Urban Leaves India: My gardening efforts at Chembur

Sunday 14 March 2010

My gardening efforts at Chembur

My gardening efforts took off in 2000 when I shifted to ground floor flat with a small empty patch by the side of my flat. Wanting to be a true gardener first i bought all the tools and started digging the land. Planted few flowering plants like Anant, Jaswandi, Sonchafa Sadafuli so also Kadipatta and Tulsi. As the days passed I realised that growing plants gave me a feeling of growing children and i started observing them, taking care of them and loving them.
Last year when I tried to grow Bottle gourd, Okra and Palak, for my project, my first attempt to grow vegetables, I realised that I dont know the right way of growing them organically except adding dried cow dung to the red soil. The need to know about organic farming made me surf the net and I came to know about Preeti's terrace garden. The flowers, fruiting trees and variety of vegetables grown in just 3000 sq ft motivated me to know about her techniques which is Natueco Farming.
After attending 7th June 09 workshop I was eager to make Amrut Mitti myself. For me procuring cow dung, cow urine and biomass was a challenge initially but when there is a will there is a way. I tied up with a lady outside a temple to provide cow dung and cow urine and started picking biomass from the nearest municipal public garden. I also procured two plastic drums one to prepare Amrut jal and second to store heaps of biomass. The only difficult factor for me was to really wait for 100 days to get perfect matured soil

After I made the first heap in July, I could hardly wait for 30 days and planted a drumstick plant in the semi decomposed biomass. After that I must have made the heaps 4/5 times but i dont remember the dates and used it all for my already existing plants like banana, amla, bamboo, sonchafa, arvi, neem, lemon and few more. Amla has already started fruiting and sonchafa has started bearing beautiful flowers (both 3 yrs old). Arvi leaves, my mum-in -law has cooked thrice so far and I have cooked drumstick leaves for one time vegetable and what can I say......its a great feeling to cook and eat home made vegetable. drumstick plant has started flowering in Feb, now I am waiting for fruiting of Banana and lemon tree.
It will really take me some more time to observe and note the change Amrut Mitti has made (in terms of yield) to the above plants compared to normal soil mix i used. Neverthless I have noticed the improvement in their

In October ie 30 days after 27 Sep workshop, we, Urban Leaves volunteers with Preeti's guidance started this Community Gardening activity at Maharashtra Nature Park (MNP), Dharavi. Meeting every Sunday and learning the concepts practically like mulching, sowing seeds for 100 day process and finally the concept of companion planting for growing vegetables has enriched me as a novice city farmer. I learnt how to plant a fruiting tree when we planted chikoo and kamarak (star fruit) on 07 march at mnp. Community activity not only gives a chance to know plants but to interact with like minded people from whom you can learn so much.

Using the knowledge I gained, I have decided to grow vegetables myself.
I have made three heaps :
- one on 5th December in 3x3x1 ft brick pit (50 ltrs of amrut jal)

- second on 25 December in 3x4x1 brick pit (50 ltrs of amrut jal)

- third on 22 January in well aerated plastic drum

The greening process started in January for the first two heaps did not show good results and so I have sown seeds in all three heaps on 27 feb.I will share the results as and when the heaps would start showing magic with the help of mother nature.

Hope to write very soon.