Jumpstart: Growing Organic Food at Home

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by Karan Manral on Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Geekery (Science, Tech and Life Hacks)

Session type

Technical level


This session aims to teach you the basics needed, in 60 minutes, for successfully growing organic vegetables


For too many urban residents, growing their own food seems to have become something that is intimidating – and fraught with failure. But if you know some important basics, it can be an interesting and extremely productive experience.
In the main activity for this workshop, we will do a live demonstration of how you can set up an organic container garden. We'll also share several innovations from terrace and balcony gardeners across India – and help you develop the basic skills for growing many of the things that interest you.
Most importantly, we show how you can do this even despite the many constraints of the cities – where there is a paucity of space, time and the natural environment that would seem conducive for growing.
In this workshop you can learn:
· What you can grow easily in which season · Germinating seeds to prepare vegetable seedlings · Organic solutions to common pest problems · Self-watering systems for plants when you travel · How not to kill your plants as they grow · 10 most common mistakes to avoid


1) Two long tables for the demonstration to be conducted
2) A smaller audience of about 20-30 people in a semi circular seating space
3) Preferably two projectors and screens (one connected to PC and one to a camera for closeups)
4) Access to water via a pipe or in a large drum

Speaker bio

In the past, Karan Manral has been involved with technology and media, including a stint as the editor of Digit and CHIP - India's most popular technology magazines.
Now, along with his wife Yogita, he is in the midst of a conversion to organic farming - as part of a change towards more sustainable living. Finding a way to improve access to better food has been their primary objective for the past 4 years.

Living in Goa for the past decade, they run a garden-cum-eco store (www.greenessentials.in) and a small seasonal organic farm (www.yogifarms.com). They are now collaborating with gardeners across India to create a desi resource for growing vegetables organically (www.urbangreens.in). They also conduct organic growing workshops for gardeners and help organise unusual food events like the Konkan Fruit Festival (www.konkanfruitfest.com).