Urban Leaves India: A tiny balcony at Phoenix Towers

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A tiny balcony at Phoenix Towers

Hi all,

Preeti has been prodding me for this note for along while so here goes my update about my gardening adventure, this from a person who has never grown a plant successfully before this.....

I have three initiatives going on
1. home composting
2. a few pots with some veggies and herbs
3. very lame efforts at making amrit mitti in a basket




Our 3 proud home composting pots sit on the bedroom balcony with Ramesh complaining that many a  day they get more attention that he does :) and that he has to see them first thing every morning instead of some pretty sight , however when the compost becomes soil , I feel they look pretty so do the pigeons who seems to spend as much time digging around the pots as I do ...
Now I have  a new addition , a tall stately brown one , which I bought from Anil last week, which is filling up quickly with some help from our high veggie /fruit diet ....this one sits pretty in our sons balcony without his even realizing that it is compost :)  or currently just waste ...

I just have three large drinking water pots with holes at the bottom and lids ....I do the composting based on  advise by Monisha and now some instincts , the composting began in July end and i have been regularly harvesting soil. i fact all my veggie pots have red soil combined with my own compost ..and some Amrit Mitti from Preeti..

I tried two baskets of Amrit mitti and it shrunk to one basket and it has not been a  success with the mitti drying up and the leaves not composting as well as they do on the terrace and other containers ...and I have also been lax about sprinkling with amrit jal.....plan to try again , next time in Anil's amrit mitti container.....looking forward to that...

I began the pot garden sometime in July/August and have planted a tulsi ( flourishing) , a peppermint plant ( has been temperamental and moody and is now reduced to a stem with 6 leaves and undecided ) , a lemon grass plant  ( flourishing and has now 2-3 new plants which have come up alongside and we have stopped buying lemon grass now ! hurray ).

However I realized that pigeons and vegetable plants don't go together since they began actively digging into my pots and uprooting some of the plants and sitting on the others and smothering them! I lost some methi harvest, a full grown Chowli plant to the birds and decided enough was enough and took up Preeti's offer of a net for the balcony and since that came up I have had more success.....

The permanent plants have for companions my seasonals , starting with methi and mustard which I plant in small containers and regularly harvest  a handful each.. Every harvest reminds me how much a farmer has to work to give me a bunch of Methi and how little he gets from that meagre 6-8 rupees I pay .....

I have 5 chowli plants and between them now they give me a few Chowlis ( long green beans ) every week , not enough  to make a stand alone sabji but I proudly add them steamed to my salad or to my sabji ...I have a pumpkin plant which has started flowering, have had only male flowers til now and a couple of cucumber plants , all these grew out of my compost seeds so dont know the seed quality ...there is  tomato plant again from the compost, and now new tomato seedlings  coming up from seeds from sahaja samruddha ......

Preeti gave me a lettuce sapling 2 weeks back and finally 2 days back I had three things to harvest !!! a handful of mustard, a lettuce head and about 10 Chowlis.....I know it is so little , but so is the balcony ....

However the biggest learning is that everyone of us should try grow something for our food , it will tell us how much effort it takes to grow food and how grateful we should be to people who ensure that our tables are loaded with plenty every meal......anyway sharing my bounty in pictures with you all.......and am looking forward to more harvest in the coming weeks....

The harvest, the sabji into which the mustard went in and the salad with the steamed chowli  and the lettuce leaves garnishing and my tiiiny garden ! ENJOY!!!







Warm Regards

Devi