Summer vine & other things

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Summer vine & other things

Posted on : Wednesday 8th of March 2017

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It is the simplest thing to start your own kitchen garden, says Chitra Krishnaswamy who grows almost every vegetable you can think of on her terrace.

A forward is doing the rounds of whatsapp urging people not to throw away fruit seeds and instead wash and keep them in the car to be tossed out when passing some barren land where, who knows, they may grow into a tree. I should do that. Try as I might I can’t wipe the terrifying image of the slaughtered trees on the Coimbatore Pollachi Road. But a full grown tree is a long term project. In the meanwhile just to get myself through the next few hot months of summer (Coimbatore has already touched 36 degrees Celsius), I decide to green my own surrounding and turn to Chitra Krishnaswamy for help. Chitra grows almost every vegetable I can think of on her terrace and surely some of her gardening genius will rub off on me, I hope.

Anyone can do this

- Use one third coir pith in combination with the soil. This will ensure the moisture is retained longer in the plant. Coir pith is lighter and therefore moving the pots around will be easy

- Even though it is summers it is a myth that you have to water plants every day. Every alternate day is fine. And that too just wet the soil, do not flood the flower pots

- In fact, five to six hours of direct sunlight works wonders for plants

- If you are starting a terrace garden/balcony garden and worry about seepage, don’t. All you have to do us place the pots and planter boxes on tarpaulin or plastic sheets. Or, keep them on stands or trays. There is no fear of seepage nor mess.

- If you enjoy cooking you must grow your own chillies, coriander, curry leaves, tomato and any green (pasala keerai or local spinach is a storehouse of goodness).

- You need no more than four to five pots to start your gardening journey.

- Do yourself a favour and get some coir pith. If you buy a mat of it costing not more than fifty rupees, it should be sufficient for 10 pots.

- Water shortage is a very real problem, so don’t waste fresh water for the plants and make every drop count. Collect all the water from washing your vegetables and dals and rice in a bucket in the kitchen. After the cooking is done, take this waste water and use it for your plants. You are doing a huge favour to the planet. Your plants are getting nutrient rich water for their nourishment.

- Compost your organic waste and you will be surprised at how little garbage leaves your home. You will have fertile soil to use for your garden and you will have reduced the volume of garbage at the community dumpsters.

- Keep your produce fresh and healthy. To discourage pests make a paste of chilli, garlic and ginger (yes the same Punjabi gravy masala) dilute it in water and spray it weekly on your plants. Don’t wait for the pests, pre-empt them with regular spraying of this natural repellent.

Rooted in goodness

Thimmakka has planted and tended to 400-odd banyan trees along a four km stretch between Hulikar and Kudur in Karnataka. She and her husband began planting and taking care of the banyan saplings after relatives and neighbours ostracized her for being unable to bear a child.

Courtesy : The Hindu

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