When Kolkata’s Roopa Jos moved to Kerala after marriage, she decided to try her hands at farming and eating pesticide-free food. She set up a small vegetable garden on her 700 sq ft terrace.
“When I started eating homegrown vegetables, I realised the huge difference in taste, freshness, and even health. Even the chillies I grew were tastier than those from the market,” she says.
“I started with different varieties of spinach and realised that it wasn’t growing well due to the frequent rains and pest attacks. So, I looked for alternate ways.”
“While searching on the internet, I discovered hydroponics, and learned that it could be a better way to grow greens efficiently.”
In 2021, she set up a hydroponics unit on her terrace to grow fresh and exotic leafy vegetables. The unit she installed has provision to plant 48 plants and cost her Rs 23,000.
“It is like a stand where we can grow 24 plants on each side. The unit comes with a reservoir where the water is filled, and there is a submersive pump set through which the water is circulated everywhere.”
Today her garden has different varieties of vegetables like ladyfingers, cowpea, and cucumber, as well as exotic varieties like kale, broccoli, and bok choy.
While hydroponics is a soil-less mode of farming, as per Roopa, it is important to keep a check on the unit at least once or twice a day.
“We need to make sure that the pump is working without any fail, as continuous circulation of water is required for the plants.”
“It is also essential to trim the roots of the vegetables regularly and according to their growth to avoid blockage leading to leakage.”
Roopa also grows Chinese cabbage, coriander, celery, parsley, palak, Italian basil, and more using hydroponics.
“The greens are extra fresh and free of any kind of pests. The best part about hydroponics is that we get a faster yield — within two to three weeks.”