Jack (fruit) of all varieties and more...

Jack (fruit) of all varieties and more...

There are umpteen number of farmers who grow a particular type of crop or vegetable in large number and make huge profit (or suffer huge loss!).

However, Venkatakrishna Sharma, a teacher cum farmer, unlike other farmers, has grown almost every possible vegetable and a number of fruit bearing trees in his 10-acre plantation. In fact, you name it and perhaps he has it.

Though he can not be compared with ‘professional’ farmers, among the small or average farmers, Sharma stands apart.

Be it Indian spinach, Bangla spinach, different varities of leafy vegetables (soppu), gerkins, cucumber, okra, beans, yard long beans, blond cucumber, pumpkin, ash gourd, banana, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, snake gourd, yam, drum stick, brinjals including creeper brinjal variety, different varities of chillies including a variety from the US, ginger, pepper, vanilla, the list is long...

Similarly, when it comes to fruit bearing trees, jackfruit tops the list as he has 52 varities of jackfruit saplings/trees including the gumless variety. It is followed by nutmeg, mango, cocoa, banana (including raceme-less variety!), papaya, sapota, pomegranate, cherry, butter fruit, egg fruit, bread fruit, guava, rambutan, kokum, fashion fruit, mangosteen, again the list is long...

What is special about these vegetables and fruits is that all these are grown organically! without using any chemicals, pesticides or any other product which is not eco-friendly.
More interestingly, Sharma supplies the vegetables to the local school (Muliya Thimmappaiah Memorial School in the vicinity) for mid-day meals.

As the school is unaided, the school serves food to the students on its own, for which the vegetables (organically grown) are supplied from Sharma’s home round the year.

Herd of cattle

Just to produce compost, Sharma has a herd of cattle - more than 12, and most of them belong to local breed. The manure produced is used for his plantation. He mixes coconut husk powder with arecanut husk and dumps at cattle shed, which acts as a bed for cattle! The manure produced is used as compost for the plantation.

Sharma’s plantation has different types of worms too. Apart from the commonly found earthworms, there are big worms (he calls it ‘Gange Hula’) and the manure produced by them can not be match for any modern day compost, he claims.

Jackfruit 365 days a year

Another speciality of Sharma is grafting. Right from jackfruit to mango and nutmeg to bread fruit tree, a number of plants have been grafted at Sharma’s plantation. The result: A single jackfruit or mango tree will yield five varieties of jackfruits / mangoes.

In addition, Sharma’s target is to get jackfruit round the year. “There are a few varieties which yield crop only in a particular period (season) while a few other varieties yield crop only in off-season. Giving details on the same, he said that ‘Ananya’variety (from Billampadav) bears fruit (ripe) in February while ‘Prashanthi’ (from Alike) is ready to eat between March and June.

It is followed by ‘Madhura’ (from Kuddupadav) and ‘Rudrakshi’ (from Muliya). In June, ‘Eddi Pasand’ (named after a progressive farmer Edward Rebello, a progressive farmer from Tacode) is ready while in July ‘Bada Pasand’ (from Kepu in Vittal) and ‘Raja Rudrakshi’ (from Uppinangady) would be ripe (this variety grows upto 40 kgs).

The ‘Marnami’ variety becomes ripe in September while the ‘Beluvai’ variety would be ready to eat in October. “Though no jack fruits will be available between November and January, the tender jack of Ananya variety is available in the month of November itself. Hence, there is a possibility to get jack round the year,” he says.

Sharma who always thinks of ‘organic’ and ‘green,’ may be a model for those who crave for ‘better pesticides’ to get ‘better yield’.

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