SWACHATHA SE DIVYATHA TAK 2017
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS
In connection with ‘Swachatha se Divyatha Tak 2017 - Cleanliness is Next to Godliness’, here are a few suggestions to encourage ‘planting saplings’ among Balvikas children. Gurus are requested to select the activities that best suit your location. Do watch AIP’s message in this regard: https://youtu.be/HPC8imxTwjM
PLANT YOUR VEGGIES
A kitchen garden, be it on the terrace, portico, or even windowsill, can inspire children. It gives them a sense of doer ship as they plant seeds, water, and nurture the plants. But more important, the effort will encourage them not to waste food - it is their labour!
- Green and fresh food
- Kitchen waste gets into the garden as nutrients for the plants - wealth out of waste.
- Saving on fuel (transport), CO 2 emissions (cold storage and packaging), and post harvest waste - Ceiling on desires It could be the simple greens, chilli, tomato, flat beans, brinjal, tulsi, mint, etc that can be grown at home.
Growing our own vegetables is not rocket science. However, it is very simple. It takes a little time but things like tomatoes, Lady’s finger, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, lettuce, chilies, radish, beet-root, onion, leafy vegetables, etc., are easy to grow in the backyard, balcony gardens and terrace gardens.
DON’T TRASH – PLANT
Seed packets, grow bags, and kitchen garden kits are readily available in the market. However, children can be taught to raise vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, onion, coriander seeds, etc.,) that are available at home and convert unused containers into pots.
Planting in Water Bottles
Natural Pesticide – Neem Oil
We might have wondered what did farmers do to fight against crop pests. Long before the invention of harmful chemical pesticides, farmers and householders came up with multiple remedies for removing insect infestations from their garden plants. These are all-natural and are easily available at home. Some of these natural pesticides are neem oil, salt spray, eucalyptus, onion & garlic spray. Vermi-composting can be done at home. Collect kitchen waste every day and allow them to compost - these are available as kits from Government departments, NGOs, or even online at low prices and in different sizes. The compost can be a natural nutrient. Dry leaves and flowers can also be collected and used in the garden.
Seed ball activity requires participation of large number of children and availability of right area to disperse the seed balls. Rural or sub-urban schools are best options to conduct this activity. The traditional method of broadcasting seed comes with several major drawbacks. The seed is sown on top of the soil where it may be baked dry by the sun, blown away by the wind, washed away by heavy rains, or nibbled away by birds or other small wildlife. Very little is left to germinate and grow. Making seed balls addresses all of these problems. These clay balls protect the seed from the heat of the sun. They are heavy enough to be unaffected by the wind or heavy rains and the hard clay casing deters animal nibblers as well.
Seed Ball Recipe
- Clay soil (preferred) or Native soil sieved without lumps
- Cow dung (wet/dry-powder) or Organic Manure
- Seeds collected from trees or ground should be dried under sun and shade for minimum of 10 days and store in a dry container.
- Mix Cow dung (wet/dry-powder) or Organic Manure with soil in 1:1 ratio.
- Pour some water and knead it to make a smooth dough-like mass.
- Make small round balls (about one inch diameter) and insert the seeds in them. You may choose to either mix different kinds of seeds or one type in a ball.
- Initially dry those in shade for 24 hours which will protect the seed ball from breaking and sun dry them for next 24 hours.
- Store them in cloth bags.
- Disperse the seed balls in suitable areas. Do not bury them and do not water them.
Things to be taken care:
- Select seeds from the native trees to increase success rate for germination. For instance, seeds from Pongamia, Jetropah, Fig, Neem, Peepal, Banyan, Tamarind, Teak, and fruit species like Jamun, Mangoes, Jack fruit, Chikku, Seethaphal can be used.
- Selection of suitable areas for dispersion is also important. Rare seeds can be put in protected areas, inside bushes where cattle may not graze easily. Tank bunds, hills, lakes, ponds are perfect places for seeds of huge trees like the Banyan, Peepal, Fig and Jamun, so that they can help in capturing and retention of rain water when they grow into trees.
- Keep the seed balls intact so that it will not be disturbed by any insects or birds.
- The seed balls should be spread before the monsoon so that the seed balls get the enough moisture to germinate.
- Use hand gloves during seed ball making
For children, a school day probably does not get over without emptying the water bottle - preferably on friends or on the school grounds. Friends can get together and collect the left over water in a container and use it in the garden - either at school or at home.
Gurus can encourage children to plant & maintain trees. Care should be taken in selecting the place and type of sapling. The roots of trees go deep and can damage the septic tanks and underground water tanks. The saplings need to be taken care for some period. Therefore, planting trees near buildings or at far-off places should be avoided.
Growing Flower Plants
GROWING FLOWER PLANTS
Children can be encouraged to grow flower plants such as hibiscus, rose, jasmine, etc., in their balcony/terrace/entrance of their house and use them to decorate the Shrines.
Gurus could cultivate the habit of using saplings as a gift option. Saplings could be also given as prize gift for Talent Search conducted at Balvikas centers.
GROUP ACTIVITY ON PLANTING
If the samiti has enough place, this can also be conducted as a group activity. Children could be divided into groups, each group can be assigned a pot with a label of group’s name stuck on it. Sapling can be planted and children can be asked to water the plants.
Removing weeds and cleaning garden at school premises or at home could also be performed by children.
Collective activities like cleaning water bodies, mass sapling planting, maintenance of community gardens, trips to a nearby farm can also be organized at district level or regional level.
Nature is the best teacher and in Bhagawan's institutions, gardening is encouraged as an extra-curricular activity. Children develop a sense of responsibility, and care for a life when they nurture plants. From the buds opening up with sunlight to little insects, feeding on the leaves and ants dragging the dropped seeds and flowers are interesting observations for children through which parents and gurus can highlight many lessons. This can be an individual or a group activity. The more the better for it is a step towards making the Earth a better place.