Have you looked around and seen a park near you lately? With green spaces suffering from a major space crunch, in the last decade, people have fought back with a green thumb.
Rapid urbanisation has pushed city folks to clean up their terraces and start gardening. Surja Prakash Agarwala, a member of The Zoological Society, Kolkata says, “Terrace gardening has become a boon for people living in highly commercial areas where finding even a square-foot of open area is a cumbersome process. With this concept, we can grow whatever we want and wherever we want, that too in just a small pot.” In the last decade, the trend has grown so much that organic terrace farming for home kitchens and manicured terraces are now mushrooming everywhere.
And now, several other trends are coming to the fore. Ceramic, concrete and earthen pots and planters, plastic bags, tubs and even old water bottles are being reused to pot plants. Digambar Singh, of The Living Greens, a start-up that helps you set up a home garden and grow your own vegetables at home has some tips on how to terrace gardening can work. “For the inoculum, you’ll need 50 per cent garden soil, 25 per cent coco peat and 25 per cent vermicompost or organic compost. This makes the perfect mix for growing any plant or vegetable”, says Singh. Transfer this inoculum into a pot and choose the variety of vegetable or plant you want to grow.
Always keep in mind the sowing time and harvesting time before choosing the seeds. “Opt for seasonal plants as they are easy to grow, harvest and also do not drain the soil of any essential nutrients.”, adds Agarwala. One crucial step is watering the saplings. Always use a spray instead of garden hoses. This doesn’t cause any damage to the tender saplings. “For fertilizers, there’s no need to go to the market. You can pour in the water from the washed pulses, rice, crushed eggshells, used tea leaves and even Epsom salt (sendha namak)”, advises Singh. Lastly, always choose a place that receives at least 5-6 hrs of sunlight. Poor sunlight stunts growth.
Terrace gardens have blossomed during the pandemic as several have taken it up full-time due to unemployment and lack of jobs. It’s a great way to save money and you can always sell your surplus greens to your neighbours.“The best part about terrace gardening is you can do it on a small scale or a big scale, and everything will prove fruitful”, concludes Agarwala.