Most of us have (at least once) thought of growing a vegetable garden in our backyard. One of the main reasons behind this is the ever increasing use of harmful fertilizers and pesticides on the crops. Even small quantities of these fertilizers can be harmful to humans and animals. A generation of children end up having to consume toxic materials.
Thanks to the new curriculum and the various awareness campaigns by both the media and public, students nowadays have a very clear idea about the harmful effects of these chemical fertilizers. Parents should provide the necessary means to encourage kids to implement this knowledge at home. Many homes of today lack a kitchen garden and many who want a kitchen garden, do not have adequate space to create one. If this situation continues, we will soon reach a stage where farming and food security becomes an alien idea to households.
Parents can help children create a small garden in the house. It is generally believed that the various seminars and classes conducted among children are creating a renewed interest in agriculture among the younger generation. It is our responsibility to lead them on the right path.
This is help us have a pesticide-free, fertilizer-free meal at home, all within a few months. All you need for this is a few hours of your time. Kids farming is one of the simplest methods to grow your own fresh vegetables.
Let us begin with a relatively ‘easy-to-maintain’ plant – the ivy gourd or baby watermelon. This plant, will provide you with lots of fruits once they have flower. This plant which is valued for its medicinal and nutritional properties is also a favorite among the children because of its distinctive taste. Eating them regularly will help reduce the risk of diabetics, skin diseases, bronchitis, etc. The roots, stem, leaves and fruits of the plant are used for various medicinal purposes. The crushed pulp made from ivy gourd leaves are a well known remedy for headaches.
The scientific name of ivy gourd is Coccinia grandis. They are also known as little girls and IP gold.
They can be prepared the way green leafy vegetables are cooked. There are different types of ivy gourds available, depending on their bitterness. They can also be differentiated depending on the variations in their leafs. Avala, Kattan, Velli and Sulaba are the different types.
Ivy gourds are normally propagated through stem cuttings. They will grow fast in soil with sufficient moisture content. Ivy gourds will grow and flower fast. They will climb fast if a trellis is constructed. Constructing the trellis on the terrace will also help reduce the heat inside a home. The stem cutting used for planting should be 30-40 cm long. Each hole should be filled with top soil, manure, compost and planted with 2 stem cuttings. These stem cuttings should have at least 3 leaves.
May, June, September and October are the best times to start the cultivation. If proper irrigation facility is available, the cuttings can be planted any time. Manure and neem cakes will help prevent a lot of pests and diseases. Another effective method is to mix Trichoderma with jiggery solution. You can also prevent infections with pseudomonas. An alternative to this is to mix garlic, neem, chillis and cow urine.