Varieties of organic keerai. Kalavathy has grown them this season.

V. V. Kalavathy, a resident of Narasimhapuram, Mylapore says that these past few months at home has helped her experiment with different kinds of organic keerai and fruits in her garden.

For more than a decade, Kalavathy, who lives in an independent house, has been growing organic vegetables and fruits on her terrace and in the space around her home.

She says she has been harvesting veggies like brinjal, chillies, lady’s finger and tomatoes from her garden regularly and has also been sharing them with their neighbours.

When the lockdown was announced, she realized that she could use the time at home to try something different.

She tried planting the seeds of one or two varieties of keerai first and when she got a good harvest, she slowly tried other forms of the greens.

She says she now has 12 different varieties of keerai growing including thooduvalai, ponnangani, pudina, kodi pasalai (vine spinach), vallarai and ceylon pasalai.

And that’s not all. She also planted bitter gourd about three months ago and harvested about 3 kgs. The cantaloupe plant that she worked hard to nourish recently yielded one fruit.

Kalavathy has also had the time to try out different kinds of home-made organic fertilizers.

She says, “A good fertilizer can be made with vegetable and fruit peels. Just boil them and keep them overnight. In the morning, mix water that is used to wash rice and tea powder along with it and filter it. Add some more water to dilute it and then spray it on the plants. I have tried it out on fruits and veggies and have seen good results”.

Kalavathy says good compost can be made from tea leaves.

“Get the used tea powder from your local tea shop, put it in a bottle with a few earthworms and make holes in the lid for air circulation and you will get rich compost in 45 days”. Compost, she says, can also be made with dry leaves, coconut fibre, sour buttermilk and jaggery mixed up in a used tray or mud pot.

This is one Mylaporean who has gone far in gardening. You can reach her at 9444258021.

Kalavathy innovates. She puts kitchen waste, except onion, ginger and garlic, inside a small biogas plant at her home. The biogas plant is connected to a small burner and she can cook for about an hour and a half everyday out of the gas generated by this plant. The waste water that comes out of the biogas plant is diluted and used as a fertilizer for the plants in her garden.

The biogas plant was set up in 2018 by M. Jagadish, the owner of Tamilnadu Biogas. It was set up at a cost of Rs.10000. Jagadish can be contacted at 8124820036