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To Keep away from Heavy-Lifting, Kerala Farmer Created Light-weight Potting Combine


    Among the many challenges of terrace farming is the lifting of heavy materials like soil to the rooftop. However Thodupuzha-born farmer S Ok Hari says his “light-weight” potting combination may very well be a method to resolve the problem. 

    A former authorities worker and bookseller, the Kerala resident took up farming full-time in 2015. His product Ecothrive, he says, is usually a boon for farmers and gardeners preferring nurturing their vegetation in pots or develop luggage. “The potting combine just isn’t solely light-weight, but in addition comprises a number of natural elements that assist higher development and well being of the plant,” Hari tells The Higher India

    The turnaround

    Working as a bookseller for a number of years, Hari says that it was in reality the books he learn that impressed him to take up agriculture. 

    He later stop the job resulting from its tiring nature and subsequent well being points. “I used to spend round 12-15 hours in entrance of the pc day-after-day and this began affecting my well being. To enhance my well being, I began vegetable farming on my land,” says the 57-year-old.

    In 2016, he attended coaching in pure farming in Bengaluru. “I began farming in Marayoor in Idukki, in and round 10 acres on a buddy’s land. I spent round Rs 8 – 10 lakh to arrange the farm. It was a profitable enterprise and I used to be capable of promote greens for Rs 1 lakh per thirty days. However sadly, I used to be requested to depart the land,” says Hari, including that he needed to promote his personal land to pay the debt.

    In 2020, he took up the dealership of a potting combination from an individual. He began promoting the combination to individuals and nurseries within the locality. 

    “This was how I obtained to know extra about potting combination and its excessive demand out there. The suggestions for the product was in reality very constructive at first. However finally, I began receiving complaints from the customers. Many complained that their vegetation are dying,” he explains. 

    “After a couple of inquiries, I realised that the one who supplied the potting combine to me by no means had a license from the agriculture division. He was promoting an unauthorised product. I misplaced round Rs 1 lakh on this.”

    Although there have been a number of setbacks, Hari wasn’t prepared to surrender but. He approached the Coir board to assist him with formulating potting combination. 

    Potting mixture in the make
    The potting combination within the make at Hari’s yard

    “They helped me by sharing the know-how for making the right potting combination. By their coaching, I realized the method to compost coco peat, which varieties the foremost element within the potting combination. I formulated the remaining utilizing my very own experiences and observations,” he provides.

    On why he focussed on making the combo light-weight, he says, “I’ve personally felt the issue of lifting heaving supplies like soil and heavy pots or develop luggage. For aged individuals like us, it’s typically a activity to handle weight, particularly in terrace gardens. Due to this fact, I actually wished the combo to be as light-weight as potential.”

    A Central Coir Analysis Institute worker who’s a part of the extension actions like coaching within the institute says, “The product is predicated on coco peat, however the remainder of the components and the ratio through which they’ve been blended had been formulated by Hari. Even I’ve personally used the combination and would say that it really works rather well. I’ve planted a couple of greens like chillies and okra they usually all have come out wholesome.”

    Wealthy in vitamins, quicker yield 

    A brinjal plant at Hari's garden (left). Root formation in one of the plant's grown in the potting mix (right)
    A brinjal plant at Hari’s backyard (left). Root formation in one of many plant’s grown within the potting combine (proper)

    In early 2021, after a number of makes an attempt by trial and error, Hari was capable of give you a formulation for the fitting natural light-weight potting combination. 


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    “Aside from cocopeat, the combination is manufactured from components like cow dung compost, egg shells, neem cake, clamshell powder and so forth. It’s wealthy in important vitamins like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) that assist correct development and improvement in vegetation. The PH degree of the combination is between 6.5 to 7, which is right for plant development,” he explains. 

    “Underneath the geographic and weather conditions in my area, the vegetation develop quicker than those grown in soil with this combine. In addition they yield quicker and extra harvests,” he claims, including that it would change from one place to a different relying on exterior elements just like the thickness and salinity of the soil. 

    Hari additionally acquired a license for the combination from the Kerala agriculture division. The Central Coir Analysis Institute worker says, “Whereas making use of for a license, one must attend a course by the agriculture division. Moreover, the samples of the product must be despatched to state-approved labs as per the division’s order. They are going to be examined for sure parameters and the license will probably be given [accordingly].”

    In keeping with Hari, the combination is ideal for planting backyard vegetation and greens and it ought to be used with out mixing it with soil. 

    “I’ve discovered that when blended with soil, the standard of the combo is compromised. Its greatest function is that it’s gentle and due to this fact lets the roots of the plant thrive properly, in contrast to with soil, which is heavy and thick. The combo additionally lets the roots get sufficient air, leading to higher development,” he says. 

    A view of Hari's terrace garden.
    A view of Hari’s terrace backyard.

    Hari has arrange a backyard on his neighbor’s terrace, rising greens like okra, brinjal, and spinach, in addition to and flowering vegetation like marigolds in the identical potting combination.

    He suggests filling 1 / 4 of the pot with charcoal leaves after which filling the remaining half with this combination. 

    “This is able to be sufficient for the preliminary development of the plant. Because the combination is wealthy in vitamins, there isn’t any want to use any manure for not less than per week or two. Later, you’ll be able to apply any kind of manure or the identical potting combination. If the roots are uncovered on the floor, one can sprinkle some combine on it. The vegetation should be water in accordance with the moisture content material within the combination,” he elaborates.

    Josephine Paulinose, an 81-year-old gardening fanatic from Kalamassery, has been shopping for the potting combine from Hari for the previous a number of months. “The potting combine may be very efficient, particularly for rooting new vegetation. As it’s gentle and ethereal, the roots thrive rather well and I had noticed it in my anthuriums. It is usually wealthy in all important vitamins and due to this fact aids higher development. Moreover, it’s light-weight, making it excellent for hanging pots,” she says.

    Hari says that he and his household are actually actively concerned in making the combination. He has additionally began promoting the combination to close by nurseries and native outlets. “Because of the constructive response from my prospects, we are actually planning to scale up the manufacturing,” he says.

    For extra data and enquiries, you’ll be able to WhatsApp him at 9400313266.

    Edited by Divya Sethu; Picture credit: SK Hari