How about having a fresh, juicy and rich looking veggie market right on the top of your home?
A worth inspiring thought, isn’t it!
Here is a casual incident which kick started a small thought led to a terrific beginning...
In one fine morning, I walked to a nearby vegetable shop. I picked up onions and found them hard and dry. I was stunned knowing the price. Alarmingly I said ‘Hey! The price of onions has shot up overnight, that too for such a poor quality of onions.’ I walked all the way back saying how one could live at all if things are going like this.
| You may find it a very small and casual incident, but this rattled my mind throughout the day. I was not ready to welcome such poor quality vegetables with such high price for my family. I started thinking for a solution.
Is it not the right time to end the monopoly of the whole sale sellers for such poor quality food stuffs? Then comes to my mind a recent movie in which a lady ventured to take up what seemed to be an impossible task and conveyed to us a life sustaining message revealing the hazards of pesticides use and the importance of terrace gardening.
If you try to find out the reason behind such poor quality food produce and the abnormal use of pesticides, we can easily see that the increase in population and decrease in the availability of farmland have led to the present disastrous situation.
After knowing all the above facts, do you buy such vegetables for your family?
I know it’s a big “NO”. So it’s time to take an initiative to put an end to this enigma.
|"Why not we start our own organic garden? Let it be your terrace, balcony or the pavement. Make use of the little space available, the result is not just good food produce but a guarantee of your dear one’s health.”
The benefit of an organic garden is not only limited to healthy food, but also creates a cool atmosphere by diminishing the heat emanating from the top and more comfortable to live in. This will also reduce our mental stress and physical strain on hot sunny days.
Hence I on my way for a healthy beginning, how about you!
My First Organic Pot
First and foremost step for starting an organic garden is selecting your plant/ plants. I have decided to plant tomatoes and my available space is the balcony of my apartment.
You can also look at the health benefits while selecting a plant. For example, tomatoes are rich source of vitamins A, C and folic acid. They are also famous for its beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
After choosing the plant/ plants, the next factors considered are:
Watering the plant:
Water the plants adequately, not more and not less. On an average, watering every alternate day would be good enough for the health of the plants. Always observe and see that plants never dry up. Watering more will take away the nutrients while draining out. It’s wastage of water too. Ensure to provide adequate water proofing and water drainage facilities.
The requirement of sunlight varies from plant to plant. Some require semi shade, some require 3-4 hours of sunlight and so on. Seeds sown in a seed tray do not require direct sunlight for the first 1-2 weeks. Consider installing a shade net, if the plant is not growing well under scorching sun.
Try pots made out of clay, mud, cement, terracotta etc. It is always advised to avoid plastic as they are not bio-degradable. An exception in plastic group is grow bags, which are bio- degradable.
To make sure the plant is given adequate nutrients, it is good to supply compost, coco-peat, red soil, river sand, cow dung, neem oil and so on. Read our upcoming articles to know more about the home made organic fertilizers.
While I setup my first pot, I began my journey of enjoying the pleasure of nurturing and growing my favorite veggie right in front of my eyes. My mornings started with a curiosity to see the tiny growth of my plant from its seed to a juicy vegetable.
After listening to my organic story, do you also wish to start a story of your own? Let me help you to start one for you! Continue reading...
As we are onboard to experience the new thrill of organic gardening, let me start by answering some of your basic questions.
Who can do terrace/ balcony gardening?
The answer is simple--ALL. Yes. All can help in growing up terrace garden.
If you have your parents staying with you, they can extend their hand in growing up the plants in your garden and will assist you in their own way to help you in your happy journey.
If you are a housewife or a professional, you can definitely find some leisure time by mild adjustments of your schedule. It can be also a release from your stress and strain. Your husband will definitely join hands with you to help you realize your dream. Your school-going children will assist you in your gardening. For them it will be another interesting game play.
So, you and your family will soon be wonderstruck to find out the beautiful treasure unraveled by nature making your life wonderfully different. So see that nothing hinders you in beating the pleasant rhythm of life.
Are there any limitations, if yes, what are they?
Of course the first possible limitation is the availability of space, building restrictions and related permissions for setting up the garden. Other possible challenges are selecting right crops for the available space and irrigation and maintenance.
How to overcome these limitations?
If you are living in a villa or an independent house, the terrace and the courtyard owned by you can of course be used. If you are living in an apartment, the possible options are terrace, balcony, courtyards and side pavement/ driveways.
What kind of vegetables you can grow in terrace/balcony/courtyard?
You can grow all the vegetables used in our day today life. Below are a few examples for the most commonly grown vegetables in organic gardens:
- Leafy vegetables: Indian spinach, amaranthus, fenugreek, lettuce and coriander.
- Gourds: bitter gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin, ash gourd, ridge gourd, little gourd, sponge gourd, chow chow, cucumber and snake gourd.
- Root vegetables: radish, garlic, ginger, beetroot, onion, carrot and mango ginger.
- Other vegetables: cabbage, chillies, tomato, bhendi, cauliflower, capsicum and brinjal.
- Fruits: mango, mosambi, custard apples, banana, orange, pomegranate and guava.
How much does a terrace/balcony/courtyard garden cost?
The cost is absolutely dependent on your budget. You can start a roof top garden with less than 100 rupees or you can set up a 1000 soft roof top polyhouse by spending thousands.
To start your first pot you don’t need any budget but a little effort, commitment and time. From the seeds to the manure and organic pesticides, whatever you require for your garden are readily available and could be collected from your own surroundings or your kitchen.
Does this gardening require any maintenance?
No extra maintenance is required for terrace garden when compared to a normal garden. During summer you require to water your plants on daily basis and in winter you may do it every alternate day. To avoid weeds and diseases, a semi-annual maintenance is required.
What are the benefits of terrace/balcony/courtyard gardening?
More than the biggest advantage of eating healthy and chemical-free vegetables, it also cools the house. Nurturing and watering plants gives you required physical exercise. As there is an increase in the production of oxygen and a decrease in the percentage of carbon dioxide, a healthy atmosphere is created providing healthy micro changes in the immediate living area.
Gardening itself can be a healthy and fascinating hobby for you, your parents and kids. After a long day of hectic work in office, gardening can really help you to fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities. The physical activity coupled with gardening can help you to reduce the chances of developing brain disorders.
So be on the go!
Now that you know the basics of terrace gardening, read our forth coming article series to know more about how to grow each plant, appropriate organic fertilizers and the precautions required.