Gardening tips from the man who harvested 100 kg of vegetables in just 1 week

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NOTandlal Master from Nagepur village in Uttar Pradesh moved to Varanasi. He changed his base for professional reasons and built a three-storey house in 2011. But very soon he missed his rural way of life. Coming from an agricultural background, he wanted to have access to fresh vegetables harvested on the farm.

“The vegetables I bought at the market were not as fresh as those in my village. Plus, they were loaded with chemicals and had less nutritional value. I missed the fresh food grown in the village,” says Nandlal The best India.

In addition, the waste generated by his cooking in the village was decomposed on his farm. But in an urban setting, Nandlal struggled to separate it and put it in a trash can, unaware of its fate.

So Nandlal decided to use his 1,000 square foot terrace to grow vegetables. Today, his terrace is a verdant paradise filled with an abundance of chemical-free vegetables basking in the sun from 200 pots. More importantly, kitchen scraps from her home go into a composting unit that enriches the nutritional value of her plants.

Gourd and other vines at Nandlal.

Sharing his journey in the vegetable garden, Nandlal says, “Initially, I grew flowering plants and other garden plants. However, my curiosity crept in to find out if I could grow vegetables on my patio. So I started experimenting,” says the 43-year-old.

Nandlal, a social worker from an NGO, started growing leafy vegetables. “They were easier to grow and gave me the confidence to grow other varieties,” he says. Later, he started growing brinjal, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, cauliflower, okra, garlic, cucumber, tomato and other seasonal vegetables.

To process kitchen waste, he created a 30-foot bed to compost the waste and create organic manure. “I used compost to provide plant nutrients, which reduced my reliance on external manure supplies. I have created organic pest control solutions designed from neem, cow urine and other natural agricultural products,” he says, adding, “My village farming experience and a workshop on natural farming at zero budget helped me identify solutions.

To improve the nutrient content of his pots, he alternates crop varieties in addition to adding compost.

The global solutions help him grow 100 kilos of vegetables a week. “I grow seasonal vegetables and use about eight pots of each variety. Recently I harvested around 70 kilos of cauliflower, 3 kilos of brinjal and around 12 kilos of squash. I also received a kilo of okra a day,” he shares.

Nandlal says his surplus crop is more than enough to meet his and his wife Ranju’s vegetable needs.

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“We started giving the fresh produce to the neighbours. They appreciated the quality of the food. Some were also impressed by the photos I shared on WhatsApp and Facebook,” he says.

Organic gardening on the terrace
Leafy vegetables at Nandlal terrace garden.

Nandlal started receiving requests from people and guided 20 families to grow organic vegetables.

Lal Bahadur, one of the neighbors inspired by Nandlal, says, “Like Nandlal, I was also concerned about the quality of plant products available in the market. I was initially skeptical about growing vegetables on the patio, but asked her to help me through the process.

He adds that today he is slowly growing seven types of vegetables, expanding his terrace garden. “I aim to become as independent as Nandlal in terms of vegetable needs in the future,” he adds.

Nandlal is happy to have inspired his neighborhood to take a step towards a chemical-free lifestyle. “My terraced farm also serves as a mini garden that provides respite and relief from toxic air pollution,” he adds.

He hopes to inspire many more and increase his reach via social media.

For more gardening tips, call Nandlal on 9415300520.

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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