How I thought of Vegetable Gardening

How I thought of Vegetable Gardening.

Many people in my social circle expect me to be fond of temple visits, relatives gatherings, rickety morning walks, grouping with other ladies and go on pilgrimage, bitch about DILs, gossip about other friends who are absent. But I am a non-conformist kind of person. I read too much I don’t watch any TV serials in any language, I don’t read newspapers, except glance headlines. I don’t argue on politics.

People ask me how I spend my time . I am amazed – I reply . where is the time? At 60, my life is too full. I don’t have enough time to do things I want to do. I have too many books to read. Too may pages to write in blogs. Too many activists are clamoring for my participation.

And now my new passion Garden.!!

Looking back, I always considered myself a eco-friendly person. The Tamizh upbringing, where one does not waste stuff, where one used cow-dung for clearing floors in childhood, where one’s nana had a small farm , but a delightful one. No purchase of vegetable was heard of those days. The holidays were spent in village with carefree roaming around orchids and fields.
All that was lost when we came to Hyderabad and lived in cramped dwellings. But the lifestyle was embedded in the daily routine. The use of shikakai for hair, the haldi besan routine etc.

When our own house materialized we were the first one to find water harvesting in the colony way back in 1985. It has paid back handsomely.. We are the activist when people let water over flow from tanks. I had made some enemies in the neighborhood. Trees are not allowed to be cut in our street without me getting upset and fighting for the tree.

Consciously we built a modest house with much inconvenience. We refused to pave our compound ,we wanted the rain water to soak the surroundings. We wanted our dog to have enough cool surface to roam about.We planted trees in the compound, Coconut, Bougainvillea and what have you. We watch the birds from our bedroom. The mornings are started by bird calls. I don’t have to look at the clock for time. I can hear them outside my window.

The birds that flock the house, the bats that eat the sapota fruits, the cuckoo that sing thought out, the parrots that scream daily, the seven sisters that build nest and screech , the cats that lurk for the eggs, the bul -bul that nest,.. the tailor bird, the kabutars . this is kind of magic.

The auto drivers who bring me from the city, always exclaim. “Kitna achi area hi madam!!!.”

I think we accomplished what we wanted. A quiet place to rest. Our house is restful, meant for about 4 adults. . We have almost all the conveniences and less space. But the garden is lush green. The ground floor is dark in winter , but , we don’t mind . All through the years, the terrace was left alone. Not enough time to visit ,giving husband his usual chance to take a dig that I don’t even step out on the terrace.

I had the excuse of aches and pains when I had to carry soil filled pots, so the balcony had a few Rose plants which grew and grew. After retirement, the idea of growing vegetable for self consumption grew more. The compound was full of fancy leaves and indoor plants. But no vegetables or flowers due to lack of sunlight.

I was also uncomfortable with commercial fertilizers and pesticides. I would look at cauliflower and cabbage and wonder how poisonous it might be! I would follow what Nammazhvaar says about the agricultural practices and wish I was in Coimbatore or Pollachi!. I would collect his writings and ponder over them. Feel helpless that I am not doing my share for the eco-system.

But Geek gardener’s blog changed all that.

How I stumbled there I don’t remember but I read through blog pages. I envied him, staying in Bangalore. One can imagine the lush plants in Lalbaug, the seed companies, the availability of bio fertilizers etc

It nagged me for a few days, and it dawned,” why not” , I thought. Some initial spending and it can be possible. Started as a time pass, my passion for non pesticide veggies garden grew.

I went ahead and bought pots, Coco peat, another wonder item, and compost. Bags of it.

Learnt how to start a seed. Then burnt mid-night oil and read through the blogs over the Web. Now my bookmarks are almost bursting.

The problems that cropped up in every step was challenging. I would sleep late worried about what next? And how to combat plant rot, evaporation, seedlings getting wet in the rain etc etc. All my book reading took back seat. I was a late riser with apprehensions about the day,. Now it is the wish to get up and wait for the dawn to break , to get on to the second floor terrace.!

Another encouraging blog was Raj’s Musings. I learnt so many things from here too. Those pictures gave me courage to grow plants in Hyderabad heat.

I would get up early morning and stare at all the seedlings. The terrace looked like a combat zone.

Meanwhile I had to make trips to other cities for days on end.,( actually 15 days). I prayed to God that my domestic help should be careful while watering the seedlings. I used to call my daughter and ask how are the plants and she would assure they are flourishing. I would send a silent prayer.

The transplanting was more daunting. More pots to buy more materials to add. Then came the fertilising job. Where to find organic ones in Hyderabad?. Wish one lived in Bangalore or Dehradun?

Stumbled on Indian Maali and then the friendship with Jeanne. It was a big boost. So here I am . With leaf-miners problems. With scouting for bio-fertilsiers. Bio-pesticides. Thinking of companion plants. experimenting. Composting, Panchagavya At the same time, full of energy , and plans for the garden all the time.

Fun at 60 you say?

About gardenerat60

As you guessed, I am a retired executive, looking for hobbies. Stumbled into gardening after reading blogs. Always wanted to use eco-friendly items in daily life. So, there was no heistation in deciding to put the vast terrace balcony to use for organic garden.
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18 Responses to How I thought of Vegetable Gardening

  1. Jeanne says:

    Welcome to the world of blogging and for an entertaining first post! Look forward to many more

  2. Jeanne says:

    The should have been “thanks for an entertaining post”

  3. Aarthi says:

    I am really amazed at the enthusiasm you have esp at this age!! Hats off !
    I have also been following Geek gardener’s and Raj’s blogs and I can imagine how much urge you will have to create your own kitchen garden 🙂 All the very best and wish you have loads of harvest.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      @ Jeanne . Thanks a lot. :-))
      @Aarthi :
      Hi, Nice to hear from you. Thanks.
      Yes the garden is doing very well and so is the war with the pests. Willw rite a new post on that.

  4. GG says:

    Welcome to the blogging world and ofcourse terrace gardening!.
    Your writing is amazing and very interesting to read. You sure are different from the other 60s I have seen :-).
    Will subscribe to this blog.

  5. Madhavi says:

    Hello gardener@60
    what a wonderful post on how you started to grow plants. Hi I am madhavi and live in HYD – near hitex city. Been waiting for someone in the city who is this enthu about plants and growing them. Do sen me your e-mail ID so we can chat up about plants. I am into organic gardening, natueco way of preparing soil and concocting different kinds of spray for garden pests – so we can exchange some of these recipes.
    happy gardening

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Hi Madhavi,
      Welcome!! There is a kind of good feeling , when a garden lover from Hyderabad writes on my blog!. All along , I was sad that I am not in contact with people like you here. ( what with Bangalore leading the scene 🙂

      I look forward to correspond, talk with you.


    • C. SUBRAHMANYAM says:

      I have gone through your blog and it is interesting. I invite you to associate with my group: Grow Greens, Inc., Hyderabad – engaged in the promotion of growing vegetables, fruits and flowers without soil [simplified hydroponics], using cocopeat, etc. Please let me know your mail ID and contact number to interact with you further in this behalf.

      C. SUBRAHMANYAM09848042237

  6. Chamomilla says:

    Hello, greetings from the Czech Republic… I love the intoduction to this post… And it’s wonderful to read how you “make do” with what you have and how you connected through the other blogs. Best wishes for your gardening efforts!

  7. pratima says:

    Hi, I’m so touched by your enthusiasm to protect the environment and greenary in your sorroundings. Your sweet home with birds and critters seems to be a paradise.
    I’m from Hyderabad but now living in U.S. with my husband. But it is our dream to carve a small place for us where we could have a small patch to garden and encourage birds etc., when we settle down in Hyderabad. It is a treat to come across your blog!
    Happy gardening :o)

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks a lot. Sorry about the delay in replying.
      Yes, I like your dream and pray God that it will be fulfilled. Our dear Hyderabad needs more people to join in greening the city.

  8. arati says:

    hello! i’ve always wanted to have a kitchen garden and reading through your blog has given me the push! thank you! i’ve bought a couple of pots today and am eager to get started. have to now source the mud and start my own compost bin as well. yay!

  9. arundati says:

    Dear Gardenerat60. I came here through geekgardener’s blog and i am so glad to be able to comment on a fellow hyderabadi gardening enthusiast’s blog. I’ve just started a kitchen terrace garden 4 weeks ago and have been reading gg’s blog almost everyday like a bible. the challenges again are the weather in hyd, where to source materials etc. currently have two square foot containers and pots with chillies, lettuce and herbs. seedlings are still in the trays and i need to transplant them. I would love to join the kitchen gardeners group and connect with like minded people. am so encouraged by your success in kitchen gardening.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Hi Arundati,
      Thanks for visiting.
      You can easily be part of Intipanta group in Google (gmail). Apply for joining the group.

      Happy Gardening.

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