Get, set, grow
Unscheduled work hours and high stress levels are a given for filmmakers. But 45-year-old Prabhu Ramakrishnan, a cinematographer has figured out how to beat the stress.Gardening.
CHENNAI:Unscheduled work hours and high stress levels are a given for filmmakers. But 35-year-old Prabhu Ramakrishnan, a cinematographer has figured out how to beat the stress.Gardening. In his 650 sqft terrace, he has allotted 150 sqft to a garden that he tends to on a daily basis. “I find it rejuvenating. Now, I plan to start aquaponics – a combination of growing plants and rearing fish and other aquatic elements – in the remaining space on the terrace,” he says.
Prabhu sowed his first seed in 2015. Through YouTube videos, he learnt the basics of gardening. To clear his doubts, he followed specific gardening pages on Facebook.“I didn’t attend workshops as I believe that you need to get your hands dirty to know all about terrace farming. All the information you need is available online,” he shares.
Based on the videos, he purchased the required equipment – basic farming tools, plough to mix soil and manure, and a hose to water the plants. He has a variety of planters such as grow bags, cement pots, plastic pots, DIY palette and a raised bed.
Prabhu runs a ‘green’ garden where he primarily grows green vegetables. “Currently I have 15 grow bags for greens alone, and assorted pots for other plants. I grow 15 varieties of green vegetables including amaranthus, palak, cucumber, moringa, and curry leaf. The first seed that I potted was amaranthus,” he recalls.
Prabhu’s concern is on the increasing use of pesticides and chemicals used to grow veggies.“Especially green leafy ones,” he says, adding, “Most green vegetables are grown in an unhygienic way. This affects the health of consumers,” he says. In fact, it was this concern that resulted in Prabhu turning urban farmer. “I wanted to have healthy greens from my own garden. My family now consumes only what’s grown on our terrace. But the disadvantage is that at times when we cannot tend to the plants, pests destroy it. We also have to be careful about water seeping into the terrace because it can damage the plant,” he says.
Like many other gardeners Prabhu also uses panchagavya. “I use panchagavya and a six-liquid organic fertiliser once a week in addition to organic manure. Shade is extremely important for plants as is water. Plants grow well if the roots are wet always, but overwatering is not advisable,” he says.
Prabhu urges everyone to start growing greens in particular. At the same time, he suggests using sterilised scissors to cut the greens. “Leave three inches of the stem because it will regrow in eight days. So from one plant, we can get three yields,” he shares.Patience and positivity are qualities that Prabhu has learnt from gardening.