CHENNAI : Rajani Rajprakash, a 50-year-old resident of Mahalakshmi Layout, loves gardening and growing her own vegetables to meet her daily kitchen requirements.She started growing vegetables three years ago, mainly green leaves, in her terrace garden, which is about 300 sq ft in size. Greens, which are known to be grown in unsanitary/polluted waters, are dangerous to consume. This is when she decided to grow most of her greens at home. Rajani starts her day early, around 6 am, by watering her plants. She feels watering plants early in the morning is preferable as they will absorb all the water by evening.
“I spend about an hour in my garden every day. I believe that growing safe food is an important skill, and it also keeps me closer to nature,” she says. For her kitchen, Rajani grows spinach, coriander, fenugreek, curry leaves, tomatoes, brinjal and a few different types of gourds. You can also find flowers such as hibiscus, jasmine, rose in her garden.
Rajani says using pesticides is toxic to the growth of plants, and she recommends neem oil and garlic peel, which help plants fight against pests. “You should understand that food has to be grown in living soil, and soil needs organic matter, that comes from the composition of kitchen waste such as peels and other leftovers”Initially, she had to spend `5,000 to `6,000 to set up her garden. Once every two years, it costs up to `4,000 to clean and de-weed the garden. “Apart from this, I only spend on pots. Seeds are available at cheap rates,” says Rajani.
“Growing greens is fun and you’ll see results soon. They do not require a lot of effort to grow, and you’ll be consuming fresher, healthier produce,’’ she says, adding that she shares what she grows with her family and friends. “It’s a great feeling to watch my efforts pay off. This way, I can guarantee the freshness and quality of what I’m eating, rather than relying on vendors,” she signs off.