Urban Leaves India: August 2010

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Our first harvest of Short Snake Gourd

After the patient loving preparation of Amrut Mitti, sowing seeds and taking care, our volunteers enjoyed the first harvest of a vegetable grown by themselves this Sunday, the 22nd of August.

The gourd creeper had grown and spread all over, beyond the trellis on to the solar panel    ( which is not currently in use ).
              We were overjoyed to see the many flowers, which promised us a good harvest!
Seeing a gourd on almost every node brought a sense of amazement, wonder and abundance.This gourd resembled the snake gourd but did not grow long. The ones which we kept on the plant thinking that they will grow longer , became quite overripe and fell off.

So it was time to harvest the little ones which looked ready to be plucked.
However we wondered which variety this was. Since we had procured variety of  organic seeds from different sources, there was not much info or pictures on the seed packets for us to be sure of what our produce was going to look like!  Had never seen short snake gourd variety. Amongst ourselves there were suggestions of tying a thread with a stone to the bottom of the gourd to make it longer etc..which made me surf the net for the reason of this small size. i was overjoyed to find this info on this site
This Snake Gourd variety is native to India. Fruits have light greenish white skin with green stripe shoulder, about 12 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. The plant is very vigorous in warm climates and produces lots of fruits for a long time. Fruits are harvested when they are young and are very popular in Indian cooking.

So the first harvest was enjoyed by all. 

  Harshala Sane and Shekar harvesting the Gourds.

Friday, 20 August 2010

" Waste It" or " Invest It " an interactive workshop on Green Living

Click on the image to enlarge.

About the Organizers

Monisha Narke will be conducting the workshop. Monisha is an active 'Green' practitioner and mentor who has been working on zero waste issues since the last few years.

Urban Leaves:

Urban Leaves a volunteer based organization driven by the primary motive; to create green/clean food spaces within the city. For more information and ongoing projects please visit: www.urbanleavesinindia.com &


RUR ---- “Are you Reducing, Reusing, Recycling “----

A neighborhood environment forum Initiated by young mothers, --- for bringing people together to protect our planet.

Their vision is to create eco-friendly citizens, who make their waste worthwhile for the planet by adopting GOOD GREEN PRACTICES.For more Green Insights write to rur.share@gmail.com

Don't forget to carry your water bottles and a " green mind" to the workshop !

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Share an Urban Farm

Article in MID DAY August 8th 2010
Click on image to enlarge and read.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Home composting

We all know how crucial it has become for all of us to compost our waste at Home. Amrut Mitti takes time and has to be made batch by batch. So does this mean we dont start composting our waste, till Amrut Mitti is ready?
No.Not really. Here is a very simple technique that we at Urban Leaves have adopted.

It's easy, maintenance free!
No need to buy any earthworms or any other stuff. Just keep sprinkling some red earth in the pots from time to time. Once in a way if you feel that the waste has become too wet, add newspaper, dry leaves, and soil to cover it completely.Keep stirring it from time to time.
These are magical pots which never fill! when one pot is full, shift to the other and rest the first one. Come back to it, when the second one looks full. As the compost matures, rate of decomposition increases.
One fine morning, after three months remove the compost, take a fist full and smell it's heavenly fragrance!
Once your Amrut Mitti is ready it can handle your kitchen waste at home. Till then this is a good way to begin.
All the best!

Growing Tomatoes, cabbage,Kohlrabi in a Balcony

For eight years I grew up with natueco knowledge and experience of growing food on a terrace.
Pl see http://natuecocityfarming.blogspot.com/2009/02/farm-on-terrace.html  for the details of  my background. However it was only when i came into contact with Monisha and started conducting workshops at MNP telling people they could do it at home that I started working on my small balcony at Dockyard road.

Monisha taught us to compost kitchen waste. I combined a bit of my natueco GYAN and devised a method for myself. My kitchen waste first goes into my basket, ( Aerated ) not covered, in my balcony, which gets good sunlight.After it dries, it goes in my earthen pot. A layer of red earth or Amrut mitti from the terrace is sprinkled every three- four days in it. I turn the material in the pot every Sunday. Sprinkle Amrut Jal in it if I feel it has gone dry. Not otherwise.
I have harvested some lovely compost from it once , in which I have planted tomatoes which are now flowering. In fact there are five tomatoes.... and I love to see their growth day by day!
Had planted some lettuce, spinach, chillies, lemon grass, kohlrabi and cauliflower  in Amrut Mitti.

Have documented the progress in photographs..
I harvest about a sprigful of spinach per week from a single tub. Today I used it in my favourite raw spinach salad. it was crispy and sweet! : )
Will keep up with the updates. Do post in your experiences too.

Preeti Patil

After a wait of three months at last I harvested my tomatoes and Kohlrabi today.
They were so beautiful and delicious. Worth all the waiting!

Love Preeti

Musk Melon and beans in the balcony

The rich compost made from the kitchen waste throws up all kinds of surprises!
One such surprise was a musk melon which I didn't expect to grow. The food that we purchase from the market and eat, is generally obtained from HYBRID produce and so their seeds dont really give a proper yield.

So I was in two minds whether to allow this plant which had sprouted in my pot housing Kadipatta to grow in it. It looked so happy and at home, I didn't have the heart to uproot it. So once it was sure that it was there to stay, it quickly took over the balcony grill and spread its canopy. The Kadipatta too was comfortable.
Soon the flowers came. And then one day I saw a tiny little round melon. The roots of the plant had not only flourished in the Amrut Mitti but had also wrapped themselves around my heart. This tiny melon kept growing and one fine day was found fallen off from the creeper, all sweet and ripe!
The beans creeper has not only covered my grill but has also gone up on the floor above! My friend living on floor above me is going to be soon surprised to find " This magical beanstalk" ! I am busy counting my chickens before they are hatch! : ) Counting my beans!