Priya’s terrace full of grapes
How about a vineyard on your terrace? Swaying to winds, sweet and juicy, bunches of Bangalore purple grapes (Muscat grapes) are throwing a bounty on the terrace of Priya's Kripakam house at Manjavilakam. Not only the terrace, her 10 cent homestead is filled up with rambutan, dragon fruit, jackfruit and mango trees.
Priya who found a job as the Ilanthur block village development officer at Pathanamthitta, has been returning home often from her work chiefly to tend to her grapevines. At her home where she lives with her parents Devadanam and Prasannakumari, the family had developed a vegetable garden on the roof some years ago. Later they abandoned the plan as it was getting difficult to maintain and water the plants on the roof. They soon shifted the vegetable garden to the homestead and replaced the roof with grape vines.
Stalks which had already grown roots were planted into pits of 3 feet wide, depth and length containing pre-soaked mixture of cow dung, bone dust fertiliser and earthworm compost. The plants were grown attached to bamboo poles to a height of 5 feet above the terrace and branched on to four sides. The stalks were grown as single stalks removing side branches till then. When the stalk grows two feet on the terrace it is then cut to enable branching.
The grapes need constant moisture at its base. Organic manure is given every month. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used. In summers the family relies on drip irrigation from bottles to keep the moisture. The grapes can be harvested every three months. Leaving the plant unwatered for a week before the harvest promotes ripening. Each bunch will weigh around 250-500 grams. Priya has also won several awards for her terrace vineyard. For details or help call 920 7384 943.