Meet Aparna Surve Taigor from Bangalore, India

“I am an IoT, Robotics and an AI instructor in Wizklub. Besides that, I am an avid gardener, a blogger and an artist too. Among all these activities, gardening is something which I keep doing as a relaxation hobby and something that gets me away from my monotonous routine. To sum it up, I love gardening!

Being in the metro cities like Mumbai or Bangalore, we get those vegetables and fruits which are not fresh. On top of that, due to lack of time, we generally buy those vegetables and fruits once a week and then we store them in the refrigerator for the whole week. Isn’t it a little too much of stale, tasteless and insipid vegetables and fruits? This is the reason behind growing my own food even if it is in little quantities.

When I plant or play with the soil, it is a grounding activity for me. Staying in a city, where we barely find any flora and fauna around, having a green balcony garden is a blessing. Due to the tiny ecosystem in my balcony, many guests like red vented bulbuls, chirping sparrows, bees and butterflies visit my balcony. I am also inculcating those green and healthy habits in my kids by growing my own food.

I stay in an apartment with two small balconies attached for growing greens. I grow many herbs like lemon grass, thai basil, carom(ajwain), lemon basil, butterfly-peas, fennel seeds, mint leaves and oxalis. I grow leafy vegetables like spinach, amaranth, fenugreek and coriander. I grow a few vegetables and fruits like colocasia, potato, bitter gourd, tomatoes, beans, green chillies, garlic, musk melons and flowers like marigold, jasmine, white ginger lily, periwinkle, roses. Also when the weather does not support (Bangalore lacks sunlight most of the year due to cloudy weather), I grow microgreens(flaxseeds, wheat, fenugreek, mustard) inside my balcony.

I generally make ‘liquid bio enzymes’ from fruit peels, onion peels which improves soil quality. I lack space for keeping the compost bin at home, so I buy organic vermicompost from outside. I use neem oil, homemade chilli spray to control pests and many times I wipe out pests by toothbrush or water spray. Reuse of water from the kitchen which is used for washing food is something which I do on a daily basis.

Insufficient sunlight, pests and space are the biggest hurdles I face while growing food in a small space. Sometimes I recall the bitter moment when I had to throw away my whole potato plant because the pest ruined the plant from the root itself. I do remember once that these pests also ruined my 14 to 15 bitter gourds. When you live in an apartment or apartment complex, usually sunlight doesn’t reach down all the way to your house and plants have to struggle to get sunlight. Space is another thing which I often fight for. My plants are many and the space is too less.

Gardening is overall a soul soothing activity or meditation for me. Fresh food, healthy habits and the joy, the happiness I feel when I look at them, treat them,and work with them and the tasty harvests they give me are my biggest rewards. I share updates on my garden on my social media to inspire others to grow plants.

It doesn’t matter if you stay in a city or in a small place, try growing plants even there. Plants are so kind unlike us human beings. They receive less from us but return in abundance. They just need care, love and your good intentions for them to grow.”

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