Of late, the concept of terrace garden has picked up in cities. The apartment enthusiasts provide space and show a lot of interest in growing and nurturing terrace garden. However, they are found to use only the hybrid variety seeds and, instead of that, if they use country seeds, it will be more beneficial including from health point of view.
Kuzhandaivel of Mathur opines that the country seeds will ensure self-reliance and sufficiency in protecting the roots. He has been giving country seeds to interested growers free of cost.
Kuzhandaivel has the pseudonym ‘Vanavan’ who has plenty of collections of old issues of ‘Pasumai Vikatan’ in his house. He has been maintaining his terrace garden for the past ten years. Initially, he was also using only the hybrid seeds but from the time he came to know about the nature and benefits of country seeds from Pasumai Vikatan, he has shifted completely to country seeds. He had procured the country seeds from Yoganathan of Musiri who was also contacted only through the source of Pasumai Vikatan. Now, Kuzhandaivel has since been collecting a lot of country seeds and distributing the same in small packets to ardent growers.
Kuzhandaivel proudly says that he has been growing herbal plants such as aadathodai (Adathodai Vascia). Adamant creeper or veldt grape, country mallow,balloon vine plant etc. in large quantities. Apart from this, he is growing vegetables like spinach, brinjal, ladies fingers, cluster beans, bitter gourd, broad beans, nithya kalyani, acalypha indica (kuppaimeni keerai), false daisy (Kesavardhini), java tea (poonai meesai keerai), urancia khus khus (vetti ver) etc.
Kuzhandaivel further confirms that he does not buy or procure anything extra from outside in maintaining his terrace garden. The remnants of vegetables used in the house, papers, the leaves withered in his own garden etc. will be stored for mulching. Manure is also collected from these remnants. He says that because of country seeds, there is not much of insect. However, if insects appear, he is able to get rid of them by using neem oil essence with ginger and garlic mixture. He warns that water must be carefully poured for terrace garden plants; else, it will decay. When it comes to the containers, he is using plastic bucket or boxes etc. for filling up the sand in them. He is thus enjoying economy also.
Kuzhandaivel finally concludes that while he started this venture with just 5 pots, he is now using around 80 pots and plants. He proudly shares that whatever health problems he faces, he is using only the herbal plants grown in his terrace for curing. Doubtless, Kuzhandaivel keeps both his mind and body fit and fine with the help of his own terrace garden which is so close to his heart.
(This article written in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dt 25/4/18 has been transcreated in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)