When Anna Mani Ratnam (27) from Machilipatnam was moving into his new home, what he was most excited about was that he could finally pursue his childhood dream of having a terrace garden.

While planting and maintaining a terrace garden might sound like an expensive affair, Mani has managed to nurture more than 100 plants for just Rs 500 a month.

Mani started his journey with a tulsi plant and later moved on to jasmine and tomato plants which his family consumes regularly.

To learn more about gardening and making organic fertilisers, he attended a two-week workshop at Guntur.

After learning all the ins and outs of gardening, Mani approached a dairy farm near his home and collected cow dung and urine to keep the cost of fertilisers low.

He purchased recycled containers like plastic buckets or steel buckets from a local kabadiwala (scrap dealer) to use as planters.

“All the wet waste was converted into compost while some of the dry waste including bottles and boxes were recycled for the garden,” he informs.

He grows different plants from fruiting ones like tomato and brinjal to medicinal plants like bhringraj and soursop, and flowering plants like adeniums and bonsais.

Mani also has a Facebook page where he shares composting, gardening and seed-harvesting tips with his followers.