‘Namma Veettu Velanmai’ event held at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

There were men and women, young and old. And, they had travelled long distances to learn because the subject was of significance to them. The huge turnout at the ‘Namma Veettu Velanmai’ event showed that the interest among urban public to grow vegetables and flowers in home spaces has grown by leaps and bounds.

An event of The Hindu Tamil, it surprisingly drew more men than women to the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here on Friday. There were also many senior citizens who visited the event, which comprised stalls showcasing the various methods of kitchen and roof gardening, the inputs needed, and everything related to making even a little space in someone’s small home green. In just two hours, there were nearly 160 footfalls at the stalls.

Students of the Department of Horticulture of the university were at the stalls explaining growing vegetables and flowers of all sizes and shapes in holders of all sizes and shapes, all the while trying to impress upon the visitors the importance of turning wealth out of waste.

From used shoes, plastic bottles, shuttle boxes, to used plastic shelves and holders, they had demonstrated how simple household articles could be redesigned to plant the seeds of one’s choice in the available space.

For those who did not have even a balcony, they had suggestions to hang plants from the ceiling or near the window. Models of houses were displayed to show the layout of terrace gardens.

They patiently cleared many doubts of the visitors and also gave solutions to particular problems of those who were already into roof / kitchen gardening.

Use of coir pith instead of mud for roof gardens to reduce weight of the container and increase water retention, UV-treated polythene bags instead of pots to grow plants, and other innovative alternatives were shared by the students.

They even gave addresses and contact numbers of organisations where visitors could get inputs.

Many were seen clicking pictures of the display, buying seeds and manure, and also literature on gardening.

M. Jayalakshmi from Singanallur who is constructing an independent house, was very happy with the information she received at the event. “It was very useful and gave me lot of ideas. Now I have a small garden in the apartment I am living in. The information I gained was on growing medicinal plants. I wish there are more such events organised at different venues in the city,” she said.

After the stalls, they got to see and hear from TNAU senior faculty and students on techniques used to undertake roof / kitchen gardening efficiently.

S. Mahimairaja, Dean (Agriculture), said that seeing even a small plant growing in a pot in one’s house could bring so much happiness. He encouraged people to take up roof / kitchen gardening in earnest as this was a small step in not only increasing food production but also promoting food security.

K. Asokan, Editor of The Hindu Tamil, and TNAU faculty spoke.

Mahendra Pumps was the co-sponsor of the event.

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