Among the many challenges of terrace farming is the lifting of heavy materials like soil to the rooftop. However Thodupuzha-born farmer S Ok Hari says his “light-weight” potting combination might be a approach to clear up the difficulty.
A former authorities worker and bookseller, the Kerala resident took up farming full-time in 2015. His product Ecothrive, he says, is usually a boon for farmers and gardeners preferring nurturing their vegetation in pots or develop luggage. “The potting combine is just not solely light-weight, but in addition comprises a number of natural elements that assist higher progress and well being of the plant,” Hari tells The Higher India.
Working as a bookseller for a number of years, Hari says that it was the truth is the books he learn that impressed him to take up agriculture.
He later give up the job on account of its tiring nature and subsequent well being points. “I used to spend round 12-15 hours in entrance of the pc day by day and this began affecting my well being. To enhance my well being, I began vegetable farming on my land,” says the 57-year-old.
In 2016, he attended coaching in pure farming in Bengaluru. “I began farming in Marayoor in Idukki, in and round 10 acres on a buddy’s land. I spent round Rs 8 – 10 lakh to arrange the farm. It was a profitable enterprise and I used to be in a position to promote greens for Rs 1 lakh monthly. However sadly, I used to be requested to go away the land,” says Hari, including that he needed to promote his personal land to pay the debt.
In 2020, he took up the dealership of a potting combination from an individual. He began promoting the combination to individuals and nurseries within the locality.
“This was how I obtained to know extra about potting combination and its excessive demand available in the market. The suggestions for the product was the truth is very constructive to start with. However ultimately, I began receiving complaints from the customers. Many complained that their vegetation are dying,” he explains.
“After a couple of inquiries, I realised that the one who offered the potting combine to me by no means had a license from the agriculture division. He was promoting an unauthorised product. I misplaced round Rs 1 lakh on this.”
Although there have been a number of setbacks, Hari wasn’t prepared to surrender but. He approached the Coir board to assist him with formulating a superb potting combination.
“They helped me by sharing the know-how for making the right potting combination. By means of their coaching, I discovered the approach to compost coco peat, which types the foremost part within the potting combination. I formulated the remaining utilizing my very own experiences and observations,” he provides.
On why he focussed on making the combination light-weight, he says, “I’ve personally felt the problem of lifting heaving supplies like soil and heavy pots or develop luggage. For aged individuals like us, it’s usually a activity to handle weight, particularly in terrace gardens. Due to this fact, I actually wished the combination to be as light-weight as potential.”
A Central Coir Analysis Institute worker who’s a part of the extension actions like coaching within the institute says, “The product relies on coco peat, however the remainder of the substances and the ratio through which they’ve been blended had been formulated by Hari. Even I’ve personally used the combination and would say that it really works very well. I’ve planted a couple of greens like chillies and okra they usually all have come out wholesome.”
Wealthy in vitamins, quicker yield
In early 2021, after a number of makes an attempt by way of trial and error, Hari was in a position to give you a formulation for the appropriate natural light-weight potting combination.
“Apart from cocopeat, the combination is product of substances like cow dung compost, egg shells, neem cake, clamshell powder and so forth. It’s wealthy in important vitamins like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) that assist correct progress and growth in vegetation. The PH degree of the combination is between 6.5 to 7, which is good for plant progress,” he explains.
“Beneath the geographic and weather conditions in my area, the vegetation develop quicker than those grown in soil with this combine. Additionally they yield quicker and extra harvests,” he claims, including that it’d change from one place to a different relying on exterior components just like the thickness and salinity of the soil.
Hari additionally obtained a license for the combination from the Kerala agriculture division. The Central Coir Analysis Institute worker says, “Whereas making use of for a license, one must attend a course by the agriculture division. Apart from, the samples of the product must be despatched to state-approved labs as per the division’s order. They are going to be examined for sure parameters and the license shall be given [accordingly].”
In line with Hari, the combination is ideal for planting backyard vegetation and greens and it needs to be used with out mixing it with soil.
“I’ve discovered that when blended with soil, the standard of the combination is compromised. Its finest function is that it’s mild and due to this fact lets the roots of the plant thrive effectively, in contrast to with soil, which is heavy and thick. The combination additionally lets the roots get sufficient air, leading to higher progress,” he says.
Hari has arrange a backyard on his neighbor’s terrace, rising greens like okra, brinjal, and spinach, in addition to and flowering vegetation like marigolds in the identical potting combination.
He suggests filling 1 / 4 of the pot with charcoal leaves after which filling the remaining half with this combination.
“This could be sufficient for the preliminary progress of the plant. Because the combination is wealthy in vitamins, there is no such thing as a want to use any manure for not less than per week or two. Later, you’ll be able to apply any sort of manure or the identical potting combination. If the roots are uncovered on the floor, one can sprinkle some combine on it. The vegetation should be water based on the moisture content material within the combination,” he elaborates.
Josephine Paulinose, an 81-year-old gardening fanatic from Kalamassery, has been shopping for the potting combine from Hari for the previous a number of months. “The potting combine may be very efficient, particularly for rooting new vegetation. As it’s mild and ethereal, the roots thrive very well and I had noticed it in my anthuriums. Additionally it is wealthy in all important vitamins and due to this fact aids higher progress. Apart from, it’s light-weight, making it excellent for hanging pots,” she says.
Hari says that he and his household are actually actively concerned in making the combination. He has additionally began promoting the combination to close by nurseries and native retailers. “As a result of constructive response from my clients, we are actually planning to scale up the manufacturing,” he says.
For extra info and enquiries, you’ll be able to WhatsApp him at 9400313266.
Edited by Divya Sethu; Photograph credit: SK Hari