10 STEP GUIDE TO BUILD A TERRACE GARDEN
Today, as we live in an age of concrete civilization and virtual interactions. A world where virtual neighborhood and enormous buildings overpower the natural life of humans, people have forgotten the environmental & therapeutic effects of nature.
Nature though depletes, is still the place humans crave for a holiday, relaxation, relieving their stresses and getting a positive vibe. However, the shortage of spaces with urban civilization has left them with fewer spaces for sustaining a garden near them. Terrace gardens are therefore gaining a lot more importance than before.
An Organic Terrace Vegetable Garden at your home is easy to create. Fresh home grown vegetables taste delicious, are good for health and safe from fertilizers. These are some really easy ways to incorporate an organic vegetable garden on the terrace.
1. Sunlight requirement – The selected area should receive at least 4-5 hours of good and direct sunrays for vegetable garden.
2. Selection of area- The area which we select for gardening may be land, terrace or balcony. The area should not consist of shade. Selected area should have good drainage system and area must be free from insect/pest host plant.
3. Selection of containers- A container is any object like a pot in any shape/size. It should be able to hold water and soil and other ingredients in the container. A good thick UV treated plastic grow bag can be used. Magic Planter Box can be used to grow vegetables and fruits on your terrace. There are many options for selecting the containers, different containers are Magic planter box, grow bags, plastic bags, plastic trays, mud pots, coir pots, plastic planters, paint buckets, drums.
4. Selection of seeds – Seed is a fertilized ovule of a flowering plant contains an embryo and is capable of germinating into a new plant.
Selection of seeds include:Select disease free seeds – Avoid black spots on seeds, white powdery substance.
Select pest free seeds : Avoid any holes or cuts/breakage on seeds.Select bold seeds – which are healthy.High germination rate seeds.
5. Sowing and transplantation – Is the simplest way to introduce new plants into the garden. Seeds can be sown directly into the garden soil or in containers where they are grown.
After sowing, thin layer of soil is sprinkled. Directly a seeds can be sown into the potting media at a depth of about 2-3 times the size of the seed.
6. Irrigation (watering methods) – Do not over water and do not under water. On an average, watering every alternate day is good enough preferably morning is good for watering. Monitor your plants and you will notice when they look dried up or not. If you excess water the plants, the water that drains out will take away the nutrients. And of course, you are wasting water too!
7. Nutrition application – Plants should be fertilized only when they are actively growing. Most plants will not need to be fertilized more than once every 1 – 3 months, between March and September. During winter, plants experience a rest period or short days and usually need very little fertilizer. Various nutrients are Plant Meal, Bone Meal, Vermicompost, Bioenzyme, etc.
8. Pest management – First use a jet spray of water and get rid of all the insects from your plant. Use your fingers if needed. Usually the bottle spray is not useful here. Instead use the water hose directly. Give the plant a complete wash. Wait for 1-2 days and see if they come back. Give a second wash if necessary.
Neem oil: Add 10 ml of Neem oil to 1 liter of water. Add 5 drops of liquid handwash or 2-3 pinches of detergent. Mix it well and give a jet spray to all the affected parts of the plant, especially the ventral or underneath of the leaves. This you can do once in 10 days or so.
Panchagavya is made out of 5 ingredients and hence its name – cow dung, cow urine, cow milk, ghee and curd. Some folks add in bananas and jaggery too. It can be used for all types of pest and diseases.
9. Harvesting & post-harvesting
All Leafy Vegetables can be harvested in 35-45 Days.
Palak, Amaranthus, Coriander – cut once and pluck from roots later.
Tomato, Starts in 2.5 months and yields for 2 months.
Brinjal starts in 2.5 months and yields for 1 year, requires pruning.
Each vegetable plant has a certain life span, after which need to be uprooted.
10. Crop rotation – Crop rotation is a process in which crops are rotational planted after the life cycle of the plant in your garden from one crop to other. The goals of crop rotation are to help manage soil fertility and also to help avoid or reduce problems with soil-borne diseases and some soil-dwelling insects, such as corn rootworms.
Organic terrace gardens can be created on almost all kinds of concrete buildings like residential, flats, corporate offices, commercial hubs, godowns and factories.
Some of the benefits to health, aesthetics and environment include:
- Reduce indoor temperature by 6- 8 degree and can keep the environment cool.
- Reduce overall heat absorption of buildings and maintenance atmospheric temperature.
- Convenience of safe, pesticide-free, healthy green and fresh vegetables.
- Encouraging to a routine of physical exercise, clean air and being close to nature.
- Increases amount of oxygen in the air.
- Reduce sound pollution.
- Act as a habitat for city-weary birds.