Kilter 2017

On health, nutrition and fitness

Hack the food system, grow your own organic salads

Submitted by Karan Manral (@kmanral) on Feb 23, 2017

Section: Full Talk Technical level: Beginner Status: Submitted


Most health systems or diets will suggest that you incorporate salads into your meals. But what happens when most of the salad ingredients you buy are of dubious quality?

The best way, do it yourself.

Fortunately, Bangalore enjoys the right kind of weather for growing salads through the year.

With a little bit of effort, even rookies can grow nutritious and delicious ingredients for everything from simple salads to smoothies.

In this primer, we’ll show you what you can grow, how to grow it and what you need to know to whip up a great salad or smoothie.


The problem with what you just bought for a salad (5 mins)
What’s easy and nutritious to grow, in what season (5 mins)
How you can grow leafy vegetables, cherry tomatoes, peppers and more in containers (5 mins)
Five minute mix for great organic soil (10 min demo)
The basics of growing and keeping your plants happy (10 mins)
Simple salad combos, from the easiest things to grow (5 mins)


A table, two empty pots, some soil, compost and coco peat to mix. A few seeds and seedlings. Salad bowl, spinner, plate to serve, some salad ingredients. A projector for the slide show

Speaker bio

Serial grower of several things: borderline compulsive about organic kitchen gardening, organic farming, local food systems and more recently urban forests. Past flirtations include technology. Long ago editor of CHIP and Digit magazine.



  • Kristen McQuillin (@tink) 3 years ago

    I like the idea of giving urban dwellers practical ideas on growing food. It is a soul-enriching activity in a place where we don’t get so much connection with the earth.

    Impressed with your project in Goa. What a transformation of that land.

    For Kilter, the audience could be several hundred people; how will that impact your demonstrations? Salad for 500 is a lot of lettuce. Do you think a Birds of a Feather session might be useful for sharing questions, tips, and answers?

    • Karan Manral (@kmanral) Proposer 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago)

      Kristen, the demo itself is pretty simple, since we show a sort of “instant coffee” style soil making method which works well with pots, planters and other growing containers. All we need is a spot on the stage to mix the soil (plastic sheet underneath) and about 5-7 minutes to do it.

      The plan for the session is to do a bit of a showreel of folks dowing it, and some how to tips along with the very short demo. We find that most newbies relate better to this approach and the idea of salad in 5 pots, because its simple to replicate at home even with limited skills. If you still think this is better done in another session type, I’ll probably ask for a switch.

      BTW we started our adventures in growing with 6 pretty average looking pots.

  • Sandhya Ramesh (@sandhyaramesh) 3 years ago

    Hi Karan, could you add some text to the slides as well so that we can see how your content flows? I’m wondering how we can fill 40 minutes with this: do you think the talk can be condensed down to 20 minutes or so?

    • Sandhya Ramesh (@sandhyaramesh) 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago)

      Alternatively, would it help to make this a workshop that happens parallelly where we provide participants with a pot and soil with a sapling that they can take home? Or a Birds of a Feather session, where people sit around and discuss (not on stage)?

  • Suman Bolar (@wickedwitch) 3 years ago (edited 3 years ago)

    Karan I like Sandhya’s idea. Your slides don’t indicate that this is doable by anyone - including an urban dweller with limited space. I think a hands-on interactive session would be great. People could ask questions about what to grow when, light and sun requirements, harvesting, pest control etc. I think many people find the idea of growing things quite intimidating… it would be nice to give them the message that hey, this is easy, you can do this too! Actually it would be great if you could submit slides that pertain to the speicifc talk outline you have proposed here.

  • Karan Manral (@kmanral) Proposer 3 years ago

    OK, let’s go with that. I can get the materials together for people to try
    their hand at it. Perhaps we can set a max size of audience and plan

    I’m sorry I’ve been slow to respond. My aunt passed away in Agra on
    Thursday so have been on the road.

    Will get back to Goa tomorrow night and pick up on things I need to send

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