This month’s featured gardener is Sasidhar Vajha from League City Texas. Sasi, as he is known to his friends, is an incredible gardener that loves growing vegetables and ornamentals from Southern India.
Like many of the gardeners I know from India Sasi is a dedicated organic gardener. As a vegetarian his vegetables are much more than a future meal. Sasi cares for his plants like they are human. He regularly talks to them as he tends them and he has even been known to sing to them. Sasi’s loves of gardening is well known in his community, he has developed an all year vegetable growing schedule for Indian vegetables, and he actively shares his knowledge with all who ask. If you want to see some truly beautiful and unusual vegetables, I recommend checking out his FaceBook page. Vegetables and flowers play a huge part in Hindu culture and his page if full of some truly beautiful images. Sasi comes from a gardening family and his mother has a horticultural talent I have never witnessed before. If you can figure out what it is, you will get a preview of an upcoming article in our magazine.
|GARDEN LOCATION:||League City, Texas|
|TOTAL YEARS AT THIS LOCATION:||4 Years here, 30 years total gardening experience|
|FAVORITE THING TO GROW:||Snake Gourd, Indian Broad beans in summer; Broccoli, peas, Indian winter beans in Winter|
|TOUGHEST THING TO GROW:||Spine Gourd|
|SOIL PREP TIP:||Prepare the soil with rich organic matter. I compost by digging small holes around the growing areas, and burying my kitchen vegetable scrapes, yard waste, etc. I do not compost separately. By doing this on a regular basis my whole growing area is rich with required nutrients.|
|BIGGEST PEST:||Opossum. All pests can be controlled, but Opossums are intelligent. I have not yet figured out how to control them.|
|BEST GARDENING ADVICE:||Talk to the plants and inspect them as often as you can. Learn to concentrate all the nutrients in the growing areas rather than the entire bed. Do not use chemical fertilizers. Share the rare seeds and plants with friends so you can get them back when we lose them for unpredictable reasons. Plant per schedule, and plan winter garden in Houston areas for all year round fresh produce.|
|BEST BUG CONTROL TIP:||Inspect as often as possible, and control as soon as the pests are identified.|
|DO YOU PRESERVE HARVEST?||Yes. We make dehydrated vegetables using Texas heat. We also freeze some and make pickles in the Indian style.|
|DO YOU USE YOUR FLORAL HARVESTS AROUND THE HOME?|
Yes. We grow fragrant roses around our house and several herbs. We use them to make floral arrangements as often as we can.
FUNNY GARDEN STORY:
I like to work with my 8 year old son Rana in the garden. We plant different vegetables and and he helps me harvest around the garden. One day we decided to plant a moringa tree. We prepared the soil and planted the moringa sapling. He was super excited about the plant. We named it “Krishnu”. It wasn’t long until we started getting flowers and soon got the moringa vegetables. I called Rana and said, “Look, we are getting moringas from your favorite plant”, he looked at me and said “Oh this is the vegetable. I thought we are going to get Meringues!”