Geeta Arunachalam's Site featuring Mushroom Cultivation [Taste from Waste] and herbal plantation


The Eco-Club of D.T.E.A. Sr.Sec.School, Moti Bagh [II], New Delhi, India, had successfully cultivated a type of edible mushroom “Pleurotus florida” totally on bio-degradable waste like hay, fallen leaves, waste paper, rags, kitchen waste etc.   Impressed by their exhibit at the “eco-Club Meet” at the Bal Bhavan on 20&21 Dec 2007, the Department of Environment, Govt of NCT, Delhi awarded the school a project for introducing “Mushroom Culture” in ten Delhi schools. Mrs.Geeta Arunachalam, PGT[BIO] and Eco-club in charge of the school was appointed as co-ordinator of the project who alongwith Mrs. Indira Balan and other members and students of the eco club in the school worked under the invaluable scientific guidance of. Dr.P.N.Chowdhry, retired senior scientist, IARI.
   Mushroom Culture was taken up as an innovative project by the eco-club of the school. An introduction to the subject was given by Dr.P.N.Chowdhry at a lecture organized in the school premises on September 16 2007. Teacher members of the eco-club and 30 students attended the lecture. A small room was selected for the cultivation. All the students of the school were asked to collect bio-degradable waste material. The spawns were provided by  Dr.P.N.Chowdhry. Some students took the spawns home and cultivated mushrooms at home. They were very enthusiastic as no investment is required to start the cultivation.

Various Stages In The Cultivation Of Mushrooms

 ·        Collection of bio-
     degradable waste like
     hay, kitchen waste,
     rags, papers, saw dust,
     wood shavings etc.

 ·        Sterilisation of the
     material by boiling or by

 ·        Addition of spawns to
     the material and tying it
     in polythene bags
     preferably of dark

 ·        Placing the bags in a
     shady place indoors.

 ·        Spreading of mycelia
     and getting ready for 
     fruiting within a month.
 ·        Cutting open the bags
     and placing them on
     planks or hanging them.

 .   Keeping them moist by
     spraying water 

 ·        Maturing of fruiting
     bodies within a week.

 ·        Three crops can be
     obtained from one
     inoculation process.

Health Benefits of eating mushrooms

·       Reduces LDL,Hypertension.

·        Stimulates immune system.

·        Anti diabetic.

.    Good source of Minerals

.    Reduces incidence of
     prostate cancer

Scope of  the Project

Starting the cultivation and sustaining it involves negligible investment in terms of money, time, space and other logistics and infrastructure details.  This project is highly suitable for empowerment of poor, landless people in rural as well as urban areas. It can be a “Low Investment High Return” venture.


The Eco-Club of our school was trying to develop a small garden in the school premises. Lack of funds restricted our activities. It thrived mainly on the enthusiasm and interest of the students and teachers involved. We were growing commonly available Medicinal plants like Tulsi, Aloe- Vera, Ajwain and some flowering Shrubs. In the absence of a  regular gardener the weeding, watering and other maintenance works were under taken by students or hired help. Therefore,, when Mrs. Janaki Rajaraman, President of the South-West chapter of the All India Women’s Conference selected our school for the “Promotional Scheme of National Medical Plants Herbal garden in School,” we were very happy. The financial assistance we received was like Manna from Heaven.

We used the money to make proper flower beds & skirt them with brick borders. We bought manure. Following the guidelines provided by AIWC we purchased seedlings of medical herbs like Brahmi, Ashwayandha etc… 


To maintain continuous watering and to conserve water we installed drip-irrigation system which works wonderfully in the garden. As the school does not have a permanent gardener. a gardener was engaged from time to time for the pruning and multiplication of the plants.

DTEA. Sr. Sec. School Moti Bagh had the pleasure of having Mrs. Janaki Rajarama along with other members of the Club for inspection. They were proudly presented a set of sample herbs from our herbal garden.

Our Eco-Club was selected for an award for our efforts by the ”Global Warning Redution Centre”.  At the Eco-Club meet [12th to 15th January, 2010] our site was given  prominence and was visited by Hon’ble Chief Minister Mrs. Sheela Dikshit.

We distributed Herbal Tea to the Visitors and our students explained about the importance of Stenia, Mint, Cinamon and Ginger to the visitors and the benefits of the Medical herbs. We use the waste from Mushroom cultivation as manure to the herbs.

At present we have about 100 Ajwain, 30 Insulin, 5 Mint, a Plot full of Aloe-vera, Lemon Grass, Ashok a, Gurmar, Patherchor(propagated by leaves)  and other plants.  


Our students have firsthand experience of developing a herbal medicinal garden. They learned about the advantage of having a herbal garden in the School. They also know the methods of multiplying the herbs by different methods as well as the uses of different plants. They can use these plants in day to day problems.

Students have also been taught to prepare mosquito repellent out of citronella (Lemon Grass) Neem Paste, Aloe-Vera Juice. They have been taught about the Insulin plant powder for diabetic patients.

We are grateful to the AIWC for giving us the opportunity to develop and impart knowledge of the medicinal plants to our school children. We anticipate growth, maintenance. and participation of large no of students in various activities related to this program.       

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