It was a usual morning and I was getting ready for work. I never thought that a big surprise would be waiting for me there, one which will open a new path for me.
We have a bio fertilizer manufacturing unit. At the same site we have kept some cows and gather their cow dung in a deep pit at the corner of the land, That day I decided to take a round. Then I spotted a lush green climber on the pile of cow dung heap.
There was a big smile on my face. My curiosity was at its peak to find out the details about the climber. Then began the investigation and the second smile crossed my lips. A small bottle gourd fruit and some yellow flowers were present beneath the big leaves. Nothing could compare the happiness of spotting that fruit.
I got a new goal in life. The trellis were set up for the climber and daily progress of the fruits was monitored. It became the major reason for me to go to work.And finally the day came when the rich green, shining fruit was ready for the harvest.
That day it was decided that instead of the maid,” I will cook it in the evening”. Everyone was astonished as I cooked only occasionally. I took all the precautions necessary and cooked it with love to extract its maximum taste. All the ingredients were added with maximum care.
Dinner table was ready. I was waiting eagerly for family members to come for dinner. After they joined me, their first reaction on opening the lid of the casserole was”Oh, No! Again Bottleguard”. After requesting them to at least try, my husband and kids reluctantly took a bite of it.
After tasting it, my younger daughter jumped out of her chair and said, “Mummy, Please ask maid aunty to leave and you start cooking for us”.
My husband started feeling nostalgic. He said,” This bottle gourd is going down my throat like butter. It’s so sweet!. The taste of it is taking me down to the memory lane many years back when I was child the bottle guard used to taste sweet like that." He was right, over the last many years with farmers have started putting so much urea in vegetables that they have lost natural taste and have become bitter.
That’s how the foundation of “MY ORGANIC TERRACE GARDEN” was laid. Complete family is involved in the garden with separate chores assigned to all. Our organic garden is our extended family now. We take care of it like our kids and we even a new leaf gives us the same kind of happiness as the milestones of our children.
Now, began the major project of planning the garden. Proper research was done and finally the 3’ poly grow planter bags were ordered. We used Organic Potting Soil to fill these planter bags, first crop chosen was spinach - keeping kids lunch in mind. After all, green leafy vegetables are highly recommended. For the second planter bag, lady finger was the obvious choice as it is the kids recommendation. Their proposal was accepted without any resistance, after all, they were the motivating factors besides the whole idea.
The bags were filled with the black soil and Wholly Cow Manure ( available at our unit). Keeping in mind the top-ups of manure which will be required in future, two inches of the poly grow bags were left empty from above. Lady finger seeds were planted 6” apart.
Now, a regime started. Since, it was summer time the watering was required daily. We decided to do that in the evening as the temperatures go down at night and seeds can absorb required amount of water and stay hydrated. After 6-7 days, one fine morning my daughter came running and announced “The seed germination has occurred”. Her excitement was at its peak as she was experimenting the same chapter which was going on in science class at school. We rushed towards the terrace and were so glad to see the complete bed full of small plant-lets. On the other hand, lady finger seeds were still sleeping and I had the same phrase in my mind, often used by my mother - lazy bums.
Again I turned my complete attention to the budding spinach in its bed.A list of the delicacies we will be enjoying with the harvest was being made in my mind. On the third day from now small leaves of spinach opened. For me it became a part of my morning routine. I would wake up and automatically was directed towards the terrace.One morning I was moving sleepily towards my terrace. The moment I caste my eyes on the spinach bed, my eyes were wide awake, all the spinach leaves were gone but simultaneously all the sleepy heads of lady fingers were out of their bed. All the happiness given by one bed was washed away by the leafless and wounded spinach.
It didn’t take long to identify the culprit. They were squirrels. Now on, every passing squirrel was given the look of any enemy. I mounted the net on the spinach bed but these little creatures made complete use of their sharp teeth. Squirrels are really not as sweet as they are shown on TV in children cartoons. Not even a trace of spinach was left in the bed in the next three days. For a moment, it was like Oh! God everything is over. My family was trying to convince me that it’s a blessing if we are capable of feeding someone. Then, my daughter pointed towards the small lady finger plants and there was no need to say anything else. A smile crossed my face and all the agents were back in the field. The second batch of spinach seeds was ready for sowing.
This time we did lot of research beforehand. We found two effective methods to keep away the predators. Two most reliable ones are -
- Red chilly spray and
- Human hairs, as squirrels have high sense of smell they do not take the risk of going near them.
After this, we took good care of our plants and were rewarded with real tasty veggies. Every time we plucked from our garden we thanked GOD for showering his blessings on us. And yes, we started keeping food for the squirrels…….