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Organic City Farm in Chandigarh, India

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Flower Sherbet. The lad from Udaipur brought enthusiasm and ideas galore. Upon his suggestion we went for a neighbourhood flower gathering spree and returned to make the first batch of hibiscus sherbet.

Secret Sacred Garden

By Moonstar Kaur Doad
Urban Organic Farmer
Punjab, Chandigarh, India

Flower Sherbet

Soak 35 flowers in 1 kg lemon juice for 6 hours approximately. Squeeze the juice out with a muslin cloth and mix 1 kg powdered sugar. Voila. Ready for the summer, instant hit with friends and family.

Only job remains to return to the neighbours with small bottled sherbet, so they realise the importance of their gardens and hopefully inspire them to start sher-betting!

Finding some wood ash for pest control

I had such a shock when I saw the leaves of almost all Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Pak Choi and Tomato plants have a strange wriggly crawl in a lighter colour. Upon investigation and frantic SOS calls to my farmer friend, the culprit appeared to be a Leaf Miner, a larvae of insects that live and eat the leaf tissue inside a leaf.

I was really worried as the plants were planted too close which allowed for easy transfer of any pest. I made a mental note to leave a gap next season. The SOS call yielded in removing all leaves infested with the Leaf Miner and burning them right away.

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Guerrilla Farming. Not despite but in-spite of all odds, the secret garden birthed and even a visit by a four legged will be read as a welcome home sign.

Now I had just finished watering the plants, so the wet leaves took the longest time to burn. The next step was to find some wood ash, which then mixed with kerosene oil is an excellent bio-pest control. Now, in India one usually finds everything in the neighbourhood as community life is still very strong, but my mind completely blanked out when I thought of where to find ash.

Then a friend suggested a Tandur (underground clay oven) and there is one I have been regularly visiting since a few weeks now. A frantic dash to the Tandur resulted in dismay as they had recently given it away (Wow, I am not the only organic kitchen gardner with pest attack in town?).

But as synchronicity dictates when I asked the soft spoken amritsari Tandur Baker, where would I find “raakh” at the earliest, he pointed to his left, where sat the Dhobhi (Coal Iron Person ) who had a big heap next to a tree with his recently emptied Iron. I thanked them all profusely and rushed back to the garden with the rescue remedy in hand. My heart hurt and I said all my prayers … please let these plants live … why are pests made anyway … what is their use in the wider play of things …

See more of this wonderful blog here.

3 comments

1 malick fal { 11.28.10 at 3:14 am }

dear madam/sir
we based in jeddah and are interested in being helped in getting workers or technicians familiar with hydroponic developement.thanks for reply
regards Malick

2 harjit singh grover { 12.09.12 at 7:06 am }

i am interested in organic farming at home, i have enough space , living in chandigarh, can u help me how to start .

3 k singh { 03.26.13 at 9:57 am }

coal ash is not as good as wood ash for gardening purposes and may have arsenic, heavy metals and other contaminants which accumulate over a period of time by repeated application