For the upcoming Sustainability Shorts Film Festival, I had the opportunity to review several short films based on various different topics relating to sustainability. A lot of these films revolved around pollution and waste generation, how these affect the environment, and what we need to do to control it. There were some others about habitat restoration for animals and sea creatures, and some about living sustainable lifestyles. One that particularly stood out to me was a documentary titled Green Soil.
The documentary talks about a couple from Pune, India, who started their own little farm on the terrace of their apartment building. They have a solid yield of several different fruits and vegetables, and their produce is of excellent quality in terms of taste and shelf life. When asked about the success story behind this farm, the owners say that they owe it all to “green soil.” Green soil is a compost created by adding leaf litter, vegetable waste, food waste, any other biodegradable waste, certain cultures and cow dung. This kind of soil is very rich in nutrients and is very rich in micro-organisms, all of which provides a thriving growth environment for the crops.
So what are the benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables? The first and foremost advantage is that you get products that are completely organic. When you use compost as fertilizer, you know that there are no chemical additives to the produce. Instead of over-spending on organic grocery, it is much more cost efficient to grow your own. Another advantage is improved taste and shelf-life. Often times when you pick vegetables from a grocery store, you see that some are riper than others. This is because store-bought vegetables are pulled off the vines long before they arrive on the product aisles. With your own home grown produce, you have the choice to let them be on the vines until they are ripe and ready to be used. This helps you derive maximum benefit in terms of taste, and also avoids spoilage and wastage. Home-grown fruits and vegetables also have higher nutritional values. A lot of produce available in grocery stores has been chemically treated to give it the perfect appearance, and this often disguises the compromise made on nutritional value. When you grow your own produce organically, you can keep this in check as well.
Alongside acknowledging the advantages of a home vegetable garden, it is also important to note that it is challenging. Several aspects need to be taken into consideration. It is important to start growing varieties that are available locally and are also adaptable to the local climate. It is also important to start planting at the right time of the year. Planting and harvesting times vary greatly for different crops, so choosing the right crop for your garden is critical. Preparing the soil right is key to having a successful home vegetable garden. Opt for organic soils such as the green soil since it is nutrient-rich, organic, and excellent yielding. Once you begin planting, you should utilize space efficiently by planting in rows, and meeting the needs of of the different plants. Regular fertilizing and removal of weeds will help your gardening thrive. Additionally, keep an eye for insects and pests. Keep rotating your crops and harvest regularly. And most importantly, give it time and patience. Start small and move upward from there. You need to put in the best efforts to reap the best results, or in this case, harvests.