Homemaker Nandini started the garden as a habitat for birds and animals, but soon began growing vegetables
Tailorbirds, sparrows and bees fly around picking up their feed in a terrace garden in Lawspet. They choose from the varieties of fruits and vegetable plants, and even the flowers of green leaves grown in this garden.
Pleased to see the guests in her terrace garden, Nandini.R., a resident of Lawspet, says: “I began the terrace garden to create a habitat for birds and animals.”
Starting as an experiment, she initially planted ornamental plants in the terrace. Her strong inclination to follow organic methods in terrace gardening allowed her to grow even vegetables and fruits. “I was not blessed with a green thumb so I was hesitant to grow vegetables or fruits in the terrace. Initially, I planted only ornamental plants for the birds. As they grew, I saw tomatoes and pumpkin grow automatically from the compost. Watching them grow, I decided to plant more vegetables in the terrace garden,” she says.
She makes bed for the plants from the vegetable compost collected from her kitchen waste with a layer of soil and dry leaves. No organic waste goes out of her house. She collects the kitchen waste and prepares compost from it. It is because of the organic method that different bees visit the terrace garden. It takes at least two to three months to prepare the compost from kitchen waste. “This bed is sufficient for the plants to grow. Thatched roofs are built to provide shade to these plants,” she says.
Now, her terrace garden has tomatoes, onion, broad beans, more than two varieties of green leaves and many other fruit plants. From these plants, one can save seeds to grow more plants. “It is difficult to find a good source for native seeds. I got the seeds from an exhibition organised by an environment protection group. The first thing we should learn in organic farming is to save the seeds,” she added.
She wants to grow small trees in the garden including fruit-bearing plants to make a habitat for birds and animals. Nandini confesses that what she has done was very little as her family was soon moving to a different place. She believes that more could be done to grow vegetables from the terrace garden that can be self-sustaining. Not just that, people will also start managing the organic waste themselves rather than waiting for the government to tackle the problem.