Lutchmee Gomanee, a member of the Sun Resorts family in Mauritius since 1996, shares his wisdom about growing organic vegetables at home.
Originally from a small coastal village known as Quatre Sœurs on the east of Mauritius, Lutchmee Gomanee always aspired to work in the thriving local hospitality industry. He joined the Mauritian hotel and leisure group Sun Resorts in 1996 as a valet at the famous Coco Beach, a 3 star resort on the east coast of the island. Driven by a can-do attitude, Lutchmee grew with the resort to become a butler while Coco Beach was completely renovated to become the contemporary 5 star resort Long Beach in 2011.
When he is not at work, Lutchmee applies the same dedication to his family life and his two passions : gardening and fishing, two economic activities which taught him to make the most of what Mauritius had to offer. By growing his own vegetables and by fishing, Lutchmee is today able to supplement his family’s food supply with organic vegetables and herbs and fresh fish. According to Lutchmee, home-grown vegetables are not only tastier and more nutritious, but they are also free from the toxic pesticides used in large-scale agriculture.
As more and more people turn to organic gardening, let’s look at a few tips on growing parsley, thyme, and okra, three must-have plants for beginners according to Lutchmee.
Parsley adds amazing flavour cooked with your meats, seafood and garlic bread, and is a great source of vitamin C, calcium, iron and fibre when eaten raw in a salad or salsa verde.
What’s more, it’s easy to grow ! All it needs is a full sun and a bit of patience as it can take two to four weeks to germinate. In regions experiencing cold winters, parsley is best grown indoors in a flower pot.
Thyme is an evergreen herb, your last man standing in winter. As an infusion, it ensures that you too can withstand the cold thanks to its expectorant, antispasmodic, and antibacterial properties. It is also a tasty addition to stews and soups.
While thyme almost grows itself, it’s important to remember that it prefers lots of sunshine and dry conditions. An excess of moisture can cause rotting.
Okra, or ladies’ fingers, is native to the tropics but will grow in any climate favourable to corn. In colder regions, the seeds can be grown indoors and transplanted outdoors when the weather warms up. It thrives in well-drained soil with plenty of sunshine.
The okra plant is very generous in the summer and will allow you to make quite a few hearty curries and roasts. The rest can be pickled and preserved !
Fishing is Lutchmee’s second pastime. He wakes up early in the morning to get ready and to meet his friend with whom he ventures out to the open seas in a pirogue (a non-motorized fishing boat). When the catch is good, they share their bounty with friends. At home, Lutchmee’s wife uses the fresh catch to prepare her hubby’s favourite dish : fish curry with fresh cucumber salad and paratha, accompanied with chilled beer.
Lutchmee Gomanee is a wholesome man who has consistently proved successful in making the most of what the island of Mauritius has to offer. Not only did he rightly see opportunity in the Mauritian hospitality industry when he joined Sun Resorts, but he also saw the soil and the sea as sources of healthy, organic produce. He shows us how easy it is to start gardening with a few plants which are easy to maintain while adding lots of goodness to the table !