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Techie Quits Job To Teach Bengaluru Folks Soil-Free Farming in Just Six Hours!

(This was an article on Guruprasad Kurtkoti, Co-founder of Belesiri, published on Better India portal on August 14, 2019.)

After working close to two decades in the IT industry in both India and the US, Guruprasad Kurtkoti realized that he didn’t truly love what he was doing.

Wanting to pursue something that his heart rejoiced in, the 45-year-old quit his high-paying IT job in the US, packed his bags and came back to India to pursue his dream of farming.

“The pressure of not being content with what I was doing, constantly kept adding up to my frustration. That is when I decided to quit my job and focus on farming,” he says.

And Guru, as his friends call him fondly, has been doing precisely that for the past two years. Using Hydroponics, he has been growing all the vegetables that his family consumes—tomatoes, carrots, spinach, beans, baby corn, cabbage—right in his backyard. And, now he wants to share this knowledge!

Born in the small town of Lakshmeshwara in the Gadag district, Karnataka, Guru grew up surrounded by green farmlands. “I always wanted to be with nature and do farming, which could be because of my roots. Many of my friends were from a farming family,” said Guru.

However, things did not come easy to him. Guru explained that since he wasn’t experienced in farming, he had to start everything from scratch. While he was trying to figure things out, he was forwarded a video by one of his friends about Hydroponics. “This was the turning point of my life!” exclaims Guru.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil. What plants need to grow is water and nutrients. Guru believes that Hydroponics is especially useful in urban areas where space is a major issue.

“The yield is almost three to five times more than what is grown in soil in the same area. One can do wonders in small areas too,” he says. The produce is also much more in a shorter duration if the nutrients are available at the right time and in the correct proportions, says Guru.

Plants also remain healthier when growing in water as compared to the soil as the latter can easily get contaminated because for pollutants like fertilizers and pesticides. “Since this is soil-less, lots of soil-borne diseases are avoided. This, in turn, avoids polluting soil because of spraying harmful pesticides and poisons,” explains Guru.

In addition to water, nutrient rich matter like coco peat and pebbles are used as a medium to hold the plants in place.

Guru takes time also to highlight the sustainable aspect of this technique.

“Compared to traditional farming, the water is re-circulated in hydroponics, and thus you end up saving almost 90 per cent of water usage,” he informs...

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