Cherry Tomato organic seed is purely indigenous to India but sadly is now being imported at outrageous prices from abroad as an exotic.The solution is to re –create this indigenous organic seed bank and train the farmers to grow some of these highly priced exotics to make their own farming financially sustainable. Cherry tomatoes are a viable crop to grow since the indigenous variety of seeds are hardy in erratic climate change conditions. They are also used as exotics in high end restaurants in metro cities like Mumbai, thus fetching a good market for small scale farmers growing the cherry tomatoes and basil for a living.
Preparing the soil-1*1*1 bucket indigenous cowdung dry but preferably wet,organic soil,cocopeat, has to be thoroughly mixed and sieved and filled onto the plant trays.
The seed is shallow planted as 1 seed per slot.This was tedious work and we realized we needed to buy a seed injection instrument.About 24 trays did not get finished till sunset and we had to leave the rest to be done by them the next day.
Young children of their household had pitched into help.
Meanwhile the greenhouse was being built on the side by Aaji’s son, Rupesh,(he runs an organic food company in Nashik and mainly sources Aaji’s produce,not only to help her but because he discovered that her produce was extremely good organic quality and gives good returns) and Aniket. Aaji’s son forayed the fields and found iron bars,a roll of wire,a hammer and some rope.On a black stone they bent the iron bars in shape with the hammer and physically curved them .On the allotted space with sufficient sun near the hut,they dug in four bamboos at the required distance after measuring the space required for 24 trays and linked the tops vertically with wire and bamboos,curved bars then made the base of the Greenhouse plastic which was finally spread over and tied. Every seed is expected to turn into a beautiful cherry tomato sapling and 1 field is already earmarked to be cultivated for this when the transplantation is required.
The greenhouse built above is one of the cheapest models in India. And perfect as a climate adaptation solution, since saplings need to be protected in the beginning of a growing cycle of vegetables.
Fertilizer required will be jeevamrut and in case of the appearance of any pest Dashparni. Watering can be done by drip irrigation or channel irrigation for fields but seeds have to be sprayed.
Aaji like many other farmers does multi cropping and grow enough vegetables for their home use.Multi-cropping can also be done with grapes but the commercial chemical grape farmers are not using this practice.Art of living kisan manch conducts regular training classes for the farmers and an average of 1/4th farmers take to organic farming but half of them revert back due to marketing issues.
The neighboring farmer uses chemicals for his grapes but sun-dries the grapes into raisins, the natural way , which is far better than other farmers who spray chemicals ,e.g Sulphur(something) for 21 days while drying the grapes.
The better option is to build a solar dryer.Ruchi is going to teach them a cheap and affordable form of solar dryer.This farmer had a ‘kavath’(wood apple) tree loaded with the fruit.We collected a bag and made pickle,jam and sherbet at home.This is very healthy,reduces pitta and heat related problems is a digestive and laxative.From Aaji’s farm we plucked some sweet tamarind,wild bor,Ramphal and some Gular fruit(wild fig) from the Umber tree.Gular is very healthy but mostly consumed by birds,since the knowledge of using it is being lost like many of the other wild fruits.
On the way back home,we visited Ganesh Bhaiyya’s farm who is an art of living teacher and the head of the Aol kisan manch in that area.He generously gave us the Desi cow dung,cow urine and dashparni prepared by him for our own urban herbal garden.
On the way back we ate Jowar,Bajra bhakri and pitla at a dhaba.I noticed that Aaji’s lunch despite being very hot due to the red chillies had yet agreed with our digestion, but this way side meal gave us acidity.I concluded that organic ingredients along with the exercise that follows to digest it,agrees with the body system far better. Makes me always wonder in awe, and the looming need to bring back the importance of creating awareness for traditional natural farming.FoodAgriculture