Retired bank manager tells how to convert rooftop into a vegetable-fruit garden
Thiruvananthapuram Petta native K Rajmohan has blazed a trail by setting up a rich vegetable and fruit garden on his house terrace. A retired senior bank manager, he manages to grow almost all crops required for his family on the rooftop. The plants are grown in 200 sacks on the 1250-square-feet terrace.
First plastic sheet is spread on the terrace and triangle-shaped metal stand and bricks are arranged on it. The grow bags and flower pots are placed on top of this in order to avoid waterlogging on terrace.
Barrels, fertilizer sacks, grow bag and flower pots can be used according to the growth of plants. A shade net can be used for preventing direct sunlight. Top quality seeds or saplings from reliable sources should be selected.
Let the soil sit under sunlight to destroy the microbes in it. Add some lime or dolomite in it and keep it covered for two weeks. Then mix equal amount of cow dung powder, coconut husk and vermicompost. Fill three fourth of the flower pot or grow bags with this mixture. If soil is not available, cow dung, coconut husk and old newspapers can be used.
Bone manure, neem cake and groundnut cake are ideal for boosting growth and immunity. After planting the saplings, apply cow dung powder, compost and groundnut cake fortnightly. Microbe fertilizers also are effective.
Applying organic pesticides at regular intervals is good to get rid of insects. The bugs found under the leaves can be destroyed using neem oil emulsion. Bird's eye chilli and garlic solution, rice water and ash also are effective for pest menace.
Okra, cucumber, snake gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, spinach, beans, ivy gourd, coriander, long beans, pumpkin, ash gourd, chilli, cabbage, cauliflower, ber apple, grapes, passion fruit, lime, papaya, banana, mulberry, strawberry, yam, ginger, turmeric, wild turmeric, bush pepper, groundnut, corn etc are cultivated in different seasons.
Mulching with old newspapers and dry leaves will help sustain moisture during summer. Plants should be watered 1-3 times a day according to the intensity of summer. Instead of pouring too much water at once, irrigate multiple times a day.
Drip irrigation also is effective. Dry coconut frond and tree branches can be placed for supporting vines. Ash gourds and other heavy vegetables can be supported using plastic buckets.
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