Bindu CK, a teacher from Ayamanam in Kerala's Kottayam district, starts her day early since she has been farming for the last year.
Farming was more than a hobby for Bindu, unlike many others who dabbled with it as a pastime during the COVID lockdown. "I adore farming," she exclaims, adding that she walks to her terrace first thing in the morning to check on her veggies and fruit plants.
Bindu says, "I observe everything and spend some time on the terrace to see if everything has blossomed or faded."
Her terrace garden is just approximately 800 square feet in size, yet it has over 100 different vegetable species and 60 different fruit trees, the majority of which are exotic.
Veggies and Fruits
When Bindu and her family moved into their new home last year, she was relieved to discover that she could put up a vegetable garden on the terrace. "The roof of our former house was tiled. As a result, when we moved into our new home, I decided to use the terrace to grow vegetables and fruits. "While we have room surrounding the home, I believed that there would be a greater yield on the terrace, and it would also be easier to care for my plants," she explains.
Tomato, brinjal, cauliflower, chillies, spinach, salad cucumber, carrot, beans, beet root, and ladies finger are just a few of the veggies she grows in her garden. "I have 10 various sorts of chilies, including capsicum, violet chilli, ujwala chilli, bajji chilli, and black chilli, as well as five distinct types of bird's eye chilli." Bindu, who also produces exotic veggies like broccoli, zucchini, Chinese cabbage, and kale, adds, "There are eight varieties of brinjal, seven types of spinach, four types of ladies finger, and so on."
She taught herself how to cultivate the veggies and buys seeds and seedlings from various nurseries or online. "Whenever I pass a nursery, I make a point of stopping." As a result, I mostly obtain seeds and veggies from nurseries. "However, I got the seeds for some exotic types like zucchini online," she continues.
Fruit trees of many types may be seen in Bindu's terrace garden. "I have an unusual fruit tree collection that includes lilly pilly, Australian beach cherry, jaboticaba (Brazillian grapetree), jungle jalebi, Israelian fig, longan, and others." She adds, "I also have oranges, strawberries, dragon fruit, watermelon, star fruit, several varieties of guava, custard apple, cherries, and mango."
She claims that fruits such as oranges and strawberries, which grow best in cold regions, are difficult to cultivate in Kerala's environment. "However, I wanted to do something new with them." I decided to try my luck, and it worked out. "I believe hybrid types of oranges can adapt to hotter temperatures, such as the one we have in Kerala," she adds, adding that because the fruit trees are not planted on land, they only grow to an optimum level.
"For insecticides, I mix neem oil, soap, vinegar, or soda powder together and sprinkle it on the plants," she says.
All of the fruits and vegetables are cultivated in various containers and grow bags. "Grow bags don't last very long, so I can't grow anything in them." So I started relocating everything to other sorts of containers, such as plastic paint buckets, thermocol boxes, and so on," Bindu, who waters her plants twice a day, explains.
"Most of the produce from the terrace garden is consumed at home." When there are a lot of veggies or fruits, we distribute them to friends or family members. "I'm delighted I was able to raise chemical-free fruits and vegetables," she says.
Bindu also has a YouTube channel called 'Chilli Jasmine,' where she provides advice on how to keep a terrace garden in good shape. Her YouTube channel, which has over 1 lakh subscribers, is a great resource for anyone who are new to terrace farming.
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