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How a Kerala Contractor Converted His Terrace to an Oasis of Vegetables

Yielding a large variety of vegetables, the produce from Mehboob’s garden includes bitter gourd, ladies finger, tomato, green chilli, capsicum, snake gourd, carrot, brinjal, pumpkin and ivy gourd.

Who wouldn’t wish for vegetables and fruits that are grown organically and without any traces of chemical adulterations?

As more and more people in urban cities are making a conscious switch to organic, people in small towns and villages are not any behind.

In the village of Alathurpadi, nestled amidst the hills of Malappuram district, one contractor does not need to visit the vegetable market except for potatoes or onions, for his terrace grows almost all vegetables for day-to-day use.

Though Mehboob had a small patch of land, he could not use it for cultivation as the plot had large trees in its premise and decided to try a hand at terrace farming.

While terrace and kitchen gardens are quite a common sight in households across God’s own country, the variety of cultivation is mostly limited to few crops.

For representational purposes. Source: Wikimedia.

However, Mehboob’s vegetable garden is a farm in itself! Yielding a large variety of vegetables, the produce includes bitter gourd, ladies finger, tomato, green chilli, capsicum, snake gourd, carrot, brinjal, pumpkin and ivy gourd.

And Mehboob had learnt everything from scratch. From training in the poly house at Malappuram Agriculture office to wick irrigation from Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), Kozhikode, he had started off with 25 grow bags initially.

Today, close to 140 bags are used to cultivate the vegetables in Mehboob’s garden. To expand his farming, the man has also installed a poly house across a .04-acre plot.

Everything is grown in quite an organised manner. All the grow bags are placed upon bricks, which are laid in neat lines of two. While crops like bitter gourd, snake gourd and pumpkin have been planted near the parapet wall, others like tomato, green chilli, capsicum, ladies finger, brinjal, cabbage, and carrot are planted in the middle.


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For irrigation, Mehboob has connected a pipe with the water tank that facilitates his chosen method of wick irrigation. Also, all the plants have been grown from seeds that are bought from Bengaluru. Using only organic fertilisers, Mehboob’s partners in the farm include his wife Sarafunnisa and three children Ibrahim, Mahshuda Banu and Muhammad Saleef.

To keep pest infestation at bay, he only uses an organic pesticide made out of tobacco leaves. “Anyone can cultivate vegetables on the terrace if they can spend 50 minutes in the morning and evening,” Mehboob told Mathrubhumi, a local daily.

The dedication with which an ordinary person like Mehboob grows vegetables should definitely act as a determinant for all those who wish to cultivate their own vegetables in their terraces and backyards that are unadulterated by chemicals.

Featured Image Inset Source: Mathrubhumi.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.