Beypore may be a far cry from the traditional grape-producing regions in the country, but grapes can still be grown here, if one puts one’s mind to it.
Sabitha Vinod, a homemaker from Beypore, is savouring the sweetness of the first harvest from the miniature vineyard in her courtyard.
Ms. Vinod, her husband, and son had picked up some vines during a flower show in the city and planted it in their courtyard as an experiment.
“We never did much work to nurture the plants other than just watering them and providing sufficient manure,” says Ms. Vinod, who is elated at the unexpected results. “Now, our neighbours are thinking of having a go at setting up similar vine gardens,” she says.
The family spent only Rs.25 to buy the vines. As the saplings began to flourish, they set up a small pandal to support the tendrils. With sunlight and air in good supply, the saplings soon covered a large part of their courtyard.
Ms. Vinod and her husband, Vinod Kumar, say the climate in Kerala is definitely suited to grape farming. Only the monsoon is an unsuitable time for growing the fruits. The main requirement is ensuring good sunlight for the vines to grow.
Ms. Vinod advocates bio-fertilizers for the vines. Even kitchen waste can be used to manure the vines.
“Regular watering in the morning and evening must be done to ensure steady growth,” she says.
Enjoying the spirit of a good harvest, Ms. Vinod says she wants to extend the cultivation to their 70 cents of farmland. “Now, we are totally confident of taking up the cultivation at the commercial level.”
The family though has no plans of selling the fruit of their first experiment in the market. “Though there are grapes aplenty in the first yield, we do not want to sell them in the market as our neighbours are eagerly waiting to taste them,” Ms. Vinod says.