Thursday, October 16, 2014
Monday, October 13, 2014
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Monday, October 06, 2014
Sunday, October 05, 2014
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Friday, August 08, 2014
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
I eat sprouted moong beans every morning. Out of curiosity I threw one sprout in a pot one such morning as a question arose in my mind.... "What does a moong bean plant look like?"
I waited for some beans to dry out a little and someone suggested that roasted young beans taste yum! Well I am now going full fledged into growing this humble plant. It's so easy to grow. It pumps nutrients into the soil as well as inside me. It needs no pesticides or caring. It needs very little water and survives rough weather!!! It's the magic plant organic gardening was meant for!
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
There was once this whole excitement that I cooked the food I was eating and now there's a greater delight in knowing that I grew what I just ate. Vegetable and fruit gardening not only has taught me a great sense of gratitude for what I eat now. Its an amazing sense of power and pleasure noth. The sweetest tasting and tender "papdis" I've ever eaten.
So the story of the "Papdi" goes so.
Upaj - the organic farm that's the baby of Avanee Jain is a fantastic pioneering idea on guiding and teaching all around Organic Farming/Gardening in the simplest of ways. She's an amazing person. On my one visit to Baroda I borrowed some "papdi" seeds from Avanee. They lay in my bag for days.
One fine day I decided to sow them, imaginging how it'll turn out. Of course because its a vegetable that I have never seen in the South Indian market I was not sure if it'll sustain the Bangalore Climate.
Each day of watching the seedlings and they growing was a delight. I was surprised by all the insect life it attracted when it began flowering. Different types of beetles were all over. Using only neem spray to avoid a lot of infection, I ended up getting 3 lovely harvests off these four creepers.
I was determined, dreaming and visualizing the lot of "Papdi"'s growing in my roof top garden. Its a creeper and has these beautiful little white flowers. I am ever so grateful for this lovely experience and the power that I felt that anything truly can be grown anywhere and that too organically if there is the will. Well nature does most of the work afterwards.
The Field bean has a lot of variety all over the World. There's the field bean and then there's the lima bean and the traditional Avarekkai is somewhere between the two. I had been missing this particular variety that's a small and softer variety and can be eaten with its cover called the "Papdi". In South India the Avarekkai season is celebrated as soon as Winter arrives. And people eat only the seeds - fresh and dried unlike the Papdis.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I had never heard of that. They were always known to be fruits
that were seasonal and rare. I have memories of gobbling up Straweberries and mulberries when
we visited Mahabaleshwar for a vacation with our grannies. We must've eaten the fruits in kilos and shamelessly didn't leave any for anyone else.
Everyone relates strawberries to love and rarity.
But strangely urban farmers were suddenly talking of growing strawberries on their terraces and I was told of greenhouses in Gujarat where you could go harvest these berries.
Of course I was dreaming of them day in and day out. None of the nurseries I had ever visited had strawberry plants. One day I found one strawberry plant and it had some flowers in bloom. I was full of hope now. The day that the strawberry began to have greenish yellow enlarged fruits which were soon turning pink and then red, i was thrilled beyond my imagination. I couldn't believe that I had just grown my very own strawberries!
Well suddenly I was finding more plants in nurseries and then came more strawberries.
Apparently the berry is the receptacle of the ovary and the little seeds on the outside are ovaries with the seeds on the inside. The plant is a runner and hence makes great sense to have them hang too. Apparently the fruits need some lining under to prevent them from touching the soil directly to prevent rotting and diseases.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Maa was always very passionate about her garden. Her garden was highly admired by all. She enjoyed structure, a well crafted garden. I remember she trying a lot of Kitchen Gardening, we grew brinjals, potatoes, lady fingers, pomegranates and lime.
Her thrill on the flowering of a certain plant and her joy in visiting a nursery and bringing new plants home. She spent so much time in the Garden early in the morning and I knew it because the house would have muddy foot prints all over.
She would've forgotten to change her footwear after coming into the house from the Garden.
I liked the Garden I know. I infact loved how green it was. She has a great sense of humor too. Just green and flowers was not enough, she interspersed it with sculpture that she had specially crafted for her. Not to miss the pornographic one that she parked right in the entrance of the Garden and another one of a Drunken man hugging a lamp post with a note saying "its a bootiful evening".
As always we argued and argued a lot. I was not happy with how much she interfered with the plants. The minute the plant had grown she'd be prepared to re pot it, and make more plants out of the single one. To me all had to be wild. I always told her, that it should be a jungle. Where everything was growing on its own.
My mother played a role too in my taking up Gardening as a hobby. Maa by the way is what i call my Grandmother.
Mom was visiting me in Bangalore when I lived alone and was still finding my way into my life here. She one day came home with ten potted plants. I was astound and upset. It was a whole new responsibility and I wasn't sure if I was prepared for it. She in her very teacher like mannerism told me that I had to learn to take responsibility. Ever since in the ever daunting feeling of a burden, I began to care for these plants. There wasnt much that I did. I just watered them sometimes. Some of them lived and some other died. Mom was sure to check up on me after she went back home ever so often if they were surviving.
Some of those plants are still with me and of course many many more such companions now. I have so many to thank for my love for gardening, kitchen gardening and organic gardening. For the longest of time I have harbored a silent wish to own a farm one day. A farm that's more of a jungle and a patch where a lot of vegetables grow.
I have a strong feeling and conviction that I am on my way there very soon.
These blog posts are going to be an expression of gratitude to all the immense Joy this hobby of mine has given me.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Parrots and wheels
contrasting this stark landscape
blowing through my mind
voices of a language
I haven’t heard before
sweet twitters of birds
and the smell of the champa
water flowing somewhere near
the interfacing of the sun rays
have I met beauty today
or just myself?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
As children we studied away from our parents and each vacation when we saw them, Dad attempted to convince us of eating Rignas. He made all sorts of sounds and expressions eating them. He would tell us of how sweet tasting they were. And we girls cringed at the idea of eating them.
He decided to tell us a story. I was always a big big story fan. Stories still remain close to my heart. The story about Vashram Bhuva - a farmer and a big Rigna fan named Dala Talvaadi is well known Gujarati folk story. It just has to be recited in Gujarati for the rhymes to work. Dad's enthusiasm and his expressive way of reciting stories sure had me taken.
Meeting a Vashram Bhuva later in the day at Dad's hospital had me totally convinced that the yummiest Rignas existed in the world. Ever since, you cannot stop me from eating Eggplants. I am their biggest fan possibly. You can feed me Eggplants all 365 days in a year and I'd never complain. Seeing and eating Eggplants in various colours and forms in Bangalore have me even more delighted.
I had to grow my own Eggplants and here they are. Shining little purple gems in the little baskets on my terrace. Soon to be devoured.
I discovered gardening and Vegetable gardening after wards as a very therapeutic experience. Its taught me plenty patience too and my love for food grown by multifolds.
Some trivia The Eggplant plant belongs to the Tobacco family and eating a kilo of Eggplants would be as good as smoking a cigarette.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Dr.Ravindra Subbanna's house was my first project at Mistrys the day I joined the office and its a project that's been with me ever since that June 2003. We have renovated and redone the house so many times over the years.
We had proposed a large basement for Dr.Subbanna as the requirement was a lot and the site was an odd piece of land located though beautifully right next to a large park in RMV layout, Bangalore.
Sadly RMV layout is essentially a filled up lake and the water table is very high. This layout like many others in Bangalore have the reverse problem when it comes to Rain water. Dr.Subbanna's basement was always flooding located on the lowest point of the entire layout. For years he complained about it to me. Suffering plenty during rains. We decided to solve the problem once and for all.
The French pipe system is a popular technique of water proofing a basement abroad. Having had theortically learnt about it at Biome, we decided to incorporate the same after some research and study at this site.
Its a simple system where pipes of a good diameter are placed in a grid over a good base of soling. The pipes are perforated on the sides to allow water to fill into them, and the slope at which the pipe is placed allows for water to flow in a particular direction when water table rises towards a water tank or a recharge well and this water in turn can be pumped out once the water tank is full.
This system allows the water to naturally move and therefore disallows it from rising into the walls and into the flooring voids and distrupting the structure in turn.
Today after 2 years of incorporating the system Dr.Ravindra Subbanna expresses the relief he feels from the worry of his flooding basement. There has not been a single leak into it ever since.
More images of the house are here