Edible garden inspiration, Dr Prabhakar Rao, Bangalore

Anisha
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This February, it was a privilege to be with agricultural scientist and sustainable living architect and landscapist Dr Prabhakar Rao for a peek into his years of love for heirloom seeds. He is my mentor in natural farming practices.

Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (42)

It was exciting to be on his farm with my Natural Farming teacher training batchmates, Ruchi Jain, founder of tarunaturals.com and Gauri Sarin, founder of Bhumija NGO

Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (13)

Dr Prabhakar Rao’s family run farm, a 2.5acre patch of green untouched by chemical soil additives is a haven for farmers and gardeners alike. It is named Aditi farms. Like Aditi, the mother of Devas, it nurtures life.

He has collected over 560 heirloom seeds from around the world and stabilsed over 146 of them. Despite being part of the green revolution scientist brigade he questioned if his promotion for artificial soil additives would impact the future of farming adversely? With a PhD in plant genetics behind him, he took to studying architecture and changed his profession to being a promoter of sustainable living.

As trustee of Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Trust, he promotes natural farming and home gardening practices. at Aditi Farms he teaches garden lovers to be seed-keepers or beej rakshaks. His collection of heirloom seeds is availble at www.hariyaleeseeds.com and through all the people who have ever taken seeds from him.

The beauty of heirloom or desi seeds is that you can simply multiply them and never need to buy that seed again!

His farm near Kanakpura Road in South Bangalore is full of seasonal treats. We were greeted by his dog, two happy farm helpers, and an array of fruit trees and vegetables.

The Rose Apple trees

The rose apple trees were hiding the pink and yellow fruit under giant green canopies, not one fruit could be seen from the outside!

Rose apple tree

Rose apple fruit

Rose apple fruit, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (1)

A black guava tree was not so shy…

black and red guava

Almost coffee brown on the outside, the sweet guava was all pink inside.

A yellow-pink okra was the next surprise!

yellow pink okra, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (35)

I had never seen the famous Bhoot jolokia before and a yellow desi variant at that!

yellow bhoot jolokia from assam, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao

Purple beans, i had seen before in a village market in Khajari village, about 80km from Raipur the capital of Chattisgarh. But, not this variety.

Purple beans, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (26)

Bright yellow flowers of the toothache plant left a tingling sensation in the mouth for a very long time.

Toothache plant, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (23)

Heirloom Golden beetroots!

golden beetroot, Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (5)

The mango trees were flowering and cheeku trees were ripening the fruit in the golden afternoon.

cheeku tree Natural farm at Bangalore Dr Prabhakar Rao (20)

…waiting for us to return when they ripen.

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