Vegetables from the backyard

For some it’s a passion, for others, it’s about spending less time in the busy
markets. Whatever may be the reason, in these times of unhealthy eating, many Bangaloreans are opting to grow vegetables in the space they have.

There are some who started growing vegetables because their other passions lead them to it. Vani Murthy, a homemaker, has been growing vegetables in her terrace for more than two years. Vani, who’s into composting, realised that the food waste was best utilised when it went back to a natural cause. “I didn’t know that I had a green thumb. I started by growing tomatoes and chillies, and I take a lot of pride in calling myself an urban farmer. I slowly progressed to around 40 edible plants, which include herbs like oregano, basil, mints and vegetables like lettuce, brinjal, beans,” she says.

Vani also uses the little space on her balcony to grow strawberries. “My house has a lot of energetic green space and we conduct workshops and our own parties there,” she says. Vani confesses that like most gardeners, handling pests in the most organic manner was a challenge. “I use compost tea, which helps the plant to grow stronger. To handle pests, I use a concoction of garlic and chillies which is soaked in water, and spray them on the plants,” she details.

Veda Ramakanth from Kumara Park West, whose husband has a bio-gas plant, was inspired by the slurry produced from the bio-gas plant and wanted to utilise it for other purposes. “Although I’ve been gardening only for a few months, I have grown radish, mint and spinach on my terrace. On the ground floor, where I have a little frontyard, I am growing beans,” says Veda. She says that the best part of growing vegetables is that when one needs some coriander or dodpatre to make a chutney, one need not rush to the market.

Other growers feel that the health part is definitely what drove them to this passion. “Not only are the vegetables healthier since it’s upto us what manure and pest control method to adopt, but the vegetables are also tastier,” says Dr Meenakshi Bharath, a gynaecologist.

   “I’ve grown bitter gourd, cauliflowers, cabbage and cucumber on the terrace. All one needs is dedication,” she says. Since Meenakshi decided to do vegetable gardening, she has not bought a papaya from outside. “I’m excited about the onion sprouts in my garden at the moment, as once they’ve grown, it will be an answer to the high prices in the market,” she smiles and says.

In a City which lacks space, Padma Kesari, a resident of JP Nagar, who has a plot in Sahakar Nagar, believes that one should utilise any available space in a fruitful manner. “I have different types of brinjals, methi and other green leafy vegetables along with fruits like mangoes, lemons, jackfruits and banana in that plot,” says Padma, a homemaker. Padma also says that with her kids away from her, this hobby has kept her busy and she’s able to handle stress better.

Founder of ‘Garden City Farmers’, Vishwanath Kadur says that lack of space is a problem in the City. He says, “Since the effects of pesticides and fertilisers have come to light, people started using spaces like terraces or even balconies. Many other cities have taken this up, but Bangalore stands topmost in urban farming.”
He continues, “One can see that there is an increasing interest in people to eat safe and healthy. Earlier, only the elderly people were interested in vegetable gardening but now, even youngsters and professionals are understanding the benefits.”

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