What is a terrace garden?
Also called a roof garden, it is a garden in which vegetables, fruits or flowers are grown on terraces, balconies or roofs of buildings.
Where can one start a terrace garden?
These gardens can be created on almost all kinds of buildings like residential flats, individual houses, commercial hubs & factories.
What should be done before using the roof as a terrace garden?
A simple water proofing of the roof is enough. Various waterproofing products are available in the market that will ensure that the roof is protected, water-resistant and leakage-free.
How do I begin to green my terrace and grow food on my roof?
You can begin greening your terrace with these simple steps, and then move on to bigger ideas:
- Take any simple pot or ‘gamla’ or better still recycle any of your old containers.
- Mix compost, soil, coir peat (or sand) and vermicompost in equal quantities.
- Cover the drainage hole at the bottom of the container with a broken pot piece or a flat stone, and fill it up with the mixture. You will have to drill a hole in a recycled container first.
- Pour water and check that no soil is discharged through the bottom hole.
- Wet the soil and plant your seed or sapling.
- Watch your greens grow!
What types of containers can I use?
Containers of all sizes, shapes and material, (plastic, ceramic, metal or mud) can be used. If you are an environment buff, you just need to use your imagination! Your Coke bottles, take-away plastic boxes, old sacks, coconut shells, old broken buckets, dented kitchen pots and pans, just about everything can be recycled and used as containers.
What can I plant in my garden?
You can start with something from your kitchen shelf, that is available and used in everyday cooking like coriander (dhaniya), fenugreek (methi), gram (chana) and chilli (mirchi). Once you gain confidence you can move onto vegetables of your choice and even grow fruit trees like banana and pomegranate. Almost all vegetables can be grown (creepers, drumstick, lime, tomatoes).
What quantity of vegetables/ fruits can I expect of my terrace garden?
You can grow at least 6 vegetables per season. Your 1 sqm of terrace area can give you anywhere between 25 to 50 kg of vegetables in a year.
What are the advantages of terrace gardens?
Some of the benefits to health, aesthetics and environment include:
- Reduce indoor temperature by 6- 8 degree and can reduce air conditioning cost
- Reduce overall heat absorption of buildings and insulate the building against heat and cold
- Convenience of safe, pesticide-free, healthy green and fresh vegetables
- Conducive to a routine of physical exercise, clean air and being close to nature
How much time will it take to begin a terrace garden?
It can take as little as a week to set up and you can begin harvesting your greens in a month’s time.
What about the maintenance of these gardens? Will they consume a lot of time?
Once your garden is established, an hour a day is more than enough to maintain your green area. It is the perfect area to exercise in and improve your fresh air intake.
How much will the terrace garden cost?
If you plan to start a terrace garden at one go, it will cost about Rs 20,000, which will be the investment on seeds, saplings, containers and the soil bed/manure. The set-up cost will reduce if you begin small and stepwise, invest a little every month, and use recycled containers.
About the Author:
Sagar Datta heads and operates an interior design consultancy firm, Casa interio.