Nurture the herbs in your balcony
Patil, 43, is better known among the Mumbai's green fraternity as a founder of the farming community, Urban Leaves. Her own kitchen garden started at the same time as Urban Leaves. "I realised that if I had to teach people how to grow fruits and vegetables in the little space they have, I would have to try it first," says Patil. So she converted her little balcony, three by ten feet, into a kitchen garden. The balcony now has an abundance of green -- kadipatta (curry leaves), lemon grass, turmeric and suran (yam), along with tiny shoots of spearmint, peppermint and tulsi.
Tucked away in the corners of this garden lie two earthen pots. These home-composting units are the soul of her garden. Home composting, says Patil, is necessary not only to ensure healthy plants but also for sustainability. "For a city to be sustainable, it is important that growth and decay happen in a cycle. If each household recycles its own waste, 80% of which is kitchen waste, it would lower the burden on landfills," says Patil. The resultant home-composted soil is nutrient-rich and eliminates the need for fertilisers and pesticides, making it ideal for a small kitchen garden.
Besides it is a useful lesson on recycling and decomposing waste matter.