Suman Das from Guwahati, Assam, is a lawyer practising in Gauhati High Court.

When a petition was filed in the Gauhati High Court claiming that an entire district in Assam had a high number of cancer victims due to excessive use of pesticides, Suman decided to dig deeper.

She came to the conclusion that people’s unhealthy eating habits were partly to blame and decided to start growing her own plants on the terrace of her house.

Today the 400 sq ft garden flourishes with sunflower, zucchini, 5 varieties of brinjal, bitter gourd, french bean, okra, red and green amaranth, capsicum, spinach, fenugreek, mint, pumpkin, sweet potato, petha and more.

She shares tips for those who want to start their own gardening journey.

Just pick up any old box or plastic bottle, fill it with soil, plant your seeds, and water it. You will get your first plant and with that, your gardening will begin.

Start with plants native to your area. “As I live in Assam, I focused on flowering trees like rose, gulmohar depending on the weather here.”

The soil should be light and loose so that the roots of the tree can easily develop. Mix 50 per cent soil and 50 per cent compost.

You don’t need to buy seeds. Collect and plant the seeds of the vegetables you have bought from the market.

The best way to save water is to use a drip irrigation system by which you can save up to 90 per cent of water.

She suggests using lime from betel leaves as it is rich in calcium and prevents fungal growth. Another pesticide is boiled garlic to prevent insects from infesting the plants.

Lastly, she says, the best time to start your gardening journey is now. “Do it today.”