The Arc, a house adorned by ash gourds in Kottayam
Kottayam: The house named ‘The Arc’ at Panayakazhippu in Kottayam district stands out as an abode of organic farming. The house owner PC John who is a retired teacher leads a simple life by cultivating ample vegetables in his land. Anyone visiting here will become curious with just a glance at the Laurie Baker style house adorned by ash gourds hanging on its roof.
John has an interesting story to share about his ash gourd cultivation. He started to drink the juice of ash gourd for curing his stomach ailments as prescribed by a natural medicine expert. As it became a routine, he collected the seeds and planted it in the compound. Within days, the vines started to climb over the house and envelop it.
He never uses any chemical fertilisers or pesticides on the plants and each ash gourd in his plot weighs one to two kilograms. He happily offers the ash gourds to others also and it is a routine for John to drink a glass of ash gourd juice in the morning and evening.
John has been cultivating other varieties of vegetables too in the compound of his house which is situated close to the banks of the Meenachil river. Karuvatta native John had learned about farming from his father. He has been farming chilly, ginger, turmeric, yam, colocasia, purple yam, tapioca and many other crops. When water scarcity became a challenge, he used to cultivate vegetables by the riverside. After the last harvest, he distributed spinach to 50 households in his neighbourhood.
John was the principal and Zoology department head at CMS College, Kottayam. His wife Susan Varghese who was the head of the English department at the same college helps him in farming.