It’s fresh from the garden produce for these neighbours in Kerala capital


When Kerala went in for a State-wide lockdown on March 23 to sluggish the unfold of COVID-19, Baiju Chandran and his neighbours in Thiruvananthapuram district feared a scarcity of greens if the pandemic have been to take a flip for the worse and the lockdown prolonged.

Instead of merely speaking about it, they determined to do one thing productive. The subsequent day, they started engaged on a bit of vacant land that belongs to Pradeep Kumar S, Baiju’s neighbour.

“All that there was on the plot was a tiny shed, which we now use to house our gardening tools. I was planning to start an automobile repair shop on the land but when Baiju, his brother Shiju, and Shibu Kumar, another neighbour of ours, suggested we use the land to start a vegetable farm, I agreed,” says Pradeep.

Pradeep Kumar

The land was tilled and fertilised with natural manure earlier than they began planting styles of amaranthus, inexperienced chilli and tomatoes.

Two months later, the 14-cent plot of land at Pazhakutty, Nedumangadu, has became a vegetable garden. Varieties of amaranthus have simply been harvested and the staff that toiled on the plot are all set to pluck cucumbers, woman’s finger, brinjal and so forth. “We hope to plant yam, ash gourd, snake gourd and pumpkin… soon so that we can harvest them in time for Onam [late August],” says Baiju, a senior-grade assistant at the Kerala Government Secretariat.

Constructive engagement

“Apart from being able to pick fresh vegetables from our garden, turning to gardening during the lockdown was also a way for us to do something constructive with the time we had on our hands,” says Pradeep.

Cucumber

Pradeep used to run a farm in Panavoor on the outskirts of the metropolis. However, as soon as he took up a job as a JCB driver, farming took a again seat. The lockdown gave him the nudge he wanted to select up the hoe.

“Before the lockdown rules were relaxed, we would start our day at 6 am and be out in the field till 11 am. We would then resume gardening by 5 pm and wind up by 7 pm. As all of us are back at work again we farm mostly in the evenings and nearly the whole of Sunday,” says Pradeep, who finds gardening “therapeutic.”

Shibu Kumar

Baiju found his inexperienced thumb and keenness for gardening 4 years in the past when he determined to start out a kitchen garden after studying media reviews that almost all of the greens obtainable in the market have been usually sprayed with pesticides. Worried at how the pesticides might have an effect on his well being and that of his household’s, he started studying up on gardening.

“I concentrate on seasonal vegetables and plant everything from green chillies and tomatoes to broccoli and beetroot on my rooftop garden. As I had no prior experience in gardening, I attended various courses organised by Thiruvananthapuram Karshika Koottayma. Experts in various gardening groups I am a part of helped me with whatever queries I had,” he explains.

Shiju Chandran

Their households additionally assist them with their farming.

Shibu, a industrial items automobile driver, finds the act of harvesting “the most satisfying” in the complete gardening course of. “I used to help out in farming at an ashram in Pothencode on Sundays. I still go there after my time in our field. There is something special about having a dish made from ingredients right out of your garden. In fact, I am looking forward to preparing the Onam sadya with our vegetables,” he says.

Shiju Chandran, a junior co-operative inspector at the Department of Cooperation, chuckles when he says their neighbours are all impressed by their gardening. “On some days, we get excess vegetables that we sell in our neighbourhood. As the flavours of freshly farmed, organic vegetables are distinctive when cooked, many have asked us for seeds and saplings. It looks like gardening is fast becoming a hobby for many.”

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