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They Sow, Nurture and Colour the Yard Green

Published: 23rd January 2016 03:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2016 03:22 AM   |  A+A-

Nurturea

BENGALURU: Many Bengalureans are using the space they have to grow vegetables. Vyas Sivanand gets four urban gardeners and organic farmers to share tips with beginners

Use Native Varieties

B N Viswanath is a pioneer in the urban foodscapes through organic urban farming in general and organic terrace gardening in particular. His efforts since 1995 — through workshops and training events — resulted in more than 10,000 organic urban farmers in the city, growing varied vegetables in containers, harvesting 30 to 80per cent of their vegetable requirements.

He founded the non-profit organisation Garden City Farmers in 2011 to promote organic urban farming. The organisation spearheads the urban farming movement, organising seminars and conferences at the national, state and community levels. He is currently trying to bring National Centre of Organic Urban Farming to Bengaluru to take up the cause of organic urban farming.

Tips for Newbies

  • Use local varieties that have evolved in this environment to tolerate water stress, pests and diseases.
  • Prepare containers to allow for proper drainage; water-logging leads to root decay and death.
  • See that the growing medium is loose enough for the roots to brathe easily. 

Medium to Start

Prepare the growing medium with a combination of soil: animal compost: vermicompost: cocopeat at 1:1:1:1

Source Essentials From

  • Biological Research Innovation Centre and Solutions (BRICS), Anjanapur, JP Nagar. Tel: 94486 29528, Email: rajendra@bricsbio.com
  • Srshti Restore, 18th Cross, Malleswaram. Tel: 94489 91559, Email: ks@srshti.com
  • Smart Gardens, 728, Geetanjali Layout, 4th Main, New Thippasandra Post, HAL 3rd Stage. Tel: 89514 30717, Email: namratha@smartgardenservices.com

In January and February

Tomato, chilli, okra, brinjal, French bean, cowpea, cluster beans,  ridge gourd, cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, coriander, palak, lettuce and radish.

Innovation to Begin With

You can reuse plastic bottles for growing vegetables in. Cut the bottles at the top, use vertically with drain holes to grow radish. Cut the bottle horizontally at the top and use to grow spring onion.

Watch the plants regularly for insects and disease. Use protective sprays with neem, chilli-garlic-ginger or hing spray.

Contact vishy_kadur@yahoo.co.in

 

Don't Let Mistakes Worry You

Nurture.jpgKnown by the name 'geekgardener', Manikandan Pattabiraman quit his cushy software job to take up urban farming full time. He writes articles on gardening on his blog geekgardener.in. He has also opened a store that sells gardening and hydroponics products to other enthusiasts.

Tips for Newbies

  • Start small and increase the size of your garden once you are confident.
  • Do not worry about mistakes and plants dying because of them. It is better than not trying at all. There is no such thing as "green thumb".
  • Read tips on http://geekgardener.in/2015/05/20/top-20-gardening-mistakes-new-gardeners-make/

Medium to Start

Always start with good quality soil meant for the garden, not soil excavated from roads or filler soils. Mix equal parts of soil, compost/manure and sand/cocopeat.

Source Essentials From

  • The Nurserymen Co-Operative Society, Double Road Gate Entrance, Lalbagh West. Tel: 080-2656 4005, 2657 6733
  • Nurseries in Siddapura. Try Krishnendra Nursery, 9-159, Lalbagh Siddapur, Jayanagar 1st Block. Tel: 080-2656 7594, 2656 2611. Email: knurseryblr@gmail.com, krishnendra_blr@yahoo.com. Website: www.krishnendranursery.in
  • Garden Guru, Shop 4, Krishnamurthy Complex, Shanbogh Nagappa Layout, 60 Feet Road, Bilekahalli. Tel: 080-4212 1000. Email: info@gardenguru.in. Website: gardenguru.in

In January and February

In the first two months of the year, you can grow salad crops as it is cold, but gradually getting warmer. They are short-term crops and before the summer sets in, they would yield. Watermelon and muskmelon are good options too, and are great to consume in the summer months. You can also grow radish, carrot, spinach, tomato and eggplant.

Innovation to Begin With

Hydroponics and aeroponics are good options to start with. Not only can you save lots of water through these methods, you also get good quality produce. You can always roll up your sleeves and build a vertical garden if you are the DIY type.

Almost all vegetables can be grown on your rooftop. If you're starting out, start with spinach, fenugreek (methi), coriander and tomatoes. They are easier to grow and are consumed almost every day. You can try the exotic varieties, like zucchinis, celery, parsley and strawberries, once you are confident.

Contact: info@geekgardener.in

facebook.com/thegeekgardener

 

Now's When You can Grow Anything

Padma Kesari, a 49-year-old homemakre, lives in JP Nagar. After her two children went abroad for higher studies in 2013, she started her journey with gardening.

She has a piece of 5,600-sq ft residential plot in Sahakar Nagar, where she grows vegetables, fruits and flowers without pesticides or other chemicals. Her main objective is to keep the plot litter-free and address the concern of the food we eat and where it comes from. This is also her effort to retain the city's green cover.

Tips for Newbies

  • Best take away 6 inches of top soil to remove weeds and pollutants.
  • Prepare your pit well.
  • Water just enough.

Medium to Start

Mix cocopeat, horse/cow dung and sand.

Source Essentials From

Varsha Enterprises, B22B, 2nd Floor, B Block, Brigade M M, KR Road, 7th Block, Jayanagar. Tel: 83768 06532, 97400 84247. Website: www.varshaenterprisesblr.com. It is best for homemade compost.

In January and February

All kinds of beans, carrot, radish and greens. Almost all vegetables can be grown during this season.

Contact kesaripadma@gmail.com

 

Start Small, Go for Big

Hariram Pagadala Sreenath started gardening at young but got engaged in the hustle-bustle Bengaluru lifestyle. He got back to gardening five years ago to help his children understand how food takes form over a period of time before it reaches the plate. He manages to straddle his IT career with his gardening hobby.

Tips for Newbies

  • Start small and go for big. No space, no time and no experience to growing safe food are never constraints.
  • Grow greens to start with. It makes it easy to have a continuous supply to your kitchen with minimal planning and limited resources from a small balcony. If you have a terrace, you can have an organic garden to become more than 70 per cent self-sustained.
  • Procure and sow matured local heirloom seeds, sourced from reliable sources.

Medium to Start

Start with a simple medium composition — red soil + vermicompost + cocopeat in a ratio of 1:1:1. You can leave out cocopeat if it is not accessible.

Source Essentials From

  • Nitya Jaivika, 31/2, 6th Main, Between 9th and 11th Cross, Malleswaram. Tel: 98804 35363
  • Nimai Garden, Plot 121/6, Gollahalli, Electronics City. Tel: 88801 08108

In January and February

All greens, beans, radish, carrot, brinjal, tomatoes and okra. But in a weather like Bengaluru's, don’t hesitate to experiment.

Innovation to Begin With

Grow microgreens. They are fast-growing (seven to 10 days) and highly nutritious. Introduce these power packed small greens to your family.

Every grain and leaf we eat today is potentially contaminated with high levels of pesticides and preservatives. Begin your journey and grow your food organically to experience the difference in you and your family. Remember, there are no expert gardeners. You may fail early and fail fast in gardening. But that just sharpens your natural instincts and helps you learn quickly.

Contact  hariramps@gmail.com



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