Rooftop gardening or terrace gardening has gained traction over the past few years in cities due to the lack of space, as well as a need for creating greener environments. While patios or front yards are not a luxury bestowed upon all homeowners, a terrace or balcony is a given and can serve as an alternative space for growing a garden. With the help of a professional, it is possible to set up a garden on the terrace to experience several benefits, including temperature control, pesticide-free food, sustainable food, and more green spaces. Here’s a guide to getting started with terrace farming in your home.
In a house constructed by a professional architect, due attention should be paid right at the planning stage towards factors such as withstanding the weight of a full-fledged terrace garden, including one with big trees. The first thing required for turning the entire terrace into a garden is to lay out a layer of soil. At this stage, it is essential to get the rooftop professionally waterproofed to avoid leakage cropping up in future. Once the waterproofing is done, you can lay a lawn or experiment with growing plants of your choice. A more straightforward option is to cover the surface of the terrace with potted plants.
The right type of soil is a must for healthy plants. The ideal potting or soil mix is a combination of regular soil, coco peat and vermicompost in equal quantities. Excessive watering and rains wash away the nutrients, which is why it is essential to keep replenishing the nutrients in the soil. Ensure that you add compost or manure every week to make sure the soil is well nourished. Gardens are an excellent option for bringing fresh and clean air into the house and are a must for every Indian home.
Fresh home-grown vegetables are good for health and are safe from chemicals. You can begin with perennial fruit trees and leafy greens, which grow well in planters, grow-bags and plastic drums. If you are a first-time gardener, you can start with a small pot and a single vegetable and gradually scale it up by adding more containers and growing other vegetables. Plants such as tomatoes and chillies are easy to grow and do not require a whole lot of care, so beginning with them is an excellent choice. Keep in mind that it takes a couple of months for a garden to show results, so patience is of the essence. Once you get some experience on farming in containers and grow bags, you can try out other advanced techniques such as planting in raised beds that you can custom build.
You can begin by planting perennial fruit trees, tuberous plants and leafy greens, as they are the easiest to maintain. Perennial fruit trees can be planted in sturdy drums or grow bags. Plants or trees that can be grown in this manner include orange, lime, star fruit, guava, custard apple, soursop, gooseberry, mango, dragon fruit, litchi, rose apple and bananas. Sweet potatoes, turmeric and ginger, can be grown in separate grow-bags that are deep enough for accommodating tubers. Greens that are perfect for beginner gardeners to attempt growing are lettuce, mustard, and spinach.
Use your vertical space to double the square footage available on the terrace. Ensure that you have a plan in place on how to go about it. If you have walls, then you can hang planters on it. You can choose to grow vegetable shrubs and vines such as beans, squashes, tall tomato varieties and gourds near the walls and railings so that they get the support they need and have ample space to spread while saving floorspace in the garden.
Browse through these ideas to create a cosy ambience with seating by choosing the right upholstery for the garden.