Preeti Patil does not have to worry if the spinach she is cooking is grown using dirty water along the railway tracks. Patil plucks it fresh from her balcony.
"Kitchen gardening has multiple benefits. You can produce organic food by yourself rather than buying it from the market at high rates. The fruits and vegetables from such a garden are not only healthier but also taste better," said the catering officer with the Mumbai Port Trust.
After initiating a terrace garden at the Mumbai Port Trust building in the year 2000, Patil has been practicing kitchen gardening at her Dockyard Road residence for four years now.
The 43-year-old uses the two balconies in her house for horticultural purposes to produce varieties of vegetables and fruits that are not widely available in the market.
"Commercial production has taken over our food system and dominates our palate today. Crops such as cabbage, brinjal, potato and cauliflower are the most commonly available veggies. In my garden I produce different varieties of beans, spinach and other greens," she said.
"Most of the waste generated in the kitchen is used in the garden, thus serving two purposes at a time," added Patil.
Dismissing myths about such activities affecting building infrastructure, she said, "There are mango trees in my garden at the BPT terrace as old as twelve years and the roots have not seeped through the walls or ceilings so as to cause any damage to the building structure".
Patil says that windowsills, pots and society terraces can be used for kitchen gardening in absence of large spaces inside the house. "Most vegetable and commonly used herbs such as lemongrass, tulsi, pudina, ginger have short roots and cycles of three to four months and can easily be grown at home," suggested Patil.