অমরাবতির গল্প–(২৫)—–মোঃ শেবুল চৌধুরী
অমরাবতির গল্প মানেই পারিবারিক পরিমন্ডল থেকে গার্ডেনের সাথে সম্পর্কিত হওয়ার গল্প। দেশে বিদেশে ছড়িয়ে ছিটিয়ে থাকা অমরাবতিয়ান ,যাঁরা সৌখিন
বাগান বিলাসী হিসেবে বিভিন্ন দেশে বৈরী আবহাওয়ার মধ্যে বাগানের চর্চা করেন গাছ লাগান।মাটি বা জমির অভাব কোন কিছুই সৌখিনীদের আটকাতে পারে না ।শুধু টব বা মাটি নয়,বৈরী আবহাওয়া তথা যতই শীত বা গরম ইউক না কেন, বাগান প্রেমিকদের জন্য এগুলো কোন বিষয় নয়।এ রকম একজন বাগান বিলাসী হচ্ছেন অমরাবতির বাহরাইন সম্বন্বয়ক ড.মুবিন চৌধুরী তুহিন। আসুন জেনে নেই কি রয়েছে ড.মুবিন চৌধুরী তুহিনের গল্পে।
I have been gardening from about 9 years old while I was living in London. It started with planting some potatoes and the classic dhonia pata (coriander leaves). Over the years, I have grown other plants and trees focusing on vegetables and fruits more than flowers especially over the last 20 years since I moved to Bahrain in the Middle East. I always liked the idea of having something to eat at the end of all the hard work! I did bring some branches of flower trees from my father’s ancestral home in Kumarpara, Sylhet. Some of these had been planted in the 1950’s by my Dada, Fufus and Chachas well before my birth. Bringing and growing such plants in Bahrain for me is a way of remembering our elders, who have sadly passed away some time ago and honoring the gardening tradition of our family going back generations.
In gardening, I really like the way you plant a small seed, see it grow with constant care and attention and then you finally get the results of your work after several months and in the case of fruit trees, after many years. In this respect it is similar to life and pursuits such as your career/ vocation or your studies, where you put in constant effort over many years before you see the results. There is also learning and improvement just like in life. There is a saying that you have to kill a plant three times before you learn to grow it i.e. you learn from your mistakes of first few attempts. I have learnt that if you get the basics right, growing plants become a lot easier. Right seed (for your climate, soil etc.), right soil (nutrient rich, good drainage), right location (sun, shade, wind etc.) and right time (to take account of temperature, frost etc.). As long as it’s not too hot, plants grow best and produce most flowers, fruits and vegetables in direct sunlight. Watering should be at a constant level and not too much. For bigger plants and trees watering has to be deep into the soil.
I moved to Bahrain in 2000 from London and had to re-learn gardening for the local climate and soil. In Bahrain gardening is a real challenge for two reasons. Firstly, it gets very hot in the summer months with temperatures up to 50c in August. Secondly, the soil is poor, sandy and is salty in places. Keeping fruit trees (especially the young ones) alive during the summer months is a real challenge. In addition to choosing the correct variety, good shading is important and abundant watering is required. Here, vegetables are grown in the cooler winter months from October to April, when temperatures are more reasonable 10c to 25c.
I tend to grow a lot of fruit trees with mangoes, figs, dates, pomegranates, papaya and lime trees growing well in my garden. I have also recently planed a jam tree, which should hopefully fruit within the next few years. The jam tree and a date tree (which is currently fruiting), I have grown from seed from fruits I had eaten. I find it quite amazing that I can eat a fruit and the seed that would be normally thrown away can be used to grown a tree that would cost the equivalent of several pounds to purchase. The seed from a recently eaten fruit is wet and “raw” and if planted straightaway would not normally grow. They have to be dried and made dormant over several weeks before planting. A big advantage of growing fruit trees is that once they are set, the trees need very little on-going care and do not need replanting every season like vegetables. Although for fruit trees, pruning, support of young trees and good fertilization of the soil are very important. Interestingly my mango tree flowers and fruits every other year and not every year. The mangoes fall off the tree as they ripen, while still quite hard. It was always fun to knock the mangoes high up in the tree with a long stick, sometimes standing on a ladder and trying to catch the falling mangoes before they fall on the ground, to avoid damage.
For vegetables, tomatoes are my favourite to grow as I have learnt to grow them well and the taste of home grown, vine ripen tomatoes is much better to store bought ones. Green tomatoes are also great in curries especially for tanga with fish. There are also many varieties, of different sizes and colours to grow. One of the secrets to growing good tomatoes is to not have too many leaves. This means pinching out side branches when they are young so you are left with a single stem or at most two stems that grows on a plant. This ensures that the plant uses most of its energy in fruit formation instead of new leaves. The tomato flowers are self-pollinating, where movements in the flowers from wind releases the pollen. For better fruiting, this release of pollen can be assisted by manually knocking the flowers gently with your fingers, best done in the morning.
Gardening is a great way to be outdoors and in fresh air. I find it very relaxing and stress relieving. I think it is also a nice way to keep active and fit, while being fun and enjoyable. The biggest challenge I face is finding the time from a busy career and from family commitments. It always nice to share photos, growing tips/ideas and sharing each other’s successes. The Omoraboti Group is an excellent way to connect with fellow gardening enthusiasts. I always enjoy Group member posts, photos and the videos. I hope to be part of a physical Omoraboti gathering soon in the U.K.