This post is inspired from ‘Natueco’ web pages, and ‘Urban leaves’.
Another catalyst was “From Urban Culture to agriculture.”
In 2009, when I found enough courage to start the terrace garden, I was on Google most of the time,with my PC full of garden topics. I found an entire new avenue opening in front of me, and it gave me encouragement to start the Terrace garden.
Ofcourse, the path was riddled with many obstacles, the first being my dear better-half. He was all the time having doubts about our terrace holding the numerous pots I was procuring left right and centre and my trips to markets were eyed with a pinch of salt. I had to sometimes smuggle in pots or big baskets to avoid having domestic discords:-). I was also teased as having garden mania, since food variety on the table was sacrificed , resulting in routine fare.
True to the doubts, the terrace did give a lot of trouble,and eventually, my plants were sacrificed when we overhauled the terrace. I had already written about it in my earlier blog. Last December was nightmare for us , with the weather and cement and debris all around.
However, there was a silver lining to that situation. I did not have may plants to tend during that time, and I had this great urge to go green with Amrit Mitti. Luckily I had a domestic help , who had access to cow dung and cow Urine. I also had a large collection of dry leaves, and some decent mud to start from. On a fine day I assembled all and made a good pile in one of the old cement tanks on the terrace.
Whenever , there was slight rain, I had to rush and cover the tank. The sugar cane guys around the market area were familiar with me approaching them with big bag for collecting the bagasse,and the auto guys had a whale of time wondering what I was upto. The ants in the terrace were colonizing the pile fast. The stench was going beyond the endurance level of people at home. My husband was kind enough to turn a blind eye to my experiments.
I would not give up. I referred to all those web-pages often , checked whether I was doing the right things at the right time. The photographs published in those pages were my source of energy those days. I slowly realized that I can’t be perfect to the letter and spirit of the guidelines , and slowly kept up only with the spirit of the blog pages. However, I scouted for all those seeds(shop keepers at Basheerbagh having a good laugh at me when I asked for Agathi, Sesbania grandiflora, Vitex etc, did not get them) and planted them on the pile as required. Eventually they all sprouted, I was please like a punch, but I had to cut it back to the pile too. The pile was doing fine and I warded off all the criticism from people at home, with a slight nod.
I was going steady and enjoying it. As luck would have it, the pile was ready by April/May and I was bursting to use it for my seeds . When I brought those little waste paper baskets, I had my own reservations, wondering whatever they will hold the medium for the plants. But it did hold and I went ahead and plated nice little saplings of tomato an, brinjals and cauliflower, procured from our Govt.dept’s Public garden.
As you can see, the tomatoes are almost bending the plant down. I have about dozen pots of tomatoes laden with fruits. I have not given any pesticide, nor any spray for these plants so far. The fruits are a joy to watch, and I am waiting to harvest them once they turn red. There are numerous plants coming out from the sides of the baskets. I keep trimming them into the pots.
To make the story short, I think I made a decent Amrit mitti concoction. Sometimes, it is tedious, which makes me wonder, ‘why all these headaches, let me go stick to coco-peat, and other accessories.’ . But those “Urban leaves’ and other web-site haunts me, eggs me on.
Though I had made a good pile, the Amrit mitti was not sufficient to cover all my pots. I am still toying with the idea of making some more this year, a little scared of the amount of hard work involved,. When I think of almost no-maintenance, I am tempted.
Topic abhi Bhaaki hai…