by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Which is Green? 10 in the Pot or 180 in Farmville?

Of late, it has been a little annoying to find someone’s request for a special gift or invite to open a ‘farm’ nearby in ‘Farmville’.  But last weekend I was really amazed to learn that kids are spending something like 3 hours or more a day playing the game (with the Facebook login).  Not just 8 or 10 year old kids were spending time, but teens and tweens too were in the act.

As it happens I do own a little parcel of land where I too grow plants.  Only in my case, it is not a virtual farm.  In fact, it is not even a farm, or even a continuous parcel of land, but just a container garden - in simple terms, a dozen pots kept on the terrace of my apartment.

Here is the harvest of Flat Beans on Saturday.


Considering that
  • the seeds were not from a plant nursery or plant shop,
  • but seeds from kitchen discards and waste,
  • no fertilizers - organic or chemical - were used,
  • the plant(s) are growing in only one flower pot,
  • a half a litre of water was the only plant feed,
the yield is not bad at all.  I have been plucking almost similar quantities every week over last 4 weeks or so, for a total of about half a kilo by now.

Agreed that the meagre returns would not be able to satisfy the full vegetable needs of even a small, unit family, but would do admirably as garnishing in Dal or Sambar.

BTW this Pongal / Makara Shankaranti, the price of a pair of Sugar Canes required for the puja/prayers shot up to Rs. 45/- (US $1).  Considering that we used to pay 1/4th the price only a couple of years ago and paid only half the price last year - it was time to put the foot down.

The Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar  might blabber for all he is worth that he or his Ministry cannot be held responsible for price rise in fruits and vegetables.

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might not be able to put his foot down  vis-a-vis his Ministers.

And people may not be able to boot these worthies out (not yet).

But what I can do and have done is to cut the last 2 inches off a cane and plant it in a container.  It is about 2 weeks old now -


Isn’t it great?  Only problem is that people tell me that Sugar Cane has to be harvested in 6 to 8 months and the next Pongal is almost 11 months away.

The point is if kids, teens and tweens are willing to spend a couple of hours a day trying to grow virtual plants and vegetables and consume PC time, power and network access in the bargain, isn’t it time to find ways to channel them more productively?
Will the concerned Ministers for -
  • Agriculture, Sharad ‘Leer Face’ Pawar
  • HRD, Kapil ‘Loud Mouth’ Sibal
  • Environment, Jairam ‘Hippie Hair’ Ramesh
  • Food and Public Distribution, K.V. ‘Chemist’ Thomas
  • Youth Affairs, Ajay ‘Gimme Idea’ Maken
take heed, put their heads together and initiate a school / college overseen container garden program nationwide,  which would be a really a cool, Green initiative?

My Wicked Half whispers, ‘Maddie, you have to make up your mind.  First you want the Govt. to try and engage the kids as a virtual border police, using their PC.  Now you want the Govt. to turn them away from using the PC and become small time gardeners.   Maybe it is you who needs to knock on the head!’

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