1. Success Story

This Family Grows 400 Plant Varieties Including Potatoes In Vines Their Garden

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
This Family Grows 400 Plant Varieties

People tried discover new method to spend time during the pandemic-induced lockdown like home gardening and producing organic vegetables. This might be attributed to a desire to discover a hobby, and an increased emphasis on health and nutrition in the midst of a worldwide health crisis. 

Surat's Surti family is part of this segment of society that has discovered solace and a healthy lifestyle right in their own home. This family of five, spanning three generations, has taken advantage of the lockdown period to expand their home garden. 

Subhash Surti grows 15 medicinal plants, almost every seasonal vegetable, eight varieties of fruits and many flowering plants with his father Harishchandra, wife Raksha, and two children. This house has about 400 trees and plants in total. 

"While I'd been cultivating plants around the house for a long time, everyone in my family, including my children, started to lend a hand only when the pandemic arrived. Many of our neighbours have also taken to the activity in their own homes,” says Subhash. 

The real sensation of magic is provided by a distinctive item in this home garden – potato in vines. 

Three generations of home gardeners 

Potatoes are typically grown underground. However, he claims that it took nearly two years for this peculiar variety, brought from a mountain area, to produce a reasonable harvest. 

Subhash finished a one-week terrace gardening course from Surat Krishi Vigyan Kendra, where he acquired technical know-how, proper potting techniques, seasonal farming skills and more. 

He claims that because there is limited area surrounding the house, the family grows plants in the courtyard and on the terrace. "We purchased this house 15 years ago and have continued gardening ever since.  We strive to cultivate at least 30% of the vegetables we need for our own daily use," he says. 

He discovered the 'air potato' while trekking, which is another of his favorite hobbies. "Three years ago, while traveling through Gir Forest, I noticed potatoes sprouting on vines. According to the locals, this type of potato is high in starch. I planted a sapling at home, which grew well for a year but produced no potatoes. We took great care of the plant, and it yielded fruit after two years," Subhash says. 

He uses about 1,000 square feet of his terrace and a courtyard of 3×14 feet on the side of the house to grow plants. He plants seasonal vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, fenugreek, brinjal, beans, coriander, chillies, and bitter gourd here, as well as ordinary ones such as lady's finger, pumpkin, bottle gourd, onion, beans, and taro root. 

Pomegranate, phalsa, guava, amla, star fruit, banana, mulberry, and bael are among the fruits grown extensively by the family.

Apart from these, mature trees such as moringa, guava, and amla can be seen towering before the house. 

Subhash, an engineer by profession, explains, "Since the fruits require a lot of sunlight, I cultivate them on the terrace." The rest of the vegetables are grown in the courtyard, which receives very limited sunlight." 

Subhash and his father are very fond of medicinal plants.  They have two varieties of Aparajita plants in their garden, as well as turmeric, lemongrass, five types of basil, giloymalabar nut, brahmiajwain, camphor paan, mint, and big cardamom. Subhash says his wife adores flowering plants. 

When asked about the benefits of home-grown vegetables, he says, "We can easily spot the difference." Organic vegetables taste better than store-bought vegetables. We can confidently eat them raw too. These veggies take less time to cook.” 

During the lockdown, his two children, Hetav and Swara, began gardening and now water every plant on a daily basis, he says. 

Meanwhile, Subhash's father, who is 78 years old, adds, "Seeing so many plants in the house bring me immense pleasure. We used to grow only a few seasonal vegetables earlier.” 

"When we first moved here 15 years ago, none of the 16 houses in this society were gardening, except ours. But today, almost all houses have a small garden. All credit goes to the pandemic, as people became more health-conscious,” Subhash opines. 

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