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Grow your Exotic Plants

“ With an increasing figure of Indians discovering international cuisines, the industry of exotic vegetables is also growing. ”

  1. Lettuce
    This is a half- hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Days to maturity tend to be short.

    Cultivation: Lettuce is perfect for succession planting. Sow seeds every two weeks for making throughout the season, starting with early lettuce varieties, using heat-tolerant varieties as your main crop, and then moving to fall crops late in the summer. If you prefer, use lettuce in successions with other crops. For example, plant lettuce in the spring, followed by beans in the summer, followed by lettuce again in the fall.

    Watering: The key to lettuce production is supplying moderate but almost constant water, especially during hot weather. Unless there is regular rainfall, lettuce must be watered deeply at least once a week- more frequently during periods of drought. A drip-irrigation system is ideal.

    Tip: To maximize lettuce production, plant seeds in raised beds. The raised beds warm up faster than the surrounding ground. You should be able to get an earlier start in the spring and a later crop in the fall.

  2. Cherry Tomato
    Sowing: Tomato seeds are often started in an indoor setting in a container approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost date in your local area. Fill the container with seed starting soil and sow the tomato seeds about 1⁄8 inch (0.3 cm) into the soil.

    Sunlight: Once the seeds emerge into seedlings, they will require as much sunlight as they can get in order to grow as sturdy and firm as they can.

    Watering: If you are able to make the choice, it is recommended that you water your plants deeply rather than watering them lightly but frequently. When the water soaks deep down into the soil, the deeper roots will benefit from it.

    Fertilize: Before the plants blossom, focus on giving them SankalpTaru Boosters high in nitrogen. After they blossom, switch to giving them SankalpTaru Veggie Plus.

  3. Parsley
    Sowing: Soak the seeds in soapy water. Rinse and move the seeds to another bowl of water and dry them. Using a small trowel, make the rows in your garden approximately 10 to 12 inches (25.4 to 30.5 cm) apart and long enough so that the seeds can be sewn in 3-inch intervals. The seeds/sprouts need only be covered with ½ inch of dirt, so these holes/rows need not be very deep. Transplant seedlings started indoors into your garden after the first frost and when the plants are at least 3-inches tall. Place the seeds so that each plant is at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) from the other plants, in rows that are 6 inches (15.2 cm) apart. This will give the parsley plenty of space to grow, which it will take full advantage of with the commencement of late Spring.

    Watering: Water your parsley deeply at least once a week to encourage the development of a long taproot. You may need to water more frequently during extremely hot and dry periods.

    Harvest: When the parsley sprouts out with sets of three leaves that are fully developed, it is ready to be picked. Harvest the parsley slowly throughout the season by cutting the outer stalks of the plants just above ground level to encourage additional growth. Harvesting the leaves from the top of the plant will reduce your yield.

  4. White Brinjal
    Sowing: White Brinjal can grow twice during the year. The sowing time is May-June, August- September and December- January.

    Layout & Spacing: Ridges and furrow type of layout is use. Seedlings are raised on raised bed. Spacing is 75 x 60 cm. to 75x75 cm.

    Watering: Water the field after every third or fourth day during the summer season and after 12 to 15 days during the winter season. Timely irrigation is very important for high yields of white brinjal. The fields should be regularly irrigated to keep the soil moist during frosty days.

    Harvesting: Fruits are harvested when they are immature. They should be severed from the plant by cutting with small shears or a knife. Fruits are allowed to attain a good size and colour till they do not lose their bright, glossy appearance and become dull.

  5. Red Cabbage
    Sowing: Red Cabbage must be started indoors 6 weeks before your last frost date. You can direct sow a crop for fall harvest in mid-summer.

    Cultivation: Avoid planting cabbage in the same spot each year as with any cabbage family crop.

    Growing Tips: Red Cabbage plants need up to 1 1/2 inches of water a week. Well-amended soil is vital to ensure vigorous growth.

    Harvesting: Red Cabbage heads when they have formed tight, firm heads. Cut the stem below the head but do not pull the remaining plant. Smaller cabbage heads often develop near the base of harvested heads.

  6. Leek
    Sowing: Leeks are easily started in soilless mix. When they reach the thickness of a pencil lead, they can be transplanted outdoors. Plant leeks in a sunny spot in soil that is fertile and well-drained. Leeks thrive in traditional garden beds, raised beds, or even in tall containers, so choose whatever works best for you. Space leeks 6 inches apart when planting.

    Harvest and Storage: You can start pulling leeks from the ground just about any time. Typically, you’d let them get least 1 inch or larger in diameter for the big white stems, but you can dig young ones to eat like scallions. If the soil is moist, they may just pull right out of the ground. If they resist, use a spading fork to loosen soil and then gently pull leeks by grabbing them at their base.
    In colder areas, extend the harvest season by mulching deeply around plants (up to 1 foot deep) before a hard freeze. You could continue harvesting leeks until they are locked frozen into the ground, but don’t let that happen. Dig them first and store.

  7. Golden Squash (Zucchini)
    When to plant: Zucchini is typically considered a summer squash, because it thrives and produces the best fruit in summer. Some varieties are considered winter squashes, but this has to do with the time of fruiting, rather than the time of planting. Zucchini are sun loving and won’t do well in cold soil. Therefore, plant your zucchini when the temperature of the soil outdoors is at least 55 °F (13 °C).

    Sowing: If you’d rather not take chances of sowing your seeds directly into the soil, you can start your zucchini seeds indoors 4-6 weeks prior to transplanting them outdoors. Grab seed trays, soil-less potting mixture, and your seeds. Place a single seed in each tray, cover with ⅛ inch of potting mixture, and water well! These should be placed in an area that gets sunlight and is at least 60 °F (16 °C). When the second set of leaves have sprouted, the zucchini starts are ready to be transplanted outdoors.

    Harvest: When zucchini have grown to at least 4-inches in length, they are ready to be picked. Picking zucchini regularly promotes more squash production. Therefore, if you want lots of the squash, then pick all the zucchinis as they reach maturity. If you don’t have a need for too many squash, leave one or two zucchinis on the vine for the whole growing season to slow down the production. To harvest your zucchini, use a sharp knife to sever the squash from the rough stem that attaches it to the bush.
    • Enjoy the flowers in salads. These are edible and if you pick them, there won't be so many zucchini fruits growing.
    • Crops will continue to grow until the first frosts if they established well during spring.
    • You can simply cut the stem of a zucchini to promote growth, if you don’t want to harvest all of your squash yet.

  8. Bell Peppers
    Sowing: Most pepper seeds sprout in about a week at a temperature of 70-80 degrees F., but germination can be spotty depending on variety. Hot peppers can be very finicky. To speed the process, place the seeds between damp sheets of paper towel, put them in zippered plastic bag, and put the bag in a warm place (the top of the refrigerator works fine). As soon as the pepper seeds sprout, carefully plant them in individual containers such as peat pots. When the first true leaves develop, move the plants to a sunny southern window until you can transplant them into the garden. Don't set out your pepper transplants until night temperatures average around 55-60 degrees F.
    Cultivation: Here are two key cultivation tips to keep in mind.

    Watering: Peppers are thirsty plants! They need a moderate supply of water from the moment they sprout until the end of the season. However, peppers won't tolerate a saturated soil that waterlogs their roots. The soil must drain well, yet hold enough moisture to keep the plants in production. To maintain a proper balance, before transplanting, work some organic matter into the soil to enhance moisture retention. Use mulch to prevent excessive evaporation from the soil during the dry summer months.

    Fertilize: This tends to make the pepper plants develop lush foliage at the expense of fruit production. Peppers are light feeders.

    Harvest: Peppers are usually harvested at an immature stage. The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn't fully develop until maturity. Frequent harvesting increases yields, often at the sacrifice of flavor. If you continually pick the peppers before they mature, the plants will continue to produce fruit in their quest to develop viable seed.

  9. Basil
    Sowing: Basil needs warm air and sun to do well, so it's often easiest to start the seeds indoors instead of risking that they'll get damaged by frost.
    • If you live in a hot climate, you can start the seeds outside instead.
    • To figure out when the last frost will be, consult an almanac or talk with other gardeners in your area.

    Transplant: Once two sets of leaves have formed, basil can be planted into the garden or permanent containers. Basil does not tolerate frost so don't plant too early. It's best to put basil somewhere where it will get a good deal of sunshine and have well-drained soil

    Tip: : Basil does best in well-drained soil, and should not be subjected to standing water. Water the mature basil plants once a day, in the morning, so the water has time to soak in and evaporate rather than sitting on the plants overnight.

    Harvest: As the plant matures, pinch off the top two pairs of leaves once a stalk reaches a reasonable height. If you look closely, at the base of every leaf are two tiny little leaves that will grow outwards if the stem growing between them is cut off. Cut close to those tiny leaves, but be sure not to damage them.