A field of fusion

Farmer Yogesh’s vegetable field in Taluru village, Mysuru taluk is distinctive.

On the three-and-half acres of land he grows exotic vegetables and culinary herbs along with native vegetables.  

He has designed his field in such a way that one or the other vegetable is harvest-ready every season. His land is under cultivation throughout the year.

Yogesh’s field has zucchini, broccoli, basil, lettuce, leek, carrot, celery, cherry tomato, red radish, red cabbage, coloured capsicum, iceberg lettuce, pok choi (or bok choy), parsley, lemongrass, thyme, turnip, rosemary, Chinese cabbage, table radish and other vegetables, mainly used in exotic dishes. 

He refuses to cultivate just one vegetable on large tracts of land. He cultivates each vegetable across five to 15 guntas(1 gunta = 101.17 square metres) only. He keeps in mind this calculation even while sowing seeds. 

Currently, he has grown cherry tomato, pok choi, parsley in 10 guntas of land each, basil on five gunta land and varieties of green lettuce on 15 gunta land. Along with it, his field is a fusion of native crops like mulberry, black-eyed pea and fodder crops. Besides this, there is paddy.

Yogesh has designed his multi-cropping field meticulously. Along with paying attention to the allotment of land for each vegetable, he calculates the harvest time of each vegetable while sowing seeds.

For example, lettuce is a monthly crop. Cherry tomatoes are ready for harvest once every two months. While basil takes one year, parsley takes just two months. Lemongrass is a perennial crop. In this way, one or the other produce is constantly ready to move to the market and fetch good income.

“Usually, exotic vegetables are not vulnerable to diseases. Lettuce is a disease-resistant crop,” said Yogesh, adding that only pok choi is troubled by the black moth. However, he sprinkles neem oil to bring the disease under control.

Yogesh gets lettuce seed varieties from Bengaluru and then plants the saplings in raised beds. However, some seeds are produced in his field only — like seeds of basil, cherry tomato, and lemongrass roots. 

Not meddling much

Giving importance to green farming, Yogesh nurtures the crops with dung manure to a large extent. Use of chemical fertilisers is minimal. He also uses drip irrigation to water the crops and several helpful methods of farming.

When he first began growing exotic vegetables, he supplied them to a private company. After two to three years, Yogesh demanded a better price for his produce. He placed a condition that the vegetables must be weighed in the field. However, the company did not agree to this and stopped the supply of seeds.

Then, Yogesh sourced the seeds through his contacts and even succeeded in getting a good yield. This forced the old company to come back to him for produce. But Yogesh did not sell the vegetables to them. The company told him the vegetables were not local and none would come forward to buy it from him. They even offered more price and asked him to supply the vegetables to their company only. But when Yogesh rejected the offer, they challenged him. This only motivated himto explore newer markets. Yogesh, who knew only Kannada, went to Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa, Ooty and other places, and contacted companies there. He then networked extensively, sold the produce to them, and even entered into an agreement with another reputed company.

Where veggies go...

Initially, he put up stalls to sell the produce in the Sunday market held at Vijayanagara in Mysuru. Now, he sells exotic vegetables in malls and other big markets, and has contacts with markets in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and other metros. 

For details on exotic vegetables, contact Yogesh on 9980844596.

(Translated by Divyashri Mudakavi) 

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