Bangalore is known as the Garden City of India. The city is named thus because of its culture. Every house in Bangalore had a garden in the front yard and a kitchen garden in the backyard. However, professor Vishwanath Kadur, the father of terrace gardening, points out how things have changed because of rapid urbanisation.
Although the blog is about terrace vegetable gardening and not Bangalore, we thought it would be wise to start from where it all began – from the time when the garden was grounded. The idea of terrace vegetable gardening has been there for a few decades now. It is now that it has become a trend as the urban populace shows its inclination towards terrace gardening.
If you want to grow vegetables on your terrace and have the mind and heart to do it, then read on.
Before you start purchasing pots and vases, seeds and saplings, you must keep some points in mind. As a beginner terrace gardener, it is essential to choose the right spot and know how you can protect your terrace and your plants.
Since vegetation needs ample sunlight, it is crucial to choose the right spot for your terrace garden. Keep in mind that the plants should get light in the morning as well as in the evening. Therefore, place your planters accordingly.
If your area of residence receives good seasonal rains, then try not to shade the plants away from it. For a terrace vegetable garden, rain is always a better source of minerals than tap water. If you have a spacious terrace, you may also try to harvest rainwater.
Creating a terrace vegetable garden always comes with the risk of damping. Before you make your terrace garden, you need to take some measures to mitigate the threat of damping.
Once you choose the spot for your pots and plants, you need to waterproof that section of your terrace. You can use waterproofing solutions available in the market to avoid dampening.
If you choose pots for your plants, you don’t need to pay much heed to the waterproofing. However, if your preference is to spread your terrace vegetable garden using coco peat, you should consider your roof’s waterproofing. You can create raised beds for your planters using drain cells. Once you spread the drain cell and create an elevation, lay some water papers over it before pouring the coco peat mixture on them.
Although your tiny vegetable plants need ample sunlight, they need protection from intense insolation. To protect them from the mid-day sunshine, you can plant some relatively large plants guarding the solar beams. It will prevent your plants from getting scorched.
Large plants also protect the little ones from strong winds, effectively reducing any damage to them. Moreover, you can use plastic nets over the planters or surround your terrace garden with them to protect the yield from birds and other animals.
Now that you know the initial steps of setting up a terrace vegetable garden let’s dig some more and learn the basics of terrace gardening or farming.
When it comes to terrace farming, you don’t want to carry heavy pots or vases to your rooftop, and you don’t need to. You can purchase small polybags that come with UV coating. These are lightweight and handy. Sometimes, you can get these polybags with a package of coco peat. These polybags are available in various shapes and sizes. You can opt for a smaller one for the seedlings while use the larger ones to grow your veggies.
For the larger vegetation we mentioned earlier, you can use cement pots. These pots are relatively heavy and can support larger and denser plants.
If a house is built by the book and has a strong construction, you can grow a mango tree in your terrace garden if you want. We won’t advise you to go to the extent of growing a mango tree. But you should decide what you want to grow.
Many people grow small vegetable plants in their terrace vegetable garden because these plants take less space. You can grow chillies, tomatoes, spinach in your terrace vegetable garden. These are comparatively easier. If you have a large enough space, you can go for pumpkin or bottle gourd or maybe some cabbages.
Every gardener must know how to create compost at his own disposal. It is vital for organic crop production, so is the primary reason behind making a terrace vegetable garden. The idea of terrace gardening originated to empower people to grow their own vegetables organically, to prevent harms caused by pesticides. Therefore, you should know how to get your organic manure. Here are a few simple ways to get it –
Segregating the dry waste (paper, plastic, and wrappers, etc.) and wet waste in different bins is the first step of this process.
There is another way of preparing compost, and it is called vermicompost. For those planning you start your terrace vegetable garden on coco peat, you can consider using vermicomposting. In this process, worms play the primary role in turning day-to-day dry waste into compost.
You can collect shredded paper, coconut fibre and soak them in water. Later, squeeze the excess water out and put the mixture in a separate bin and put some earthworms into it. Periodically, you can add kitchen waste like fruits and vegetable peels.
Apart from these, there are Bokashi Method and Egg Shells Manure – popular among gardeners for preparing organic manure.
It goes without saying that plants need water to grow. While making a terrace vegetable garden, you need to ensure your plants are adequately nourished and watered. With that being said, you need to be careful not to shower your little plants unnecessarily.
By using more water than required, not only will you be wasting a valuable resource, your terrace will also run a risk of leakage. Poke your finger about an inch deep into the soil and see if it’s moist or dry. Water only if it’s dry.
Keep in mind these tips –
Cuba started the culture of terrace gardening in 1995. Today, Cuba produces 85% of their food in the cities. Professor Vishwanath Kadur also started in the year 1995, but he regrets that India could not reach as far as Cuba when it comes to terrace farming.
Setting up a terrace vegetable garden is very helpful for the urban population to eat healthily, and we cannot be happier to help those who really want to grow food on their own.