Vasumathi Raghunath has won the Mysore Horticultural Society Award 19 times in a row for her kitchen garden at Basavanagudi in Bangalore.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
The Lalbagh nursery and the Indo-American Hybrid Seeds claim that in the last five years their vegetable seed sales have shot up by 40 per cent. The information underlines the fact that people may be increasingly looking at having kitchen gardens at a time when food prices are rising.
The ‘go-green’ attitude may also have a role to play. “I don’t know about going green, but it has been a way of life for us to grow ‘menthya soppu’ and mint, or lime and tomatoes inside our compound,” says Ramu Arasikere, who has at least 15 kinds of vegetables in his kitchen garden in Vishveshpuram throughout the year. “I have never calculated the money I save because we buy organic manure besides making it ourselves with vegetable and fruit peel or dry leaves. But there are times when I wouldn’t buy vegetables for half a month,” says Mr. Arasikere, who lives in a five-member household.
“Forget about saving money, through growing our own vegetables we are sure to eat healthier food,” says Vasumathi Raghunath, who has won the Mysore Horticultural Society Award 19 times in a row for her kitchen garden at Basavanagudi. It’s not just about sowing seeds, she says. You have to pay attention to the plants, ensure that they are pest-free, and learn maintenance techniques,” explains Ms. Raghunath.
“The sand-mud-manure ratio is paramount in potting, and use of neem cakes could promote healthy root growth,” she explains. “Be it regular vegetables such as tomatoes, chilly, beans, carrot, okra, pumpkin and snake gourd, or medicinal ones such as turmeric, oregano, mint, ginger and lime — she grows them all. “It’s not easy, but the effort is worth its while,” she adds. Ravindra Bhat, a resident of Devanahalli, who has vegetables and fruits growing in five houses belonging to the family, says: “If you spend about Rs. 12,000 a year on seeds, re-potting, soil spreads, water, herbal insecticides and manure, and gardening tools, you might be able to grow veggies worth Rs. 30,000. But that is, of course, if you are prepared to invest enough time and effort.”