Tale of a terrace gardener and rice husk


Being active on Facebook has become a time consuming job. I have neglected my blogs, neglected my readings and am only showing off my collections, which are not much anyway. But I learnt a lot of techniques , and being the newbie gardener that I am, I am eager to try it all out and get a (self)pat on my back, with a bounty harvest. When one has garden friends, achieving bountiful harvest by using Panchgavya or Jeevamrithum, or whatever else, one wants to try , organic of course, and prove to oneself ( and to other friends ) that one can activate nature to offer a basketful. I learnt to use cocopeat, and other stuff, and have a terrace garden and called myself organic terrace Gardener. Felt good. All that changed recently.

I stumbled on to a FB group of knowledgeable, qualified and inspiring gardeners, who are harvesting such magnificent capsicums and lettuce, gourds, and cucumbers. I got hooked. Though the language was different, I scanned for days, to see the English versions too, embedded somewhere in conversations. They were growing it all by themselves, without relying on those chemical fertilisers. I saw in awe , the rows of neatly arranged platforms of grow bottles with special growing medium, full of greenery. I learnt that it contained soil, compost and some pig/chicken manure etc., most of which was not in my reach.

Courtesy Google


As I dug deep into their conversations, I was drawn more and more into their style of raising vegetables, which could feed a family of twenty at least. Rows and rows of recycled plastic containers, used in innovative ways, inspired me. I already knew how to cut a Coca-Cola bottle and put growing medium. I had raised some greens and felt very pleased. Here I saw the bottles were pretty big. That set me thinking, to find where in my dear city I am going to get those. I started looking at scrap shops, wherein the guy used to look at me strangely asking for impossible sizes of soft drink / or any other used bottles. ( I have not located any so far).

After scrolling through pages and pages of conversation , I figured that they were using some rice hull. I know what the stuff is. After all, I grew up on my grandfather’s land holdings and seen them stack those stuff in summer. But to get rice hull in Hyderabad area seemed remote. I searched the Ice depots, requesting for information. I re-read the FB conversations. I Googled. All pointed out to the one thing that I must procure, to improve my growing medium and, and the yield.

Courtesy Google

Meanwhile, I noticed that another young garden enthusiast( Mr.X), had already procured some rice hull and was kind enough to share the photograph with the other FB friends. He was also generous to share the location where he procured it, a remote place from where I lived. Luckily another equally enthusiastic, experiment minded, excited gardener too wanted a look at that magic ingredient. That made two of us, trying to travel to the outskirts of our city, to add a special ingredient to our plants,resulting in good yield.:-).

We both were, busy ladies, who are needed at home, our absence will be felt if it was more than two hours.
It took us weeks to plan the visit,contemplating how to get to that unknown area where paddy was being de-husked and hull was strewn about. We also bombarded the person who already bought it.

Finally , the trip was in place,but it was raining heavily, next, it was threatening to rain, and another day, a forecast that it might rain. We waited. We were also worried that the roads may be lonely. It might not be safe for ladies to go that far, in an auto, to an unknown area.

What can stop determined gardeners?

One fine sunny evening, we did make the trip. It was a long drive, luckily on the main roads. We had to ask a few people on the way, and found the place, pretty easy.( after almost an hour’s journey by auto).The auto driver was very nice and helpful , and patient with two ladies and a child, trying to reach this rice mill. When he understood, he was smiling wryly. ( madcaps?).
Added to that we also caused mild sensation ,to the helpers in that place, who were delighted that two well-dressed people came all the way from city, for the hull. We were asked to shovel them in the bags, ourselves, and we did that. (Gardening makes you do strange things). We came back, mighty pleased with ourselves, and a lighter purse due to the racy meter, and exorbitant auto fares. Never mind, we had the satisfaction of getting what we sought.

Courtesy Google

Well, this is not end of the story.There is another procedure to this. One is supposed to carbonate the hulls to add strength to the growing medium. Our enthusiastic Mr.X has already demonstrated how to do that, on the social web sites. Now you know , readers, it is not fair on our part to leave job incomplete with the damp hull. We need to learn to carbonate. That will be another long story…

Courtesy Google

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.
This entry was posted in DIY, garden, terrace garden, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Tale of a terrace gardener and rice husk

  1. Chillbrook says:

    A fascinating story. so glad you managed to get the growing medium you sought. I will look forward to seeing the fruits of you endeavours! Good luck!🙂

  2. Love it! IT’s amazing what lengths we will go🙂 I am always searching our local bins for suitable containers and now even Mr Piglet is hooked as we are a limited budget and need to save money. Just yesterday he came home and proudly presented part of a hmmm I think it is part of a cleaning machine that cleans carpets with water. A great big yellow container which was the tank! I am going to punch holes in this and use as a container for my potatoes. Today I rescued and gave a new home to a disgarded platic tray which I will use for my expanding crop of strawberries.
    I am always looking for new ideas to grow things in containers. Everyday I am learning about soil, compost, bugs and diseases. No matter where we are in the world most gardening challenges remain constant.

    Love reading your blog – so glad I found you!

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks a lot Piglet in Portugal, (sorry do not know your name:-).It is lovely to connect on a common topic across the continents.
      I like the generous tips you offer in your pages, with real problems in growing stuff, and the joy in getting harvests.:-).
      I am also looking for new ideas to have a modest vegetable containers, that give me something to use for food. I am not for spending too much on beautifying the garden.
      I like the way your husband obliging you in your interests. That is a big help.

      BTW, in case you are interested Jojo Rom, of http://www.facebook.com/rom.jojo, has million ideas about container gardens, (Phillipines). it is a joy to read him.

      We are a big group here in Bangalroe India called Organic Terrace gardening. It is an open group.

      • Hi my name is Carole🙂 I thought particula bugs and deseases related to to our own country, but I was wrong. The more I searched the net, the more I realised garders from all over the world suffered the same challenges. It’s great to share.

      • gardenerat60 says:

        Thanks Carole. Yes , I too was under the impression. But most of the bugs are same, though they may not occur in the same calendar months:-).

  3. Hi Pattu Raj mam… it is another very interesting post from you, both me and my wife admire your enthusiasm to try new things in gardening… I myself grow cacti for the simple reason I am a lazy gardener… Once we settle in a house I think I will be more adventurous…

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Welcome here Desi traveler. Glad you and your wife liked my gardening interest. I like your blog very much and look forward to your posts.:-). Yeah I understand, a new house will always inspire a garden. All the best for it to become reality soon.

      BTW, Pattu will do🙂

  4. shovonc says:

    Is it OK for non-gardeners to read this? Just checking.

  5. Vidya Sury says:

    Very interesting. Which area did you go to?🙂 Those tomatoes look so inviting!

  6. Jas says:

    really interesting. Your gardening skills are something to really take a note of.

  7. Awesome my gardening has suffered a setback this year I have had to go out and about a not and weather has been so bad. Tomatoes have fruit but not worth shouting about..

    Now that is a good information but one needs time also to do all that.. here it’s rained almost every other day. And winters are upon us now. Hopefully if all is well next year will be a good year

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Thanks Bikram.
      I understand. Travelling and gardening do not go well.
      And rains and winter are rest period for the garden in the West.:-)

      But , I envy the variety of seeds, flowers, and accessories you can source at your place, however , short the gardening time is. The harvest are so good, any person can do it. India does not have such supplies. So the grass is greener.:-)

  8. Shankari says:

    It is so good to see your determination in finding information and going all out to get what you wanted. I can relate to that feeling, though unrelated to gardening. Gardening is a “One day…” dream for me.

    Have missed you.🙂

  9. uppal says:

    Hi Pattu,
    Just see you went to such lengths to procure rice hull for better growth of the plants. The narrative of this special journey on a sunny day to the rice mill reads like an interesting story.This speaks volumes about your devotion and commitment to further your hobby. Way to go!

  10. Zephyr says:

    What can stop two determined ladies on a mission? The results of the hard work is there to see. Do make some chutney with the green tomatoes, when they are still very green and very hard. They make lovely salad too and as a taan in sambar….yum🙂 By now you’d have guessed that I love green tomatoes, haven’t you?😀

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Of course. When we see vegetables, we can think of many dished to be rustled about. The years of practice.
      And a special liking for the green tomato.

      Thanks Zephyr. Determined, on selective jobs.🙂

  11. namitasunder says:

    hats of to you and the other lady.so one step has been accomplished and the next will also be done.My best wishes for a thriving crop of vegetables.you have inspired me to be more sincere towards my garden.And that time consuming FB obsession…..so true.It truly effects reading and writing.

    • gardenerat60 says:

      Nice to hear from you Namita. Thanks.

      Hope it works, my rice husks. Atleast the soil will be soft and porous for most of the vegetables. It is also light to handle.

  12. Asha Ram says:

    I love your passion about gardening! Your enthusiasm is definitely contagious.🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s