Returning to his homeland from Bengaluru after retirement, Thodupuzha-native Punnoose Jacob wished to pursue farming as a passion. His household primarily based in Idukki has a background in agriculture and the sexagenarian wished to provide it a strive too.
However the unavailability of land was a problem for him to start out large-scale farming. So, he determined to take it gradual and picked vegetable cultivation on a terrace.
“There’s a three-storeyed constructing we’ve got rented out simply reverse my home. It has a large 3,500 sq. ft terrace the place I selected to farm. I’m a perfectionist so all the pieces was arrange neatly, although the backyard was small at first,” says the 63-year-old gardener.
Punnoose initially planted vegetable seeds in a couple of develop baggage. Tomato, chilli, brinjal, okra and cucumber had been a few of them. Inside two years, the variety of develop baggage and vegetable varieties expanded. He put in a drip irrigation system in order that the watering course of grew to become simpler. All of the develop baggage are positioned on iron stands of 1.5 ft in peak. Clay roof tiles are positioned beneath every bag in order that further combination is sucked by them.
Six years in the past, Punnoose even put collectively a shed on the terrace which retains the vegetation secure from excessive rain and daylight. “The shed was arrange after receiving a subsidy from the agricultural division,” he provides.
At this time the gardener grows greens like zucchini and cauliflower and sells them beneath a model referred to as ‘Mangalam Meals’ for a hard and fast value. “Day by day, a median of 20-25 kg greens are harvested from my terrace. It’s packed and brought to the closest margin-free grocery store the place they’re bought out inside hours,” gushes the gardener.
Pepper spray approach
Punnoose credit using natural fertilisers and pesticides for his success. “I take advantage of natural slurry and fish amino as the foremost fertilisers. The combination is added in a hard and fast amount each week. I’ve ready a chart for a similar to not miss any day,” he shares.
The star of his farm is the pesticide created from ghost pepper, one of many spiciest chillies on the planet. “Ghost pepper is principally grown in Rajasthan. I’ve a couple of saplings of it, grown for pesticide functions. After drying and powdering the chillies, it’s diluted in water and sprayed on the leaves of the vegetation. Though pest assaults are much less right here, this methodology works immediately. However utmost care is to be taken whereas conducting the method,” he warns.
Other than the crops on his terrace, Punnoose grows creeper greens like bottle gourds, bitter gourds and snake gourds in his residence backyard. “I promote all of them gadgets for a hard and fast value, it doesn’t matter what the market value is. For the reason that veggies are grown organically, individuals don’t hesitate to purchase both. For instance, even when the market value of tomatoes is Rs 10 or Rs 100, one kilogram of my tomatoes is bought for Rs 90. Equally, chillies are priced at Rs 120 and okra at Rs 70,” he explains.
Just a few styles of fruits like mangosteen, chikoo and mango are additionally grown in his backyard.
One other speciality of Punnose’s backyard is that he makes use of the identical soil over and once more. “Because the backyard is situated on the third ground, it’s not straightforward to hold soil on a regular basis. After one cycle of harvest, I combine fertilisers within the soil and go away them in a nook to regain their diet. So solely half of the full soil is utilised at a time. The opposite half is left for relaxation. This helps within the higher development of vegetation,” he says.
Lately, Punnoose obtained the Kerala authorities’s Greatest Terrace Farmer of the District award. “The award turned out to be my motivation to plant extra greens. However greater than the earnings, I worth the peace of thoughts and satisfaction I obtain from farming. This passion makes my retirement life calmer and happier,” he provides.
The gardener has now employed two employees to take care of the vegetation and maintain the packaging. “I’m planning so as to add 100 extra develop baggage to the gathering and herald new unique vegetable varieties that are in nice demand available in the market,” he shares.
Edited by Yoshita Rao
Photograph credit: Punnoose Jacob