My experiments with Amrit Mitti


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…

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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10 Responses to My experiments with Amrit Mitti

  1. Uma Ravindra says:

    Hi Friend,
    I came across your experiment on Amrit Mitti . I too am interested in experimenting , but i have a problem , i.e.lots of of big red ants roam around in and out my pots ,if i use sugarcane mass it will multiply , can you suggest some alternatives.
    uma

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Hi, Welcome to you!
      Yes, that is a big problem. I did not face much of it though due to my terrace being so hot, being in Hyderabad.
      soaking that bagasse in Amrit pani,might help, the ants are repulsed by the strong smell usually.
      I put some basin underneath most of the plants ( due to my terrace floor being too delicate).
      So I did not really have much ants problem. The only pain was , one has to keep checking for too much water in the basin.
      Another thing was , my baskets were on iron stands. Probably that helped.
      I was told to sprinkle haldi water on those ants. As if they will care.
      Hope you will get rid of them soon.

    • shobha says:

      Many ways to repel ants , You can sprinkle charcoal powder/turmeric powder/borax powder and also spray kerosene mixed water. ants will disappear from your garden

  2. Jeanne says:

    Great work, Pattu. More power to you!

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Jeanne. Encouragements from you help me to keep going. And amrit mitti is again being piled up, for the next season. I will brag about it later.:-)

  3. Nandini says:

    started making my amrut mitti too… it’s the second week today and i know it’s a long way to go. but i guess it’s worth the wait. i would like to plant trees as they’ve done in Urban Leaves. Congrats to you on your effort i know it can be back-breaking especially lugging all those bricks up to the terrace.

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