Q. I regularly grow seasonal vegetables in my kitchen garden. During last winter season spinach did not grow to full size and cauliflowers also remained very small. Would organic stuff improve growth?
A. Applied in quantity, yes, it should. It sounds as if you have had good return — until now — from your kitchen garden but it is essential to keep in mind that you only get out what you put in. Good crops deplete soil nutrients and minerals and these, as you know, must be replaced on a regular basis if crops are to continue to grow well. Organic ‘stuff’ you could add, includes the following: old, well rotted, manure, compost, leaf mould (rotted leaves) and chopped straw (bhoosa) or, as an alternative to compost, you could apply any or a mix of, the aforementioned, as a mulch around and in between your plants.
It is ideal if, when digging your kitchen garden, you include irrigation channels at regular intervals and, if you like, you can fill these with compostable materials like vegetable peels, fruit waste, chopped up weeds before they reach the seed stage, cut grass, fallen leaves, egg-shells, coffee grounds, the contents of used tea bags (not the bags themselves as they take forever to rot). Necessary watering combined with seasonal rain and general weather effects, will, assisted by beneficial insects like worms, breakdown these ‘ingredients’, feeding the soil / plants in the process. Additionally, next time you dig the area, you can mix the residue in and start the process all over again. Feeding soil is an endless task.