Aspiring farmer makes switch from CA to gardening

HYDERABAD: A chartered accountant by qualification, Srinath has now set his mind set on becoming a farmer. But before he donned this hat full time, he created a low-cost garden on his terrace at Dammaiguda to study how vegetables are grown.

Instead of going for the regular cement or earthen pots, he got a few defective plastic bottles from a manufacturing unit and turned those into pots. “I filled the bottles with different layers to increase the water retention and nutrient level. I generally grow plants from the legume family. In my garden, the cost comes to Rs 100 per container, whereas with cement or earthen pots go up to Rs 300. My main agenda is to grow food,” Srinath says.

His garden consists of multiple plants including tomatoes, drumsticks, Indian and Jamaican roselle, cluster beans, cucumbers etc. “I have put 20 containers as a pilot project. I also grow marigold flowers which keeps the pests away,” he says.

Apart from the terrace garden, he has another garden around his house. He comes from a family of farmers and his mother is a gardener too. “In the other garden, we have flowering plants like hibiscus and fruit trees like coconuts and pomegranates. We also grow coriander and mint leaves.”

Explaining that the whole process is organic, Srinath says, “We make compost from kitchen waste. I also collect dry leaves and use them as mulch. We don’t use any chemical pesticide. If needed, we use natural pesticides like sour buttermilk, neem oil and soap nut water. If there are pests, I like to handpick them, or leave them for the natural predators like lizards and beetles.”

The gardener says, “Since vegetables have shallow roots, they need regular watering. So I water them twice a day. I collected the seeds from farmers who I met at seed festivals. Now I have 70-80 varieties.” The farmer has completed a couple of permaculture courses and is also pursuing a course from Water and Land Management Training Institute.