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Woman Studies Gardening in Her 60s, Grows Organic Veggies in Her Terrace

Shashi Manchanda started her gardening journey in her 60s when she finally had access to a 1,000 sq ft terrace. She now grows a variety of vegetables and flowers.

Shruti Kandwal
Shashi harvested the organic veggies she cultivated on her terrace
Shashi harvested the organic veggies she cultivated on her terrace

A two-story house surrounded by numerous plants and trees can be seen in a less busy Gurugram street. All of these plants belong to the 68-year-old inhabitant Shashi Manchanda.

She had always enjoyed beautiful gardens and flowers. In Delhi, there was open space and a large range of flowering and ornamental plants. "When I was younger, I recall helping my mother with basic gardening tasks like planting and watering. This eventually became my favorite pastime," says Shashi.

She moved into small apartments after getting married, and due to her hectic schedule, she was unable to pursue gardening. She did, however, once gather a few plants and arrange them in the available space.

She has, however, now begun to take up gardening seriously as she approaches her 60s.

Cultivating organic garden from scratch

"One of my dreams was to create a small yet lovely garden. In order to escape the long years of city life, my family and I relocated from Delhi to Gurugram in 2019. My spouse, daughter, son, and daughter-in-law make up my family. We all adore this place's calm and truly appreciate it, she says.

The family is currently residing in a home with a broad terrace that is 1,000 square feet in size, large enough to fit all of Shashi's desired growing plants.

"Despite my love for gardening, I had never attempted it on my own before. Additionally, I wanted the entire process to be natural. So, in 2019, I went to a session at Daulat Ram College in Delhi and discovered how to turn wet waste into compost," the gardener continues.

Shashi took this as her first move toward creating a thriving garden. She created a rich compost and fertilized her garden with the soil from it. Shashi also learned about organic pesticide options by talking to other gardeners in her area.

She explains, "I didn't just want to grow a garden full of flowers; I also wanted my family to eat well. On the terrace, I grow every vegetable I use in my daily cooking. This includes winter vegetables like tomatoes, coriander, palak (spinach), mustard, broccoli, all types of lettuce, knol khol (kohlrabi), beetroot, mooli (radish), carrot, turmeric, adrak (ginger), and so on, as well as summer vegetables like lauki (bottle gourd), tori (sponge gourd), karela (bitter gourd), kaddu (pumpkin), baingan, and so on.”

While attractive and flowering plants are cultivated in pots in the front yard, vegetables are grown in grow bags on the terrace. Shashi's garden currently contains 50 pots and more than 100 grow bags.

Sharing the joy of gardening

Shashi joined a gardening community with like-minded people in order to learn more about the subject and share what she already knows. Members also exchange seeds or saplings from a variety of species, which lowers the cost of purchasing new ones. She claims that the majority of the group's members are homemakers like her and that she is on of the group's elders.

Shashi’s carefully nurtured organic terrace garden in Gurugram
Shashi’s carefully nurtured organic terrace garden in Gurugram

"Several of my neighbors, friends and family members come over just to look at the garden in my home. I always share any vegetables that are gathered in surplus. Organic fruits and vegetables free of chemicals are extremely difficult to get. Growing them in your own yard is the only convenient way to obtain them,” according to her.

Everyone at the house helps Shashi care for her plant babies. She continues, "My children now help me whenever they have time, much like I used to help my mother in the garden."

"People my age are susceptible to several diseases due to lifestyle choices. If we eat well, we can somewhat manage all of these. That is what I'm aiming for. Additionally, I've learned from these years that you shouldn't wait for the ideal moment to start doing what you love. Never think it's too late to start,” she claims.

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