HOT TREND:Home gardening is all about balance you bring to the varieties.— FILE PHOTO: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.
Lalbagh nursery and the Indo American Hybrid Seeds say that in the last five years, sales of their vegetable seed have shot up by 40 per cent.
The trend importantly underlines the fact that food prices are rising and people are striving to save money by trying home gardening. In fact, worldwide, home gardening is catching up what with the vertiginous food prices.
“I don’t know about going green, it has been a way of life for us to grow menthya soppu and mint, just as lime and tomatoes have always been round inside our compound,” says Ramu Arasikere.
This Visvesvarapuram resident’s garden has at least 15 kinds of vegetables and greens right through the year.
“I have never calculated the exact amount I save. We buy organic manure, apart from doing the ‘vegetable and fruit peel and dry leaves manure’ at home. But there are times when I wouldn’t have bought vegetables for nearly half of the month. That’s the variety we sustain ourselves with, for the five members at home,” says Mr. Arasikere.
“Forget about savings on the food bill: we are ensured of healthy food and that seems more relevant (what with all that chemical) fertiliser use,” says Vasumathi Raghunath, who has won the Mysore Horticultural Society Award 19 times in a row for her home garden at Basavanagudi. “Apart from the seeds you buy, you invest your attention to the plants, take care to see that they are pest-proof, learn the growing and maintaining techniques from gardening classes and ensure that the greens get their natural vitamins from the sun,” explains Ms. Raghunath.
“The sand-mud-manure ratio is paramount in potting, while use of neem cakes and gamaxine take care of the initial healthy root growth,” she says. Tomatoes, greens, chillies, beans, carrot, okra, pumpkin, snake gourd and turmeric, oregano, mint, ginger and lime are what she says grow in abundance. “It’s not easy, but the effort is worth not just for the 40 per cent that you save, but for your green dialogue with earth,” she concludes poetically.
Sweat and tears
Ravindra Bhat, a resident of Devanahalli, whose extended family assiduously cultivates vegetables and fruits in five backyards, says: “If you spend about Rs. 12,000 a year on seeds, re-potting, soil spreads, water, herbal insecticides and manure, and gardening tools for start-ups, perhaps, what you will get is about Rs. 30,000 worth of vegetables a year. That is, if you are prepared to be ‘obsessive’ about it.”
“Home gardening is about the balance you bring with tubers, creepers, hangings and normal ground-level vegetables and greens,” according to Mr. Ravindra Bhat who has even tried several levels of raised soil beds to grow greens.
One of his inspirations is no less a person than the American First Lady. “Michelle Obama, who has a vegetable garden on the White House grounds, once talked about healthy lettuce grown in such raised levels on TV, and I was impressed with the idea,” he says.