OMG- Its’ a Jack Fruit grown in Blany D’Souza’s Terrace Garden
Mangaluru: OMG-Believe it or not- a jack fruit grown in a pot on a terrace garden- I have never seen anything like this before. Okay, if you walk by first cross-Monkey Stand near Marnamikatta, you will locate Blany D’souza’s house, with a 1200 square feet house terrace filled with wide varieties of vegetables and fruits, some very exotic kinds. His terrace is like walking in a paradise packed with veggies and fruits, nearly 30-40 different kinds of vegetables, around 35 fruit varieties and bunch of different flower breeds. Blany’s passion for raising a vegetable and fruit garden on top of his terrace started 21 years ago after he came back for good after working for six years in the Gulf. A passion that he started for fun, Blany says that he never thought he would be in such a demand in the community for setting up terrace gardens at peoples residences.
Blany’s terrace garden is not like any garden that you will find around in the City, it is unique and quite amazing to look at it. While many terraces have just flower pots arranged in a neat way, Blany’s terrace is a collage of various vegetable, fruit and flower plants. Among the wide varieties of vegetables, to name a few are- tomato, brinjal, bitter-gourd, green beans, lady-finger, gherkins, red/green spinach, varieties of chillies, cucumber, ash gourd, snake gourd, ivy gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin and the like. And among fruits are- grapes, musumbi (sweet lime), oranges, star apple, tamarind, guava, mango, custard apple, lime, and others. There are also some herbal and medicinal plants, including few flower plants. Other than plants on the terrace, Blany also has banana, coconut, papaya, chikku, and many other plants and trees grown in his backyard.
The organic garden has black mango from Brazil, Thailand mango, pink jack-fruit, China orange, Israel orange, apple bore, water apple, wood apple, Kabul grapes, grafted avocado, butter fruit, large varieties of guava, cocoa, peach, cashew, ivory gourd, bitter gourd, Brahmi from Australia and other vegetables. Added to all these vast array of vegetables and fruits, what’s really amazing to see is a jack fruit grown in a pot on Blany’s terrace garden. Even as attempts are being made to revive jack-fruit as a super-food, this terrace gardener has tasted success with the plant. A two-year-old graft at terrace garden expert D’Souza’s house has given fruit.
Speaking to Mangalorean.com Blany said, “I bought the ‘Kantakali Pink’ variety from a local nursery. It weighed about one kg and had 15 bulbs. This was probably for the first time that a jack-fruit has been grown in a terrace garden. Though it doesn’t look very much pink as expected, the taste is really sweet and good. I started this terrace garden 21 years ago initially with gherkins was a big success. There was a time when I harvested around 150 kg of gherkins from this garden a month. My other big success came from grapes.(see more on this grape story in the past article link below). I somehow wanted to experiment more and hence started growing various fruits and vegetables. I have friends across the world and since they know my interest, they make it a point to come with a sapling or seeds. I bought a jack-fruit sapling so that children get to see all fruits and vegetables. I will observe the plant for another one year. I have learnt this gardening through trial and error. It is very important to talk to a plant. Magic does not work in a garden. It is all about hard work, patience and determination,”.
D’Souza hasn’t limited his enterprise to his own garden but has set about 75 terrace gardens across Mangaluru in the last one and half years. A number of students and citizens from in and around Mangaluru visit his house to learn the terrace technique from him. When asked how did he get into this hobby of gardening, Blany replied, ” I had a passion for gardening since I was a young boy- while returning from school I used to pluck some plants found in the neighbourhood, bring them home and plant them in my garden. A passion to grow plants that started during my younger days is still continued, and I love doing it. Even though some of my plants don’t yield fruits or flowers, but I am filled and happy with the fascination. My intention is not to make money from the yield, I am doing it for fun, and for the happiness I get from observing/looking at all these plants/trees everyday. Even my mother, wife and kids spend time in this terrace garden and enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the greenery”.
“Having a terrace garden is environmentally friendly, you can enjoy nature right in front of you, it will be fun watering the plants and see them grow, you can breathe fresh air by walking in the garden and sit on a swing enjoying the beauty of it. Sometimes you can also witness the birds come looking for their food. I didn’t started a garden for business, instead I wanted more and more people to grow vegetables and fruits on the terrace space available to them. It brings joy and happiness to me. As time passed, I have been getting more and more into gardening. I do not have the greenest thumb, but I’m pretty happy with what I am doing. If I can do it, anybody can do it. If you touch plants and shower them with love and care, they will not cheat you. You can call me for more details at 9972716340” said Blany.
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