The Kitchen Gardener: Vijay Satish – ‘At 6 am in the morning, planting is pure meditation’

Meet a Jayanagar resident, IT engineer cum organic terrace gardener who gets 90% of what he consumes from his terrace!


Meet a Jayanagar resident, IT engineer cum organic terrace gardener who gets 90% of what he consumes from his terrace! 

At a time when young earning professionals are probably putting off their concern for the environment to a more relaxed phase of life, Vijay Satish from Jayanagar puts on his garden hat and sets to work every morning on his 1500 sq feet terrace garden. A software engineer by profession and gardener since the day he turned 21, Vijay harvests all kinds of vegetables on his terrace. “Tomatoes, chillies, brinjal, capsicum, coriander are daily harvests at home since we consume these vegetables the most. I buy only potatoes, onions and yam from the market. Everything else comes right from my kitchen garden”, said the gardener who gets 90% of what he consumes from his terrace.

Vijay Satish in his garden

Vijay comes from a family of farmers, “We still have our coconut and areca farms. However my father and grandfather gave up farming once we moved to Bangalore.”

‘I have been helping out in the garden since I was 5’

Oregano says hi to the rain

My earliest memories of my family are times when we always grew something at home. Our plants were largely ornamental and small greens and herbs are also grown around the house. Since I was 5 years old, I have been observing my dad gardening and helping out, and this triggered off my interest. However the turning point came when I started earning at 21 and did not see the value in ornamental plants. I felt that it was a senseless investment in gardening where you get zero value. With vegetables I can enjoy a greener environment and my stomach is also content in the process!

‘Our kids are seeing brinjal and carrot only in textbooks. That has to change’

“Today my mom plans all the meals at home according to whichever harvest is coming up. It is nice knowing what’s cooking at home and the best part is relishing the sambar being made since the vegetables were grown by me! When you start growing your own food, you you never waste any. Another thing is when I shop organic products wherever I will never bargain not even for Rs 5-10 since I understand that growing food organically takes time and can relate to the grower.

Brinjal

Education is an eye opener for many. Kitchen gardening is an educational tool and many families are realising the benefits of having a garden at home.”

On gardening being time consuming

It is definitely time consuming, but my family helps me out a lot. Also when I travel I can depend on them, otherwise all the work like water requirement, replanting, soil, compost, pest control etc I handle alone. It is the greatest stress buster and keeps me relaxed. In the evening I usually wind down with a cup of coffee or have my friends over the week and weekends. Conversations happen and it is a great mind stimulator.

Garden Secrets

Round Radish – 50 days from direct sowing to harvest !

For people starting out and confused when to sow vegetables in which season, this calendar gives you a good idea of when to sow your seeds. (However please note that these are only the best times and vegetables can be grown throughout the year as well)

 

Month North India South India
JANUARY Brinjal Lettuce, Spinach, Gourds, Melons, Radish, Carrot, Onion, Tomato,Okra,Brinjal, Bean
FEBRUARY Applegourd, Bittergourd, Bottle gourd, Cucumber, French Beans, Okra, Sponge, Gourd, Watermelon, Spinach Same as January
MARCH Same as February Amaranthus, Coriander, Gourds, Beans, Melons, Spinach, Okra
APRIL Capsicum Onion, Amaranthus, Coriander, Gourds, Okra, Tomato, Chilly
MAY Onion, Pepper, Brinjal Okra, Onion, Chilly
JUNE All gourds, Brinjal, Cucumber, Cauliflower (Early), Okra, Onion,Sem,Tomato,Pepper Gourds, Solanaeceae,Almost all vegetables
JULY All gourds, Cucumber, Okra, Sem, Tomato Same as June
AUGUST Carrot, Cauliflower, Radish, Tomato Carrot, Cauliflower, Beans, Beet
SEPTEMBER Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Peas, Radish, Tomato, Lettuce Cauliflower, Cucumber, Onion,Peas,Spinach
OCTOBER Beet, Brinjal, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Spinach, Turnip Brinjal, Cabbage,Capsicum,Cucumber, Beans,Peas, Spinach, Turnip, Watermelon
NOVEMBER Turnip, Tomato, Radish, Pepper, Peas, Beet Beet, Eggplant, Cabbage, Carrot, Beans, Lettuce, Melon, Okra, Turnip
DECEMBER Tomato Lettuce, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Muskmelon, Ash gourd, Ridge gourd, Bitter gourd, Bottle gourd, Cucumber, Chilly, Cabbage

‘Keep your plants hale and hearty – Try these methods’

Bitter gourd seeds in super bright red colour. It makes for a nice contrast of the yellowish skin of the fruit to the blood red seed combination

a. Tomatoes leaves curling,Brown Patches on leaves and wilting, Bottom Rot on Tomatoes ?  Here is a great tip -Your plant may be iron deficient, dissolve one capsule of iron in one litre of water and pour ½ a cup into each of your tomato plants.

B. The next day, take Lime (Chunna in Hindi) used in Paan, Dilute about 3 pinches or 1 inch paste quantity in one litre of water and pour ½ cup into tomato plants Plants require nutrients as well, this is one method of ensuring they get their healthy dose!

The Kitchen Gardener is a fortnightly series on urban farmers who grow fresh produce in their backyards leading to growing people, community and a more sustainable earth. From journeys of starting to challenges along the way and practical wisdom, the kitchen gardening series helps you kickstart your own food patch wherever you live.


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kavya is a student of sustainable development studies, interested in meeting, travelling, networking with individuals in the sustainable space and engaging people in environmental activities. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kavya is a student of sustainable development studies, interested in meeting, travelling, networking with individuals in the sustainable space and engaging people in environmental activities. more

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  • Great stuff. I am surely going to try out gardening with milk crates. It’s so strange that I couldn’t come up with an idea on what to grow the vegetables in. I have tried in vain to grow them in small pots which I had, but they turned out to be small. Going to use this idea now. Thanks for the suggestions on what to grow in which month too. Cheers.