With a passion for fruits

By TheHindu on 04 Apr 2017 | read
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R. Raveendran has visitors from all over the State, who travel all the way to Ulloor here, just to climb atop the terrace of his house.

What welcomes them are succulent passion fruit, some green and mostly purple, hanging from their tender tendrils. Walk another 800 sq ft, and one finds as many as 400 bags with all sorts of vegetables growing in them.

The passion fruit crop, spread over 400 sq ft, is no ordinary one, says this passionate farmer who took to the activity after retiring as an electrician.

He plucks one to show the light purple colour of its rind. The rich aroma and the comparatively lesser acidic flavour clearly distinguish it from the common golden variety.

Health benefits

“Purple passion fruit is much sweeter than the golden one. I understand that this variety is effective in controlling cough and asthma, apart from reducing blood pressure. Officials from the Agriculture Department have confirmed the species,” he says.

There is more to come, says Mr. Raveendran, and leads the way to the backyard of his adjacent bakery.

Standing at 11 ft 3 inches, one would surely do a double take at the spinach there, a plant that usually grows hardly three-four ft.

“That is the highest growth rate this year, but hopefully it can grow to a record height,” says Mr. Raveendran, for whom setting records is nothing new.

In the record books

A 275-kg African yam cultivated in his backyard had gained a spot in the Limca Book of Records as the heaviest of its kind in 2010.

For this year’s Onasadya at home, every vegetable on the banana leaf came from his garden. His crops are high-yielding varieties, thanks to the home-made bio-fertilisers and natural pesticides.

“It has not only helped make cultivation profitable but also solved the waste management problem at home.

“There is enough produce from my garden for the family of four. The entire garden is set up in such a way that the whole weight is concentrated on the beams and pillars rather than on the terrace floor.

“Almost all the food waste, except plastic, turns to manure here,” adds the farmer, who is also actively involved in cultivating vegetable saplings for public distribution.

“Agriculture has only rewarded me and I will continue to inspire as many people as possible to take up home farming,” Mr. Raveendran says.

Meedhu Miriyam Joseph