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India: This group of gardeners grows everything from avocados to grapes

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The gardeners connect with each other, exchange seeds and plant cuttings, and share tips and experiences.

By Rajeswari Parasa
News Minute
Sept 8, 2021


It was in 2017 that Mani Ratnam and his family built their own house in Andhra Pradesh’s Machilipatnam town. Mani, a Chartered Accountant by profession, was passionate about gardening since childhood but could never find time for it. Once he moved into his new home, he started small with a rooftop garden in 2018 and within three years he has more than 50 varieties of medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables growing on his terrace. And what’s more, the plants are growing abundantly without the use of any chemical fertilisers.

For his rooftop garden, Mani uses only seeds and stems, natural fertilisers, soil from fields, and prepares his own compost. And he’s not alone in this endeavour, there are about 800 other active gardeners in Machilipatnam who are part of a closed Facebook group called Bandar Brundavanam. The group was started by Mani along with another gardener, Gowri Kavitha, in October 2019. Through this group, the gardeners connect with each other, exchange seeds and plant cuttings, share tips and experiences, and do many other gardening related activities.

“We gardeners in Machilipatnam connect through the Bandar Brundavanam Facebook group and the only rule is that no one should use any kind of chemical fertilisers,” says Mani. “We often buy natural compost, grow bags and other items necessary for gardening in bulk and distribute them among ourselves so that the cost burden is reduced,” he adds.

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