Kitchen gardens in rural Tamil Nadu
Rising costs of food have made gardening a survival skill. In rural and tribal districts of Tamil Nadu, an increasing number of village families are growing vegetables, with a little help from resource persons trained by AID India to help them start and sustain gardens in patches of land around their homes.
A little support goes a long way to see that seeds planted thrive and people make good use of the limited space and resources they have. For example, Ms. Mariammal and Ms. Akila (pictured above) are growing a variety of vegetables in plots of 100 and 50 square feet respectively. They also prepare low cost fertilizers such as panchagavya help boost soil fertility and also repel insects at various stages of the plant’s life cycle.
What is panchagavya? AID India project director Malay explains: “It is prepared by mixing cow dung, cow urine, ghee, cow milk, curd, tender coconut, sugarcane juice, banana and jaggery. It is kept unused for 21 days and mixed twice a day. After 21 days, the fertilizer is diluted with water and sprayed on the plants once in two weeks. This is considered most effective among all the organic fertilizers.”
Through such techniques villagers are gaining confidence as well as food security and the program is spreading to more villages. At the recent meeting of AID India celebrating 27 years of service, Sudha presented the highlights of the kitchen garden program. AID congratulates the villagers and grassroots workers on their success and wishes al the best for the further growth of the program.