Impact of inflation: for some, patio gardens are not just a hobby, but also a way to save money

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Most of them never look at monetary benefits; but they have everything to gain in times of sharply rising vegetable prices

Most of them never look at monetary benefits; but they have everything to gain in times of sharply rising vegetable prices

Imagine going up to your terrace, picking some tomatoes for Rasamsome ladies finger for currya ridge gourd or two for kootu and cook your meal. That’s what Thayumanavan Gunabalan, 39, has been doing for years now.

A professor of electronics and electrical engineering at Panruti, Mr. Gunabalan only buys onions and garlic at the market. From sweet potatoes to lemongrass and tomatoes to chili peppers, her terraced garden yields a terrific harvest almost all year round.

When vegetable prices soared this month, some patio gardeners barely felt the pinch as they could pretty much sustain themselves without having to rely heavily on produce from the market. “I have nearly 200 plants on my terrace. Every week we plan the menu at home according to the harvest we get. Of Murungakkai Sambhar at herbal tea, we do everything at home,” he says.

Moreover, with the harvest he gets, he also manages to sell spinach and earns ₹1,500 per month.

Padma Rameshkumar, 42, from Madipakkam, says that for most of the year she gets brinjal, tomato, different varieties of chillies, spinach, bitter gourds, snake gourds and ladyfingers . “I also used nearly 250 water canisters and jars for vegetables. Every month, I can save ₹2,000-2,500 because I don’t need to buy all the vegetables,” she adds.

Mythreyan Manishankar, a 43-year-old technician who also does business, says the pandemic has helped many people get serious about patio gardening. He started with a few plants nine years ago. Now he grows not only vegetables but also a variety of fruits. “The terrace is filled with almost 300 jars for not only the routine vegetables, but also lettuce, cucumbers, rosemary, dragon fruit, chikoo, lemons, guava, orange and potato. ‘water. 60-70% of my cooking needs are taken care of and I save almost ₹2000 per month and sometimes even more.

Most of them never look at the monetary benefits before embarking on terrace gardens, but in times of sharply rising vegetable prices, these gardens help them tremendously, says Anoop Kumar CP, organic farming and horticulture consultant . “The most important aspect is that a family can eat organic and healthy food. The resulting happiness and satisfaction are immeasurable. If a person has a garden of around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet, they can definitely get by without having to buy most of the vegetables,” he adds.

Subashree Vijay, an expert in terracing and plant-based gardening, says that for someone starting out on a large scale, there is a substantial investment; but it won’t pinch their pockets afterwards. “From the kitchen remains, you will get the compost and the homemade natural insect repellent. Then one has to buy neem cakes and some other essentials which may not cost ₹400-500 per month. You only need to spend an hour or two a day in your garden. Gardening will not only fill you with joy, it will also save you a lot of money,” she adds.

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