Tiny organic garden right on your terrace !!!

With the rising number of buildings and the decreasing open space, terrace gardening is emerging as a great option to have the best of both worlds. Want to grow a terrace garden at your home? Our reader and contributor Vikram Kapoor shares with us his guide on how to grow wonderful veggies, flowers and fruits yourself.

Plants also need love. They can’t express their feelings but if you take proper care they will bloom,” says Kishore Kumar, a Bangalore resident who owns a terrace garden at his home in Shantinagar.

A few decades ago, almost all houses in Bangalore had a garden since plenty of space was available. However, since the IT boom, this space has been shrinking and today, it is almost non-existent. In spite of scarcity of accommodation, many people have come up with novel ways to grow plants even in the little available space. Terrace gardening is one of them.terrace garden

To read full article click here — http://www.thebetterindia.com/15579/terrace-garden/

Indian knife innovation

Jugaad has been integral part of Indian life style,  creating useful items from the limited resources is the basis of jugaad technology,   Check out this amazing Indian knife innovation.


Pedal-A-Watt – stationary bicycle power generator

A DIY idea to make a power generator which can be made to produce power using any bicycle. just take it along with you anywhere in the wilderness and your laptop and mobile will never fall short of power. All you need to know is the idea , which you will get in this link and basic electronics and mechanics which you can learn easily on net by googling the terms charge controller or voltage stabilizer to supply constant supply of electricity to your device, asking help to your engineer friend would make things further easier. Setup is similar to small generators attached to wheel for lighting headlights on bicycles easily available on many diy sites.

So check out this link to get the idea of making your own power generator —  http://www.econvergence.net/The-Pedal-A-Watt-Bicycle-Generator-Stand-s/1820.htm

Video link –

DIY Rocket Stove

A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney which ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface.


The principles were described by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho in 1982 and stoves based on this design won Ashden Awards in both 2005 and 2006. Interest in rocket stoves has led to the development of rocket mass heaters and other innovations.
A rocket stove achieves efficient combustion of the fuel at a high temperature by ensuring a good air draft into the fire, controlled use of fuel, complete combustion of volatiles, and efficient use of the resultant heat. It has been used for cooking purposes in many energy poor locales as well as for space and water heating.

Check out this design made of materials easily found around any house or farm – http://devandhema.blogspot.in/2013/11/a-really-exciting-rocket-stove-project.html

DIY hydrophonics – Grow edible plants without soil.

Ever imagined a fully functional garden right in your balcony of apartment or near your window, or where ever you got little space with sun light around.
Worried about where to get pots and soil ? Scared of hassles of watering and dirt ? You actually don’t need one. Hydroponics is the solution.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay pebbles or coconut husk.

All you need is a Hydroponics  DIY kit. Get Yourself this small kit and start learning Hydroponics in a matter of days.

Get yourself one here – http://www.gardenguru.in/hydroponic-diy-kits/393-hydroponic-diy-raft-kit-dwc.html

For kit in action check out this video –

http://www.gardenguru.in/393-388-thickbox/hydroponic-diy-raft-kit-dwc.jpg    http://www.gardenguru.in/393-388-thickbox/hydroponic-diy-raft-kit-dwc.jpg  http://www.gardenguru.in/393-388-thickbox/hydroponic-diy-raft-kit-dwc.jpg

For more information about Hydrophonics and how to start it in your place Check out this blog –

This kit comes with the following

  • Container with lid ( holes premade, but can be customized)
  • Nutrient solution for growing herbs (For 100 Litres)
  • Seeds of Herbs (Large leaf Basil, coriander, Sage).
  • Net pots
  • Grow plugs 15 no
  • Air pump

Mosquitoes – A lifestyle problem

This post is not about telling you to cover your bodies, apply mosquitoes repellent creams and keep your surroundings clean, avoid mosquito habitats, and stuff like that to avoid mosquito bites, that all you already know. Also there are many plants which you can grow indoor, in your balconies or your garden to avoid mosquitoes, we can talk about them some other time.

Mosquitoes are themselves not the problem to us, but mosquito bite surly is. Imagine yourself sitting in a place with mosquitoes around but none of it is interested in biting you, just because they don’t like the taste of your blood. Amazing, right? They are no more attracted towards you, no more itching, no more red spots, no more malaria and dengue. Beautiful world that will be, isn’t it ? We will be in peaceful co- existence with mosquitoes.
By killing mosquitoes we are certainly not killing the problem, it is similar to killing pests using pesticides, it will only increase the problem, you solve one, another one pops out as a result, and next time you spray pests are resistant to it, and you keep on increasing the dose. What does common  sense  says ?? Which is better, trying to eradicate whole species from earth using chemicals resulting new types of problems or finding a solution of peaceful coexistence of all the species on earth.

Mosquito bites are not the primary cause of diseases, bites themselves are the result of unhealthy body. If you have ever observed the nature, pest attack or parasite attack is on weaker beings, a weak nutrient deficient plant is more prone to diseases and infestation. similar things are observed in animals too. Always weakest is attacked first in the herd.

So if you are getting mosquito bites, chances are there that something is wrong in your body and that weakness is the reason they are attracted towards and attacking you.

So this post is about some traditional natural methods which were incorporated in our daily routine and lifestyle to avoid bites of these blood sucking beautiful creatures.
Recent news headlines about spreading of dengue fever has caught many of ours attention, some blame it to unhygienic conditions, some on government, and some on disturbed ecological balance. Yes, mosquitoes have become the matter of concern these days with no. of diseases of which these are carriers, increasing. But equally important is the concern of methods used to control these pesky vampires. For obvious reasons with the increase in mosquito related problems, market related to deter these tiny blood sucking vampires has also increased, with many international players now in the field.
There is nothing new to tell about the harmful effects of the chemicals used to manufacture these insect repellent sprays and coils. Some of them are being banned in developed countries for over 20 years. Making India and other third world nations the dumping ground of these chemicals, corporations can’t sell anywhere else.
With the 24 hours news channels booming and showing reports of dengu and malaria followed by the attractive advertisements of these products one might think that these are the must have products, after all nothing comes over the safety of your family. I will not go into the debate of these may be paid news to promote these products, similar to news headlines related to food adulteration and fake food in the making of traditional indian sweets at the time festivals followed by the advertisements of celebration chocolates.

A little flash back —
Growing up in a joint family, i learned a lot about various traditional techniques of personal care from my grand parents and elders of the family, and saving myself from mosquito and other insect bites was one of them.
what mosquitoes are attracted to ?

when i was a kid, i used to get lots of mosquito bites, where as my grand mother used to sit calmly with no bites at all, and upon asking the reason i used to get a logic that my blood is sweet, so mosquitoes are attracted to me more. Another one she used to tell was, breath deep to avoid mosquitos, another observation i made later was, she never used artificial soap or shampoo.
So when i was doing little search about what mosquitoes are attracted too , i was amazed to find how simple steps in traditional indian culture were so efficient to deal with the problems we face today in the name of life style related problems.

so what actually attracts mosquitos are —

1. Sweat is said to attract mosquitoes by its smell. Some people have problem of excessive sweating, Improper diet and lifestyle diseases are often source of stomach diseases, which are further related to excessive sweating, resulting foul smell of sweat, and attraction point of mosquitoes.
Deep breathing (pranayaam and yoga)and proper diet to keep your stomach good, does makes a lot of sense here.

2. Another reason for being calm and deep breathing is, it keeps your blood high in oxygen content, and as mosquitoes are attracted to high carbon dioxide, they may not like your blood which is now high in oxygen content rather than CO2 rich after making deep breathing a habit.

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3. Mosquitoes are found to be attracted to fruity and other smells, thus if u use soaps and shampoos which are fruity in smell they will definitely be attracted towards you.
So not using any artificial soap and shampoos does makes a lot of sense here.

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4. Last one about your blood being sweet, i can not conform scientifically but she had a habit of eating daily 10-15 neem leaves, we were also advised to eat it, it was said that it makes your blood bitter (neem is bitter), which mosquitoes doesn’t like. Also neem is very good for your stomach. So at least it does makes sense to me. Eating lots of garlic is also said to produce similar effect. there was also a kind of tradition to eat bitter gourd twice a week to keep your blood clean.

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So if your body is healthy, you won’t get mosquito bites. Bad stomach is the origin of many diseases, resulting in impure blood, excessive sweating, foul body odour, bad mouth and many more. So mosquito bites are the themselves the result of something wrong going on with your body.
Apart from having a healthy lifestyle and disease free strong body, here are some more desi tips to keep mosquitoes away !!

1. Take a wide plate and pour some mustard oil in it, just a little so that all of the wide surface is covered by it, and then keep that plate in some dark corner of the room (and yes another thing mosquitoes are attracted to are dark colours) after few hours, you will definitely find lots of mosquitoes lying dead in the plate. i have seen it myself working. to make it more effective, increase the no. of plates.

2. Alternatives to coils would be “dhoop agarbattis” made of gobar, you could find them easily in gaushalas. Its better to promote local sustainable product than supporting corporations in making India a dumping ground.
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3. Another one is ,cut lemon slices and embed “cloves” into it, and keep them in the corners of the room.These are effective air fresheners also.


4.Neem oil or neem seed oil is easily available in the garden and panchgavya shops these days as it is used as organic insect repellent. light a oil lamp, or kerosene lamp, and add 6-8 drops of neem oil into it. This has also been found to be effective. 6-8 drops is the measure for the lamp of size we use in diwali you can experiment with amount of drops.
(tip -try adding citronella, or eucalyptus  oil drops instead of neem oil, never tried though. )

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These were some eco-friendly and sustainable tips to avoid mosquito bites.

30 desi ways to go eco-friendly

Sustainability, eco friendly, go green may sound like new slogans of  India, but as far as an eco friendly lifestyle goes, most of the traditional Indian ways serve as a model example! Each region in India has its own set of eco-friendly habits. It is important to educate our younger generation about these habits.

Check out this wonderful article by RAMA COUSIK.


Paperjewelz – vrinda gokhale philip

Paperjewelz is costume jewelry that is truly unique. It is the culmination of influences from different cultures and of course the eras of ever changing fashion statements, especially the psychedelic sixties and seventies. The Hero of this brand is recycled paper, teamed with a wide range of embellishments – from glass beads, and melon seeds to silver and semi precious stones. The results are alluring and glamorous pieces that are simply unparalleled. Ranging from the delicate to the chunky, the wild to the elegant, there is something in it for everybody.

check out more at – http://www.paperjewelz.com/
buy  online at – http://www.itokri.com/collections/paperjewelz-by-vrinda-gokhale
facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paperjewelz/184590961593092

UniShared – List of Online Learning Resources

great collection of online learning resources, being put together by a self-designed learner and walkout from Pune, Devavrat Ravetkar

UniShared – List of Online Learning Resources.

A 15-year-old student’s ed reform plan: Self-directed learning

Learning should be messy! Divergent thinking can be taught. Teachers, administrators, policy makers, and even students will have to step out of their comfort zones to remove the standardized, short-term mentality about learning.

via A 15-year-old student’s ed reform plan: Self-directed learning.

How to make Amrut Jal (Water) to Enrich soil

A Hands on guide for Indian farmers on How to make “AMRUT JAL” By Shri dipak Sachade – Natueco Farming Expert, to Enrich Soil

More: An extended 4-part series on the philosophy of Natueco Farming Science, Method of making Amrut mitti and Amrut Jal
Organic/Natueco Farming – Malpani Trust – Deepak Suchde – Bajwada, M.P. – Part 1
Organic/Natueco Farming – Malpani Trust – Deepak Suchde – Bajwada, M.P. – Part 2
Organic/Natueco Farming – Malpani Trust – Deepak Suchde – Bajwada, M.P. – Part 3
Organic/Natueco Farming – Malpani Trust – Deepak Suchde – Bajwada, M.P. – Part 4

Green Tech Life : Urban rooftop gardens

A company based in Bangalore that installs rooftop gardens to grow organic food, as automated systems that require almost no maintenance after the initial setup. It’s targeted for city-dwellers who don’t have a plenty of time or farming skills. It’s designed to be self-fertilizing from the family’s kitchen waste (wet/food waste and leftovers) and needs watering only once or twice a month.Most activities like daily watering, digging, and use of chemicals have been completely eliminated, while using the best of nature and natural laws.

Here’s a video demonstration: