It’s fresh from the garden produce for these neighbors in the capital of Kerala.


When Kerala went in for a State-wide lockdown on March 23 to gradual the unfold of COVID-19, Baiju Chandran and his neighbours in Thiruvananthapuram district feared a scarcity of greens if the pandemic had been to take a flip for the more serious and the lockdown prolonged.

As a substitute of merely speaking about it, they determined to do one thing productive. The subsequent day, they started engaged on a bit of vacant land that belongs to Pradeep Kumar S, Baiju’s neighbour.

Baiju Chandran

“All that there was on the plot was a tiny shed, which we now use to accommodate our gardening instruments. I used to be planning to start out an car restore store on the land however when Baiju, his brother Shiju, and Shibu Kumar, one other neighbour of ours, steered we use the land to start out a vegetable farm, I agreed,” says Pradeep.

Pradeep Kumar

The land was tilled and fertilised with natural manure earlier than they began planting types of amaranthus, inexperienced chilli and tomatoes.

Two months later, the 14-cent plot of land at Pazhakutty, Nedumangadu, has became a vegetable backyard. Sorts of amaranthus have simply been harvested and the staff that toiled on the plot are all set to pluck cucumbers, girl’s finger, brinjal and so forth. “We hope to plant yam, ash gourd, snake gourd and pumpkin… quickly in order that we will harvest them in time for Onam [late August],” says Baiju, a senior-grade assistant on the Kerala Authorities Secretariat.

Constructive engagement

“Aside from having the ability to decide recent greens from our backyard, turning to gardening through the lockdown was additionally a manner for us to do one thing constructive with the time we had on our fingers,” says Pradeep.


Pradeep used to run a farm in Panavoor on the outskirts of the town. Nonetheless, as soon as he took up a job as a JCB driver, farming took a again seat. The lockdown gave him the nudge he wanted to choose up the hoe.

“Earlier than the lockdown guidelines had been relaxed, we’d begin our day at 6 am and be out within the discipline until 11 am. We’d then resume gardening by 5 pm and wind up by 7 pm. As all of us are again at work once more we farm largely within the evenings and almost the entire of Sunday,” says Pradeep, who finds gardening “therapeutic.”

Shibu Kumar

Baiju found his inexperienced thumb and keenness for gardening 4 years in the past when he determined to start out a kitchen backyard after studying media experiences that many of the greens obtainable out there had been usually sprayed with pesticides. Apprehensive at how the pesticides might have an effect on his well being and that of his household’s, he started studying up on gardening.

“I consider seasonal greens and plant every thing from inexperienced chillies and tomatoes to broccoli and beetroot on my rooftop backyard. As I had no prior expertise in gardening, I attended numerous programs organised by Thiruvananthapuram Karshika Koottayma. Specialists in numerous gardening teams I’m part of helped me with no matter queries I had,” he explains.

Shiju Chandran

Their households additionally assist them with their farming.

Shibu, a business items car driver, finds the act of harvesting “essentially the most satisfying” in the entire gardening course of. “I used to assist out in farming at an ashram in Pothencode on Sundays. I nonetheless go there after my time in our discipline. There’s something particular about having a dish comprised of substances proper out of your backyard. Actually, I’m wanting ahead to making ready the Onam sadya with our greens,” he says.

Shiju Chandran, a junior co-operative inspector on the Division of Cooperation, chuckles when he says their neighbours are all impressed by their gardening. “On some days, we get extra greens that we promote in our neighbourhood. Because the flavours of freshly farmed, natural greens are distinctive when cooked, many have requested us for seeds and saplings. It appears like gardening is quick changing into a pastime for a lot of.”

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