We often receive emails from our readers with queries about their experiments with sustainable living. So, here’s a section dedicated to you – TBI’s ‘agony aunt’ for all things green.
This week, Sister Meena and her students reached out to us on how to set up a terrace garden in their school. Their school in Wadala has a big terrace, and they wanted it to be a learning space for the students
For some expert opinion, we spoke to Deepak Raghav, the founder of Zero Budget Natural Farming Foundation, Delhi, and Rahul Dhoka, the founder of Acqua Farms, Chennai. Both Deepak and Rahul are expert terrace gardeners who have expanded their forte into rooftop gardening and hydroponics, respectively.
Here’s what they had to say!
Space is Everything
The concept of terrace gardening revolves around space. You must ensure that your terrace receives ample sunlight. If there are areas where the sun is too harsh, you will have to cover them with a shade, or opt-out of placing your plants there.
You can use baskets, growbags or even create a lawn on the surface of the terrace. If you are looking for an economical terrace garden, growbags are a better option, but make sure that the bottom of these bags is waterproofed to avoid any leakage into the home.
“If you have a strong terrace, you can try cultivating different fruit-bearing trees but always opt for indigenous seeds when doing so. ‘Desi’ seeds can withstand any climatic condition and give you a better harvest. Moreover, they are easily available in the market,” says Deepak.
Making Your Own Soil
“The nutrients you add to the soil have the tendency to wash away during heavy rains, so it’s important to add this mix to the soil weekly. You can eventually create your own compost and even make your fertilisers and pesticides from the garden’s vegetable and fruit waste,” says Rahul. You can check out a range of natural fertilisers, compost and gardening tools here.
Rahul also adds that watering your plants twice a day keeps them hydrated, especially during the summers.
Patience is Key
Both experts have repeatedly said that patience is key. “For first-time gardeners, it is very difficult to go through the initial period of waiting. There’s a high tendency to give up, but the joy of eating a homegrown vegetable or fruit is something else,” says Rahul.
Deepak adds, “It’s like bringing up a child. If you can put in that much time and effort into your garden, then you will get more than what you asked for.”
Low Budget Terrace Gardens
Sourcing your soil, seeds and other material from local farmers can really bring down your expenses. With an initial investment of Rs 3,000, anyone can set up their terrace garden. Most of the things required can be sourced easily from nurseries and other organic farms at economical prices.
“Terrace gardening is not rocket science, it’s all about the effort and the care you put into your cultivation,” Rahul concludes.
We hope this has cleared up all your doubts and given you enough motivation to start your very own terrace garden!
To know more, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)