Visakhapatnam's Bangaru Jhansi turned her rooftop into a lush green paradise with large fruit trees of organic mangoes, oranges and jackfruit. Today, she shares tips to grow these fruit trees on the terrace.

Prune the grafted trees Bangaru suggests pruning the mango and orange trees before the onset of their favourable season.

“This prepares the plants for good growth and improved air circulation. By pruning, we remove vulnerable parts of the plant and minimise the risk of pest damage,” she says.

Prepare the potting mix In order to grow trees, Bangaru advises preparing potting mix by adding 30 percent vermicompost/kitchen waste compost/cow dung, 30 percent soil, 30 percent cocopeat, and 10 percent neem cake.

“I transfer the potting mix into a large container or pot and then plant the saplings. This potting mix contains only a handful of soil so it does not add burden to the terrace weight,” she says.

Bangaru shares that the grafted plant yields fruits within a year whereas a seedling requires between five and seven years before it bears fruits.

When to add biofertilisers After planting the fruit saplings, she suggests adding biofertilisers and liquid fertilisers in the pots after three months. She shares the composition of one of her trichoderma-enriched biofertilisers.

“Take 100 kg of cow dung, 10 kg of neem powder, and 2 kg of trichoderma viride. Mix the ingredients and sprinkle some water over it,” she says.

“Cover it with a cotton cloth and keep them under shade. After seven days, white-coloured good bacteria will have formed. Then, directly mix the compost with cow dung and add to the soil,” she adds.

Add liquid fertiliser to boost yield Bangaru suggests using a unique fish amino acid biofertiliser to promote healthy growth and development of plants. As the name suggests, the fertiliser is made using fish!

“Take 1 kg of sea fish and 1 kg of jaggery. Mix it in a terracotta pot or plastic container with the help of a stick. Then, cover it with a cotton cloth and keep it under shade,” she explains.

“Every morning and evening, stir it in a clockwise direction. The fertiliser will be ready in 15 days. Take 10 ml of fish amino acid and dilute it in five litres of water, and then, spray it on the leaves and under soil roots of the plants,” she says.

Bangaru also suggests giving fruit-fermented juices to plants similar to how it is given to pregnant women; plants also crave citrus fruits before flowering and fruiting!

How to remove pests The urban gardener suggests spraying neem oil every week to get rid of insects like mealybugs. “If you still spot the pests on the plant, spray a mixture of chillies and garlic paste mixed in rice water,” she shares.