Grow local, listen closely to plants and let Leah tackle the rats

Published: 15th June 2016 05:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2016 05:01 AM   |  A+A-

Grow local

CHENNAI: Vasantha Krishnamurthy, an entrepreneur, is a resident of Sriram Spandhana apartments in Domlur which has won the Lalbagh Green Community Award. Her family is her husband Prakash Krishnamurthy, their daughter Ushua, an adorable golden retriever Princess Leah and a beautiful terrace garden, “an essential part of the family”.

Coming from a family of green thumbs, Vasantha decided to grow a garden in order to “fill up the space on her terrace.  We bought a few plants from Lalbagh, like neem, a few flowering plants, curry leaves, and marigold,” she says. “However the neem did not last long and the curry leaves were immediately gobbled down by Leah.”

The garden, now four-years-old has various kinds of chilies, lemon, lemon grass, basil, tomatoes, a temple tree, tulsi, six varieties of jasmine and even an evergreen conifer (Christmas tree).

Her garden feeds her kitchen. Vasantha uses lemon grass to make infused tea and Thai curry, and basil is garnish.

Vasantha says that her garden is a mixture of plants and flowers that grows naturally in the Bengaluru climate. Therefore, it stands unaffected by the recent heat wave. Even the scorching heat is good for them, provided they are watered correctly.

Gardening comes with its fair share of challenges. “What nobody tells you is that this is a long term commitment and requires many years of practice,” says Krishnamurthy. Someone always has to be at home to take care of the garden. “The lemon tree takes about three years to bear fruit and we reaped the first harvest only last month.”

The garden is constantly attacked by various predators — insects, birds, blanket worms and rats. “Leah is the first to kill these rats and protect the garden,” says Vasantha with a smile.

Another problem is deciding what pots to use, clay concrete or plastic. “Its easy to ask people to use recycled plastic but many times this can be dangerous for the plant” she says. Clay is the most preferred but many times the pot makers sell concrete pots that are painted red, and you never know until the pot breaks.

The plants have mood swings, says Vasantha. “Once I did not water one plant for two days and the leaves began to droop. When I poured half a mug, it smiled.”

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