Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Taken to Court for Growing Veges.

By now we know that traffic fumes and overcrowding are huge culprits in depleting our natural resources. One outcome - our fruit and veges (veggies) grow in very poor quality soil.

Last year my husband and I decided we'd try and enrich our soil. At first, after months of effort we managed to produce a smelly, gooey slop. Now we are producing much better soil - sweet smelling, although it is still a bit lumpy.

What are we doing wrong? We attended a free city council sponsored course to find out. Apparently we aren't using enough brown organic waste. We all know about the two types of organic waste but bear with me as I feel it is worth repeating.

Brown and green organic waste: Both are essential for composting in approximately equal parts. Both need to be moist - not wet and aerated so that the micro organisms that convert it all to compost get oxygen.
  • Brown Waste includes: Brown, dried leaves, dried grass, hay, sawdust (in moderation as the carbon content is way too much) and all kinds of paper, preferably shredded.
  • Green Waste: Fresh (green) Grass clippings, Kitchen scraps (fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags), weeds, green leaves, etc.
 As for methods of composting, I won't duplicate the advice of millions of online experts..



This summer we tried growing a few fruit and veges in our own home-composted soil. I can't begin to tell you how impressed we were with nature's bounty. We had a bumper crop each week and it lasted us throughout summer. Our capsicums were the sweetest and tender crisp, our cherry tomatoes were sweet and juicy and our mirchi, fat and not too teekha - exactly as we like them. Next season we are planning on more varieties of veges, fruit and herbs.

Eventually, once we are confident we have reasonably green thumbs we hope to get involved with our neighbourhood's community gardening efforts. If you'd like to find out about community gardens which are gaining popularity in NZ, I've written a guest post on Pattu's blog.

You might well ask what our composting, vege-growing and community efforts have to do with the title. That is Ron Finley's story. He's a great ambassador for community gardening and its benefits. He also has practical advice on making each community garden viable, long term and sustainable. And yes, someone did slap a case on him for growing veges.

Here's the link to his story in his own entertaining, humorous and inimitable style - TedX talk by Ron Finley.







24 comments:

  1. Those do look delicious and oh so fresh!!!! I was never much into gardening, but lately, I feel like I want to start something myself. It's a hard project to start, never having done it before, but one that can completely draw you into it I feel. And reaping (pun intended) the crop at the end of it, that would be some feeling of satisfaction wow! Hopefully soon, when I have some land space to start something in! Needless to say, I'm probably going to come both you and Pattu Raj :)
    PS: The title - makes me smile :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just do it, Deepa. A pot and the good earth is all it takes.

      Delete
  2. Must be such a rewarding experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, magic eye, as is seeing you here.

      Delete
  3. @KayEm : Interesting . Nver even thot of it. Other than reading and seeing how compost is prepared never really made it :) Ur post gives food for thought which if implemented will give food

    Good day

    ReplyDelete
  4. An offshoot benefit - we are amazed to see our garbage reduced by half. Sadly, even though we are conscious and try to be careful, the amount of plastic that we throw away daily is plain to see - not lost in those food scraps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My mom grows bhendi, tomato, cucumber in our terrace and its really a great feeling to eat home grown vegetables...ur post instantly reminded me of our terrace vege garden ...only difference is you grow them on the soil...my mom grows them on the roof...lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fantastic. I'd love to try growing bhindi. Your mum might enjoy Pattu's terrace garden - a blog with lots of photos of what she grows and what she uses to grow it all in. She is a prolific gardener. I've put up a link in my post.

      Delete
  6. I have an illogical belief that gardening skills is hereditary and you're either born with it or not. My mother can never grow anything, and neither can I, no matter how carefully we follow instructions. Perhaps the plants can feel we are not that enthusiastic about them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's not show our faces here. Ghadeer doesn't have the skill to (feed and) water us.

      Delete
    2. But she sure knows a thing or two about Iraq.

      Delete
  7. Wow! Now that is something. My Mom grows mint and lemons and it is a great feeling to just go in the balcony and get some mint for the salad. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Amit. Kindred souls, your mum and I.

      Delete
  8. Thanks, KayEm, for this "uplifting" post. I live in an apartment but manage to grow chili, tomatoes and mint almost year round. Being a chili fan, I have even managed to protect some of the hill varieties through a few scorching Hyderabad summers. However, my attempts at composting have not been very successful. The truth is I didn't look hard enough in terms of studying, and much of the time, I allowed my compost to dry out. Also, the help frequently treats my compost bucket as a trash can and empties sweepings and detergent water into it!! This post and your explanation of types of organic waste helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just heard about the 5 year old being raped by her neighbour, the monster and the police reaction. Feel anything but uplifted. :(

      Composting in an apartment sounds challenging. Sweepings ought to be fine but tell your bai detergent won't clean what's in the bucket.

      Delete
  9. My dad used to do quite a bit of composting and growing vegetables. Now he's stuck in an apartment and has flower-pots in his balcony.

    Hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge so far.
    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    AZ blogs on Social Media

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Growing one's own flowers and/or veges, wherever one lives is magic. Very therapeutic and rewarding.

      As for your AtoZ challenge, it has been great. Thanks for writing about my book on the "N" day. I've bought "Leave of Absence" on Kindle and am enjoying it thoroughly. A few books have gone on my wishlist.

      Delete
  10. Nothing like home-grown fruits and vegetables!

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is very satisfying to see home grown fruits and vegetables!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Totally agree, Purba and Rahul :)

    ReplyDelete