Urban Leaves India: March 2011

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Green Harvests from a small Balcony


From seed to seed.
Had taken these organic seeds from Deepika in Auroville.
basella ( mayalu )
Harvested the leaves and made a delicious sabji 
with them. Enough for a family of four.
Well here goes the recipe......

Peanuts, tamarind and green chillies to be ground finely.Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and let it splutter. Add garlic flakes and finely chopped onions, add the peanut paste, turmeric powder,chilly powder
Finally add the finely chopped mayalu leaves. Once done add salt to taste and serve hot.

The plant has gone into seeding .... and I am saving the seeds for next year.
Who wants the seeds?

Lots of smiles

Horray ! Amrut Mitti is ready at Nana Nani Park

The Amrut Mitti heaps at Nana Nani Park are ready! Thanks to efforts put in 
by Purvita, Ubai, Mr Joshi and Rai.
Purvita at Nana Nani park
All steps in composting, greening, cutting and composting again are over....
There is excitement as we take up sowing of crops in these beds.

Guess who has made their presence felt?
Yes! Its these lady bugs, friends of the farmers. 

One of the beds has lots of white ant infestation in the ground. 
See the strong one here in the pic. However we are told by 
Deepak Suchdeji our mentor in Natueco Farming that white ants 
will not pose a problem. We have to wait, watch and pray.

Meanwhile a small herbal patch is on its way!
Italian basil

Join us soon for planting various crops at the park! Visit this page for more information

Love and smiles
Urban Leaves Team

With small tank at MNP greened, we move up higher!

       Now that the small tank at the entrance is on its way to becoming green......

.........and productive.
Devi and Vipul
From L to R Neesha, Devi, Preeti and Uday
The cherry and drumstick plants starting to flower .........

We have only to sit back and enjoy natures miracles.

The small tank with mostly fruit trees growing does not require daily care.Once in a way pruning is necessary to help build maximum  canopy of the plants. A good canopy will result in maximum harvest of sunlight, which will result in good storage of nutrients in stem, resulting in abundant fruit!

No more trees will be added on the small tank as there needs to be ample space available for growth of canopy  which will in a couple of years completely fill up the area.

So now the Urban Leaves team has set its sight on greening the larger terrace at MNP.
 We set for ourselves the goal of creating at least 15 heaps by March end. Collected loads of bio dried mass

Aditi set up a timetable for volunteers 
Started work of preparing Amrut Mitti on raised beds.
Yay...... : ) We completed 15 beds by March end.

Meanwhile with the lovely sunshine available here we planted some veggies in containers and tubs.
celery., brinjal 

Soon it will be harvest time!

Will keep u posted. You all must be wondering , for almost two years we have been writing about Amrut Mitti and only Amrut Mitti heaps, building, turning, greening, cutting and so on....
But this is going to change soon my dear friends. 
Get ready for unfolding of evergreen harvest treats!

Love and smiles
Preeti &
Urban Leaves Team

Monday, 28 March 2011

Jindagi tumhari rahe hari bhari sada - Yeh hai hamari Akanksha

Asha from Akanksha Foundation called me up last week to conduct a session for their their kids. Looking at her dedication and enthusiasm I rekindled the hope that I have always nurtured of working with this organisation.As it was too hot for a detailed session on city farming,we planned a simple session of taking the children first on a round of the city farm, helping them to identify fruit trees, teaching them the difference between bio degradable and non degradable, followed by composting kitchen waste, a brief demo of making of Amrut Mitti, planting spinach saplings and finally a treat of watching the butterfly caterpillars with Julius.

Children were so excited to begin the session
They thronged to see the tomatoes. and other veggies growing on small tank.
One kiddoo  was busy inspecting the wonders of growing cauliflower
I fell in love with his curiosity!
Julius explained about the soil organisms
they all wanted to hold them on their hands, snails, centipedes,earthworms......
The ooohs and aahhhss followed
Their curiosity, happiness and excitement touched my heart
Asha was busy explaining the process
Neesha took over the garbage seggreation session
Children identified what would go into the compost visa vis what 
would be sent to recyclers.
here again children heard and followed with rapt attention

Neesha explained the process of composting kitchen waste in earthen pots. 
They all promised to do so at home.
The soft compost in the pots excited them so much!
They were elated and couldn't believe that compost could
 feel so soft and wonderful!Magic!
then we started our session of making Amrut Mitti in tubs.
Immersing their hands in Amrut jal and playing with leaves.. each one wanted to do it again and again!
The process of nature making soil in forest was explained to them. Asha explained how agriculture progressed after hunters and gathers fended for themselves.
Julius talked about good insects Showed them different caterpillars 
excited faces and chatter.... giggling....happy faces!
A treat for us!

Children planted spinach saplings.
Purvita chipped in and  took a recap of what had been taught. Thanks to her we could keep up pace 
with the children's energy levels.
Snack time....and recap
Corn Bhel.....yummy!
Uday took recap.He encouraged the children to enact and show 
what they had observed and learnt. 

The children surprised and humbled us!They came up with great ideas to enact. Have captured the precious moments  on video. Will have to post after editing the same.......!

Our team was touched by their enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, their bright shining eyes, and their smartness.
We asked them....
Who wants a city farm in their school ?
All eager hands were raised!

All the best kiddos. We are hereto help you. Just a call away!

God bless and love
Urban Leaves Team