure have a green thumb. Lovely to see the way the plants are flourishing. We used to grow a lot of veggies on our terrace garden when we were kids. We recently moved out of Mumbai to a rural life in Karnataka and just learning how to manage a large farm. When we moved I dreamt of home-grow veggies since we have a lot of space. But sadly, I havn’t had much success – the farm work takes up a lot of time and attention and growing veggies on open land probably needs a different approach from pot-growing. I had almost given up, but after seeing your blog, I am all charged up to try it again. Btw have you ever bought seeds online and are they good? The locally available seeds in our village have failed so far… Thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks for your comment and I did check out your blog – it is wonderful! Lucky you, growing nutmeg, cloves, coconuts etc and with a cowshed too. Now that’s something I’d like to graduate to from my terrace veggie garden 🙂 Glad to read that my blog is inspiring you to grow your veggies – your farm soil looks rich and fertile, and you have a rushing stream within. I wish you luck, and all the happiness that comes from growing your food! About seeds – I use store-bought and/or seeds from my previous harvests, with no major issues. You can get a lot of seeds from your kitchen cabinet itself! I plan to source more seeds from organic seed distributors soon, and broaden the range of veggie seeds I have been sourcing.

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  11. Chandramouli Bhattacharya (Chander)

    Hey great work there. I have been trying to grow my garden as well in Pune since the beginning of this year. A year of highs and lows and a lot of gardening! Would love if you went on my blog as well and let me know what you think. Chandramoulibhattacharya.wordpress.com

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks CB! I did check out your blog too – very nice indeed! Your plants look happy and I loved the reference to Ed Wardle….Perhaps gardens are therapeutic cos they help us come to terms with the forests of fear out there 🙂

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  12. Meena

    This awesome ,!!
    I want to know for small farm . What fruit and Vegi I an grow for long and short termThrough out the year as we’ll to know how to make soil fertile and pest free .what important procession should be taken before plantation .
    Thanks

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Meena,

      Please see my blog pages – How to Grow? When to Grow? and What to Grow? They should give you all the basic info you need for growing your own veggies in Mumbai’s climate. There is a section on Growing Organically as well – that details methods for controlling pests organically.

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  13. Meena

    I thank this is beautiful way to connect to present generation to nature .and understand its value and make own environment beautiful and healthy.and to understand how precious it is to keep ourselves healthy and to get best from nature .

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Limes will grow very well in a container, no issues about that. Do choose a large container though as the lime bush will need root space and nutrients to grow to its height of about 6-8 feet. You will need a very sunny spot outdoors for flowers to be germinated, and less frequent watering. Remember that it takes at least 3 years for your lime tree to start fruiting. Thanks for this question – I had forgotten to include Limes in my page – What to Grow. Will do so soon 🙂

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  14. Shilpa Uparkar

    I thought moving back to Mumbai predicted the end of my veggie gardening but thanks to your well-informed website, I can start my balcony patch once again. Can you tell me if it is possible to grow lavender in Mumbai and if yes, where do I get the seeds/seedlings?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Good to know you like the website 🙂 Oh and lavender, my very favorite perfume so I simply had to try growing it… I’ve seen it growing wild and lush and free in Southern Australia and tried to replicate dry, sandy soil here too so it would catch, but sadly did not succeed! I think our humidity levels are too high in Mumbai for this plant – it needs dry soil and dry climate too. Well, I don’t know of anyone selling lavender seeds here since it is not a native species, but if you get your hands on some, I hope you have better luck than me!

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      1. Shilpa Uparkar

        I used to live in Hobart, where it grew abundantly. Never really got a chance to have one big pot of it there, so was hoping to give it a chance here. I have read that in India it grows well in places like Kashmir. But we can always hope. I will definitely try to find a way to make it grow here. 🙂

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  15. Mohammed Amin Nurani

    Hi Mandy. I am Amin. Though I am not a mumbain but we share the same gardening interest. Coincidentally I came across this link and read. I belong to a small village in Chandrapur district and have a big place for gardening. I love growing veggies. Just now I have sown onion, tomato, aubergine. And throughout the year I keep growing different veggies. I want to grow herbs but don’t have idea about them. After reading this blog, I think now I will get many things. Thanks for creating it.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Nice to hear from you Amin, and thank you for the kind words of encouragement. Good luck with your growing! They say, and this applies to all of us, “As the garden grows, so does the gardener.” 🙂

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  16. dhananjay

    hi all
    i have tried to grow herb oregano from seeds but 3 times failed germination the seeds were
    purchased on line my location is nasik can anybody guide me my location is nasik

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Dhananjay…for herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, sage and thyme a better idea is to propagate with cuttings. Buy fresh, non-refrigerated herbs and plant sturdy stalks in well-drained soil in a sunny spot. De-leaf and trim stalk before planting. Water daily. This method tends to be more effective than seeding. Good luck!

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      1. Mandy Post author

        You could get fresh herbs at the Trikaya and other outlets at the vegetable section of Crawford Market, Reliance Fresh, Godrej Nature’s Basket and some of the local markets like Colaba & Bandra.

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  17. varsha

    Nice information on this site. I have planted some methi seeds in my garden. But after growing up to 1 or 2 inches they get wilted. What could be the reason as I m watering it properly. Should I add DAP to it or not?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Varsha, glad you found the info useful. In the extreme weather conditions we are facing in Mumbai, the only possible reason for wilting could be lack of water. Young greens need water twice daily to cope with the heat of summer. Methi is otherwise quite hardy and will grow enthusiastically through the year, and prefers a shadenet for summer. For more info on Methi – please see the Plantopedia section too…

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  18. shaikh ibrahim

    Hi i shaikh ibrahim have a place in shilphat Navi Mumbai for Organic farming any one intrested can contact me or guide me for the same.

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  19. dhananjay

    hi mandy
    failed to grow herb s by seeds around 5 times and as per your advise took fresh herbs thyme ,sweet marjoram,and rosemary from vivian moll thane and planted them quite successful here in nasik otherwise quite successful with sage bacil(genovase),lemmon basil,cellary,parsley,coriander by seed start, thanks again
    dhananjay

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  20. dhananjay

    hi mandy
    i got sweet marjoram in supermarket but oregano was not available generally sweet marjoram is given for oregano where can i get greek oregano please guide
    thanks
    dhananjay

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Wish I could send you Greek oregano – I have too much! Unfortunately most of our nurseries would not have these herbs. The best bet would be to get cuttings from the fresh grocery section or get cuttings from friends…

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      1. SDJ

        Hi Mandy,

        I live in Goregaon, Mumbai. I would love some greek oregano cuttings. I have lemongrass, onions, mint , rose and mogra as of now. I just planted radish..How can I contact you?

        My blog is an old one. I had bad experience with chillies, tomatoes, capsicum. They are very prone to disease here. So I gave up. So I decided on herbs now. Will not grow veggies. Too heartbreaking.

        Thanks,
        Sushma

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      2. Mandy Post author

        Hi Sushma, that’s a nice blog you have there! Keep growing, never give up…as you say. I agree with you that Mumbai’s climate is far from ideal, but we persevere in good spirit 🙂 The easiest veggies to grow are methi, amaranth (leaf), bhindi, beans (fruit) and radish, sweet potato (root). Do try them out….and keep me posted!

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  21. shira

    Hi
    I wrote you a mail few days back, to your ebay shop, asking if you could ship few kg of rock phosphate (also… I would need few kg of wood ash) to me in Almora Uttarakhand. Courier services available here are DTDC, TRACKON, SPEED POST, PROFESSIONAL.
    AS I am urgent need of those materials, I would really appreciate if you could kindly give me an answer…
    Thanks
    Shira

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  22. SDJ

    Hi Mandy,

    Thank you for sending the greek oregano cuttings promptly. I will post the pics soon..I hope it settles down in my small garden.

    Thanks a lot,
    Sushma

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  23. Dhananjay Gujarathi

    hi mandy iwent for exprement with dragon fruit seeds wow now i am having hundreds of seedlings soon i am going to tranplant them in cups when they get first true leaves wish i could distribute them to interested people for free,
    n. b how can i upload photo
    thanks,dhananjay

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Super! Thanks for the comment and for uploading photos on our facebook group. I’m sure some folks would be glad to try growing these seedlings!

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  24. Shipra

    Absolutely love reading your blog. I planted some chilli seeds a week back and the seedlings are sprouting now. Please could you cover on how to grow microgreens at home. specifically interested in sunflower microgreens and growing baby spinach for salad

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks for the feedback Shipra – and glad you loved the blog! Yes, I will do some posts on microgreens soon. In the meantime, do checkout our upcoming workshop in Bandra for more hands on experience and lots of info. Happy farming!

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  25. Tanishqa

    Hi! I love reading your blogs. I am planning to plant a coriander plant soon. Please suggest me whether I should use a pot or a tray..

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Glad you liked the blog! You will find detailed info on growing Coriander in the Plantopedia section of my blog. Happy growing….!

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  26. Poonam daruka

    Hi
    I failed in growing herbs and vegetables from seeds . My chilli plants grow , flower but do nt turn into chillies. Please guide me thruogh. I have place for a small kitchen garden but i m nt able to grow may be my lack of knowledge.. I want to grow chilli corriander parsely basil baigan etc.

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  27. Lt Col R A K'Maneck

    I read this, and thought of contacting you. I stay in Jogeshwari (W), and have some place to grow plants. Am keen to start small, and grow herbs, which are not too difficult to grow. I would appreciate a response.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Thanks for writing in – there’s lots of info on this site itself! Alternatively, do join us at one of our city workshops!

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  28. Riddhi Shah

    Hi Mandy. I have a nice space to grow veggies in my house, but I’m really new to this space. I would like some help at home for the first few times atleast. Please let me know. Thanks.

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Riddhi…thanks for your interest! We conduct workshops occasionally and offer consultancy services for home farming in Mumbai. Would you like somebody from our team to contact you? If so, pls send in a telephone number, thanks!

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  29. Kalpesh Ajugia

    Hi, I live in the deonar area. We have a terrace space but don’t get much sun. Direct sunlight availability depends upon the time of the year. When the sun’s position is right above the head, we get around 1.5 to 2 hours of sunlight. I managed to grow a tomato plant in a large container and a cucumber plant. The only problem is that last year, there were flowers in plenty but no fruits for the tomatoes. Occassionaly I do have bees and some other insects visiting the terrace but not sure what could lead to the pollination process. Could you help?

    Also, for cucumbers I have had trouble with leaf miners. I want to try using pe-fu-mi organic one but I’m afraid if that would keep the bees away too?

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    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Kalpesh! Most veggie plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight for healthy growth. Tomato & cucumber plants are sun worshippers so I’m surprised (and happy for you) that they seem to have grown in less sunlight. The best way to attract bees is to plant brightly flowering plants alongside your veggie plants – like bougainvillea, hibiscus, roses and marigolds. Also, basil, when it flowers, is a bee magnet. If a few bees do visit, that’s a good thing. Give them lots of pollen from flowers to feed off and soon their tribe will increase. Also, the best way to control leaf miners organically would be regular pruning of affected foliage and better soil health (aka healthy plants) through the use of compost and organic amendments. That way, your bee population would not be seriously affected. Good luck!

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