Stepping out for procuring contemporary greens and fruits is a leap of religion today. COVID-19 is invisible to the bare eye and also you by no means know when and the place it is going to strike. But we want greens. So, grow your own, says Usha Gajapathi Raju, a passionate kitchen gardener. It helps one spend time productively, it’s a protected occupation that doesn’t expose you to the virus open air, and most imortantly, you get wholesome, contemporary and nutritious greens proper there at residence.

It is the fifth week of the lockdown, however Usha shouldn’t be unduly perturbed about provides. The motive: she grows nearly each factor her household consumes. Her house is a traditional instance of how one may be self-sustainable in occasions of disaster. Her kitchen is stocked with produce from her terrace backyard which she has nurtured for over a decade now. She grows 25 styles of greens and three sorts of fruits (ardour fruit, custard apple and sapota).

“I have only stocked up on onions from the market, everything else I need is right here,” she says. She also has a Whatsapp group called ‘Vizag Gardeners’ where gardening enthusiasts from the city exchange notes. Over the past couple of years, Usha has been regularly conducting workshops on kitchen gardening and composting for various resident welfare associations .

Usha Gajapathi Raju speaking concerning the crops on her terrace backyard  
| Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

She says that is the very best time to grow a inexperienced thumb! “Gardening is also a perfect therapy in times of isolation,” she adds. Grow microgreens, suggests Usha. They are relatively easy to cultivate on the desktop or kitchen counters as they are harvested from seeds like mustard, coriander and fenugreek. “However, getting contemporary seeds is preferable for a greater harvest,” she says. It takes less than a week for the seeds to sprout and are usually good to harvest within 10-15 days. One more word of advice — ensure that the plants get at least three to four hours of sunlight each day.

So that the cycle is complete and nothing goes out of your door as waste, Usha shares simple steps for home composting. She has a home composting video on her YouTube channel Ushodayam. ” Daily rubbish assortment is affected due to the lockdown. This is an efficient alternative to convert kitchen waste into cardio compost,” she says. Usha is also part of a Facebook group called ‘Rythu Mitra’ that promotes self-sustainable gardening.

Shashi Karnani also has a thriving terrace garden where brinjal, bottle gourd, leafy vegetables, and capsicum flourish under her tender loving care.“Visakhapatnam for most of the year is hot and humid, so leafy vegetables like spinach and fenugreek, and bottle and ridged gourd grow very well. Okra and snake beans are also a good choice,” she says. Currently, her garden is yielding bountiful crops of tomatoes, brinjal, drumsticks and spinach. Not only does this spare her trips to the supermarket but it also makes her a popular neighbour as she is happy to share her harvest. “I have been having a yield of at least one kilograms over a day,” she says with pride.

Home composting tips:

  • Line an earthen ot with holes with a primary layer of damaged twigs or dry leaves. You can even use a bucket with holes drilled in its backside. This is to drain extra water.
  • Mix vegetable and fruit waste (chopped into smaller items to hasten the composting) with dry leaves and a couple of tbsps of bitter buttermilk and layer. The dried leaves help in aeration and take up extra moisture.
  • Over the fruit and vegetable waste, add one other layer of both cocopeat or dry leaves and shut the lid. 1:three is the perfect ratio of veg to dry leaves/ cocopeat/ soil.
  • Repeat these steps until the pot is full.
  • Once in three days combine the contents vigorously for higher aeration. The combination ought to be moist however not soggy.
  • If the contents are dry sprinkle a bit of water and in the event that they flip moist and stinking, add crushed dry leaves.
  • When the pot is full, depart it for a month and in the mean time begin the composting in a second pot.
  • The closing product ought to be darkish brown in color and scent earthy.

Like Usha, Shashi additionally urges folks to take to kitchen gardening within the time of lockdown. “Since you cannot step out and buy seeds, why not use the fruits and vegetables that are already around? Fenugreek can be grown from its seeds that are usually available in most Indian kitchens. So is the case for curry leaves and coriander.”

Green and leafy is the mantra thriving gardeners swear by. “Leafy vegetables grow fast and occupy less space and they can usually be harvested in three weeks. You can also squash tomatoes and bury them; they are ready for harvest within a month’s time,” explains Kamala Vathi Nadimpalli who began her YouTube channel ‘Brindavanam’ in January this yr Since the lockdown, Kamala has been busy engaged on movies to present folks how to begin gardens at residence. “Recently I uploaded a video on how to grow and care for plants during summer.”

Summer fruit and veggies like watermelon, lime and lemons additionally grow nicely throughout this climate, says Kamala . “Watermelons grow better in warmer weather, so now is the right time to sow them,” however she warns, “It is a space hog and will require big containers. If you have a big terrace or a spacious balcony watermelons are a good idea.” And in the event you should not have a lot house, your windowsill is greater than sufficient for you to benefit from the thrill of harvesting your own produce.”

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