Customers aplenty at a Kutchery nursery in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
What does monsoon mean to you? If you forget waterlogged streets and seasonal sniffles, and think of the happy part, you will agree that this shower season equals to a green flowering.
Now that rains are here, the capital has hit the green mode. Jharkhand State Horticulture Mission, Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) in Kanke, Ranchi, Horticulture and Agriculture Research Programme (HARP) in Plandu, city nurseries and plant lovers are all busy planting saplings.
Prabhakar Singh, director of the state horticulture mission, said monsoon was the ideal time for commercial and residential gardening.
“Be they fruits, flowers or ornamental plants, this is the best time to get out your gardening tools and hit the ground,” he said. “Fears of rain deficit notwithstanding, we do expect showers in the months of July and August.”
Singh said the season afforded a good business opportunity to farmers. Around 10-15 farmers of Ranchi have set up nurseries at 50 per cent subsidy provided by the horticulture mission, he added.
“In Ranchi district alone, some 10 farmers started their nurseries. Institutions like BAU and HARP too started new nurseries this monsoon,” he said, adding farmers and residents alike seek advice from him for planting of saplings.
Queries are also flooding city nurseries.
Customers are thronging one of the capital’s oldest nurseries, Netaji Udayan at Kutchery, to buy saplings.
“I have come all the way from Hulundu to buy plants of Australian Java, which bears exotic flowers, and Amrapali mango. The first costs Rs 130 and the second Rs 70. This is the best time to plant saplings on my small plot,” said N. Topno.
He added that after his retirement, gardening was more than a hobby.
“My garden gives me company. I am also planning a business venture by opening a nursery,” he said.
Nursery owner P.K. Singh said the enthusiasm was contagious. “It’s our peak season. Customers, including gardeners from Raj Bhavan and the chief minister’s residence, ask us for new varieties of plants, ask us questions on their planting and maintenance. Their enthusiasm is contagious,” said the man with a three-decade experience of running a nursery.
He added they had stocked over 25 new varieties of fruits and flowers, including those for indoors and ornamental ones.
At Bahu Bazar, nursery owner Manoj Baraik agreed business was booming. “Everyday, we have 20-25 customers, including farmers and city folks who stay in small flats. This year, dwarf fruit saplings, including mango, litchi, guava and blackberry, are doing well. We source saplings from Calcutta and Patna,” Baraik said.
He said he had to become a mini encyclopaedia on plants. “Customers trust the quality of saplings when you can answer their questions about the plants,” he smiled.