Thrissur: Whenever truckers go on strike or vegetable production declines in Tamil Nadu, kitchens in Kerala feel the heat. A shortage of rainfall or a slight fluctuation in Tamil Nadu’s vegetable market will have their resonance here.
Tired of this, Lakshmi Menon, a housewife of Peramangalam near here, decided to set up her own vegetable garden. Three months ago, she started raising an experimental garden on the terrace of her house.
Now brinjal, tomatoes, green chillies, ladies’ finger and even exotic vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage grow on her 500 sq.ft. rooftop garden. And, it is an organically-grown garden.
“If you have the inclination and a passion, you can turn your terrace into a full-fledged vegetable garden,” says Lakshmi.
Plants can be grown in pots on the terrace. Any container that allows drainage of water can be used to grow plants.
“Being a health-conscious homemaker, I am often worried whether the vegetables available in the market contain chemical residues.”
She uses organic manures such as cow dung and applies only bio-pesticides. Bio-pesticide can be prepared, she notes, by mixing 20 ml neem oil, six gms of soap and 20 gms of garlic in nine litres of water.
“Now, we seldom buy vegetables from the market, except, of course, onion and potatoes. Vegetables needed for my five-member family come from my garden.”
She feels that Kerala may not become self-sufficient in vegetables in the near future, but too much dependency on neighbouring States is bad.
Her six-year-old daughter Devanandha takes an active role in nurturing the garden.
“I think it is important to make the children aware about the challenges of farming. We have to nurture the plants just like our kids with constant attention.”