But only few in thousands try towards changing the world..today we are trying to narrate the one such story,that’s jeeva’s urban organic garden.
Let’s welcome Ms.Jeevna Muralidharan(creator of jeeva’s urban organic garden) from Tirupur,Chennai.
Hello Ms.Jeevna Muralidharan,Welcome to The Life Inspire
1.How did the Jeevna’s organic garden evoked?What is your inspiration?
Jeevna:”It all began when I quit my job of more than 2 decades due to changing priorities and became a homemaker. Clueless of what’s in store for me in the near future, I decided to grow a few bags of greens on my rooftop.
I slowly extended to a few veggies like radish , chillies, tomatoes, aubergines, beans, gourds etc. Some days in my garden are great while others are not as much, due to Mother Nature, pests or disease.
This doesn’t deter me; I look for remedies on the web and search for local resources for growing food organically and successfully.
2.Please let us know more about your garden? what vegetables you grow in your garden?
Jeevna:I have now expanded to growing a few exotic varieties of watermelons, squash, mandarins, cucumber, grape vines, cherry tomatoes etc. by giving my green thumb a free run on my rooftop.
We also have a few trees like custard apple, lemon, banana , gooseberry, moringa and papaya.
3.What are all the requirements needed?what about the climate needed?irrigation facility that is needed? what manure and compost you will provide to plants?
Jeevna:I make my own compost with kitchen waste and procure organic vermicompost from a cattle farm. We have used recycled materials like a swimming pool tub to mix the potting mixture, paint cans to hold trees, and we even converted a treadmill box into a big veggie platform used for mint, coriander, yam, greens, potato etc.
My garden always welcomes sparrows, squirrels and a few birds and predatory insects helping in pollination of my veggie plants along with my collection of floral plants like roses, hibiscus, Passion flower, Jasmine flowers, Adeniums etc.
A few tubs of lilies with molee fish add life to my rooftop garden.
I like to engage with our community. I sell excess produce to my neighbours and share seeds with a seed bank. Recently we executed a “Go green” project in our neighbourhood by planting trees and saying no to plastic bags.
4.Whether balcony in all homes could be strong enough for balcony garden?What would you suggest for those who starting this balcony garden?
Jeevna:Small spaces make us think efficiently and creatively and it is important to have a clear plan.
Balcony garden can be grown by anyone and everyone with a few instructions which are to be followed. Drain mats to be used to ensure balcony isnt spoilt .
Grow bags of 660 gg quality are the best for balcony kitchen gardening as they can be carried and transported.
Potting medium to be used – cocopeat:Vermicompost:organic manure in the ratio of 6:3:1. respectively.
Since cocopeat is light weight, these bags can be easily handled.
Few kitchen herbs which are basic necessities can be started off one by one.
Coriander, fenugreek,mint,basil,spinach ,Malabar spinach,amaranthus etc.
Consumption of water is lesser when compared to soil medium as coco peat has a much better moisture retention capacity.
5.How your family supports your work?
Jeevna:I am so thankful to my family; without their support none of this would’ve been possible.
My special thanks goes to my cousin Deepak Jagdish; seeing my garden and hard work that I put in everyday, he encouraged me to create a Facebook page Jeeva’s Urban Organic Garden where I share my everyday garden stories and learnings”
We love the fact that this humble gardener is so inspired and passionate about creating awareness in the community and building stronger, self reliant and better citizens of tomorrow
6.Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
Jeevna:My goal is to create awareness among children because they are the future of this world. I took the first step recently by conducting a workshop on organic gardening for 30 students.
My dream is to make Tiruppur, the place I live in Tamilnadu, India, a better place to live with residents growing their own organic food.
I would like to see myself as a better person sharing my experiences and contributing towards a greener earth by spreading awareness and importance of kitchen waste management consequently leading to growing one’s own veggies .
Every other day I answer queries related to rooftop gardening and tips for a healthy harvest .
A few projects of waste management, conducting workshops for children to go green etc are underway.
Gardening being a long term concept and a rooftop garden is no different.
We should never undermine our intentions by starting big initially as too many plants need very high maintenance.
Instead , it is good to start with a few plants ( as I did) that require minimal upkeep and as we add more , we build our knowledge and experience by documenting our failures which will in turn give us the confidence to try more.
BUILD UP CONFIDENCE BY STARTING SMALL.
Note:Always keep a base of foliages so that they keep the rooftop or balcony green even through the harsh summers and winters.
Thanks a lot Jeevna for sharing your success story towards the world of creating greenery and we wish you all the very best for your future plans.
Jeevna:Thank you for giving me this opportunity and recognising my work.