India: Tomatoes on the terrace


Chitra Krishnaswamy explains the method of composting watse to students. Photo M. Periasamy.

It is not so difficult to grow your own vegetables at home, says Chitra Krishnaswamy

By Parshathy. J. Nath
The Hindu
Amy 19, 2013


Last June, Chitra Krishnaswamy, a home maker, decided to take up terrace farming. What began as a hobby soon grew into a passion. Six months later, Chitra’s terrace garden has grown in to a full-fledged farm with 14 types of greens, varieties of tomatoes, chillies, radishes, ladies finger, pineapples, and sapotas. Now Chithra spends almost the entire day on her terrace, tending to her greens and fruits.

Her family has not bought any vegetables from the market, for the last two months, says Chitra. “At times we get so many vegetables that I end up gifting them away. There is a big difference in taste between these and the ones you get in the market. These are so fresh and juicy!”

More than terrace gardening, what caught her interest was kitchen waste composting. She ordered around 30 – 40 terracotta kambas (jars) from Daily Dump, an organisation based out of Bangalore. In a shed outside her house, she has around 38 kambas and 100 leave-it pots for storing the manure. “These have holes that facilitate the process of aeration, which is essential for composting.” Chitra is the only dealer for these containers in the city.

Chitra says every house- hold can reduce the garbage in the neighbourhood, if they made use of their kitchen wastes. “Many families hesitate to make manure out of kitchen wastes as they feel storing these wastes will produce a bad odour or it is unhygienic. However, they can’t be more wrong. The minute you mix it with dry leaves and microbes and leave it for composting, the bacteria start their work. In a day it turns into compost and, there won’t be any foul smell. ”

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