Urban Leaves India: An orchard on a water tank

Tuesday 29 June 2010

An orchard on a water tank

Volunteers for the Plantation drive in monsoon
After eight months of lovingly building Amrut Mitti , volunteers of Urban Leaves were excited and happy. On 30th May they were finally  to plant saplings. Enthusiasm was high and they all turned up early morning at the Nature Park.
Shirish and Julius armed with their drills, drilled holes in the drums collected to plant saplings.
                          Shirish Bhave                                         Julius
                  These drums are available in Dharavi and last for almost 10 years.
The  holes are needed for aeration. Due to in situ decomposition, heat is given out, and this heat needs to be dissipated. Hence the holes are needed to be drilled.
                                       Green Rosella in an earthern pot.
                 Earthern pots with holes donated by Anil Ranglani from "The Daily Dump"
At home, in my small balcony where I use recycled tubs and buckets, I simply make these holes with a heated nail , all over the container.

We first filled the containers with sugarcane baggase. This provides aeration to roots, decomposes over a LONG period and contributes organic matter to soil, the sugar content in the bagasse helps in fermentation of the waste.

Then went the Amrut Mitti. Sapling was planted in it. The roots of sapling were first dipped in Amrut Jal for 10 mins. The excess soil was removed, keeping a little soil attached to roots. Then roots of sapling were sprinkled with wood ash to prevent infections as well as provide instant nutrition. Wood ash contains almost all elements needed by the plants.
                  The saplings were planted and mulched with sugarcane bagasse
  The saplings are tiny and can hardly be seen now..... In time wait and watch!
We planted saplings of custard apple, pomegranate,pineapple,different varieties of lemon, suran ( yam), banana, guava, nutmeg,avala etc....
                    Arya our youngest volunteer planting Yam directly on the slab.
The youngest volunteer that day was Arya who was so excited with all the activities! She was like the Ginnie... : ) completing one task after another, with super fast speed and asking me , aunty what next? She certainly deserves the first fruit that we will soon harvest! Yes! The guavas are already showing signs of coming into this world.
So thus began the green phase of our Community farm at Nature Park. We hope in six months time this orchard will not only green the concrete water tank, but also provide us with sweet fruits of our labour !
                         After a fortnight on 20th June 2010 watch the growth........
                        Yam (Suran) had sprouted and raised its beautiful head!
                                                     Haldi has grown too.
 Our senior most volunteers Nirmala, Bharati and Harsha with the chawli creepers. We had a delicious breakfast that day of raw chawli beans.

          Keep following the progress of this Orchard Farm on a water tank in the city!
                                  Don't you want one in your neighborhood?