Man with the green thumb

The coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi have some rare plants – be it the fruit-bearing ones or the ones with rare flowers. You can see most of them (if not all) in one place ­­­-- the farm of Edward Rebello, a progressive farmer, who has a very large collection of fruit-bearing plants, as well as rare flowers in his two acres land in Taccode village

located between Moodabidri and Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district, about
40 km from Mangaluru.

Edward has converted a barren plot
of land into a multi-fruit, flower and
vegetable-bearing plot. Apart from the

ordinary fruits – sapota, pineapple, pear, seedless mango, varieties of jackfruits, lime, seedless lime, Singapore lime,

oranges, sweet lime, apple – he also has rambutan, durian, mangosteen, milky fruit (from Cambodia), dragon fruit, langsat, passion fruit, miracle fruit (very bitter), jabuticaba, Mexican pineapple, cocoa, garcinia cowa, eggfruit, pomelo, sweet tamarind and soursop (also known as

‘Lakshmana Phala’; said to have cancer-curing properties).
Rare flowers include heliconia, ginger lily, banana creeper, torch lily and many more, while rare vegetables – sweet chilli (from Thailand), metre-long cowpeas
(locally called metre alasande) and

common local vegetables like ridge gourd, gherkins, cucumber, bottle gourd, yam, breadfruit, pumpkin, ash gourd, sword beans, amaranthus (locally called arive soppu), tapioca, ladies finger, ‘bitterless’ bitter gourd, winged bean, brinjal, red and green spinach.

With his unique grafting technique, he has grafted pepper vine to a wild medicinal plant called ‘Mara Hippalli’ which is said to be resistant to diseases that usually
affect pepper. He has also grafted lemon plant and as a result, you get different
varieties of lemon from one plant!

Edward’s main sources of information are newspapers and radio. Whenever
he sees an article or listens to radio

programmes on innovative and progressive farming, he tries to contact the
person and gathers more information.

Resultantly, he has converted his barren land to a lush green garden with fruit-bearing plants, and is a recipient of

‘District Rajyotsava Award’ and ‘Best
Horticulturist Award’ (instituted by Dr M H Marigowda’s birth anniversary). He also attends every agriculture fair in the district and neighbouring districts to upgrade his skill and knowledge.

Edward’s wife, Florine, and sons, Elson and Rolson, support him in his every
endeavour - be it milking the cows,

watering the plants, plucking fruits and vegetables, and cutting the grass. He grows enough vegetables to earn his living and also distribute among his farmer friends.  He firmly believes that the crops will survive only when farmers reduce

dependence on chemical fertilisers. He leaves a portion of vegetables and fruits to monkeys and birds, who frequent his
garden and has no regrets about it.

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