Ever since my childhood I had been obsessed towards plants, whenever I find a small sapling would get them introduced to their burial ground (I ought to call it that way) as most of the Neem, tamarind sprouts I had shifted never made it beyond few days. During my early years had grown some basic house plants such as money plant, croutons etc. But it was just a momentary time pass which lasted for few days.
Up during my teens had some accidental plantation that grew around our house papaya, drumstick, bitter guard etc. etc. but yet again they were just a bit of time pass work. No serious gardening otherwise. However my inner feel towards greenery was always there. I initially felt that this is the same way every one feels.
My resumes carried my passion as cooking, photography and gardening. While I had pretty good exposure to the first two the latter was only resting in papers and some occasional home plantation.
During my 7 years stay in the garden city (Bangalore) I always admired the green plantation across the city and the inner passion kept creeping day by day. However no serious initiative got in to grow some home plants at least.
When I moved back to Chennai my passion was completely put down by the creepy apartment where I had to stay along with my parents. When we planned to buy a new apartment budget was our main constraint and getting a decent apartment within our budget inside the city was impossible. So we had no choice to move out to the outskirts and yet again the place should not be very far from basic amenities. More over I also wanted to live in a place where there is fresh air and peaceful environment for my family.
Our hunt finally ended when we decided the location as Ottiyambakkam a farming village which is upcoming and is also not too far from the city. Siruseri IT tech park is just 6 kilometers however my place still kept its village sentiments. Booked the first house in the up coming 12 houses apartment building and moved from city to a nearby location to get used to the neighborhood.
The new place had also been a farming village however was turned into plots in the mid 90s. Being said the soil still remains rich by itself as any seed that falls in it grows vigorously with little care.
The inner gardener in me leaped high with this new opportunity and was rewarded with like minded neighbors and further the opportunity showered itself when I discovered winter melon or ash guard (Sambal poosani, dristi poosani in Tamil) that where thrown away after the house warming pooja in the near by empty plot started growing and within few months started yielding big time. We actually harvested close to 80 big size (2 to 4 kgs minimum) melons from it. Later some accidental drop of small bitter guard in the same land and Solanum torvum (Turkey Berry aka Sundaikkai in Tamil). So started buying some in house plants from a nursery in ECR and started keeping the momentum.
When I finally moved into my new apartment I was happy that the apartment had decent space around 5 feet on all sides and there where already few plants that were planted. But still the inner gardener was restricted only to few potted home plants and I also planted few topica sticks in the side space of the apartment.
One fine day when the power was down I decided to step out of my system and was lazily measuring the apartment to my surprice I observed lots of tomato, chilli, lemon, pomegranate saplings in the apartment side space. I came to know that those are the accidental growth of the left over thrown by the building workers. The spark in me got to a blaze .
That’s when I realized that my building care taker is also a farmer by nature and few hours of discussion with him I got to know more insights on these plant growth. The power came on and so was my passion. Time was well spent in curing the clayey soil by pouring water twice daily for the next three weeks and adding flowering plants one by one.
But the real seriousness started when I actually saw the tomatoes and chillies yield to a great extent that the next 3 months we had harvested close to 40 kgs of tomatoes and 10 kgs of chilies (still yielding).
Then started the mealy bugs that attacked the tomato and hibiscus plants and my search for getting a cure led me to the organic way of practicing terrace gardening. Started interacting with many good souls and read through many knowledge base articles which kept on fine tuning my passion.
All these years I have done many R&D in my garden and have fine tuned the conditions to suit my needs. Now I am able to address basic queries from fellow gardeners and share my experience and organically grown authentic natty seeds with which I have gained more virtual friends.
That’s how Gardening a passion that existed only in resumes has now turned my life to be a more worth living.
Happy gardening friends. Will write more soon.