Grow Vegetables On The Rooftop

By TheHindu on 02 Jul 2015 | read

Trying new ways:Assistant Horticulturist Keshava Shetty explaining the growth of spinach in Mangalore on Wednesday.—photo: Raghava M.

Visitors to the recently concluded three-day horticulture and floriculture show in Kadri Park would not have missed the way “basale soppu” (spinach) was being grown. The orchard-like structure where ridge gourd was hanging was fascinating too.

Such elegance could be recreated on rooftop, says Keshava Shetty, Assistant Horticulturist, who has been growing vegetables for the horticultural show. “We exhibited these structures to give an idea on how a new look could be given to growing vegetables on the rooftop,” he says.

Vegetables, Mr. Shetty says, can be grown either on cement pots or on empty cement bags. “If it is on the cement pot, keep the pot on a brick or a cement block to protect the plant from heat,” he says. Mr. Shetty has been working in the Horticultural Department for over two decades.

Here is the way to grow spinach , ridge gourd, bitter gourd, and tomato:

Cement pots to be used for growing vegetables should be filled with wet sand. This, Mr. Shetty says will drain out excess water out of the pot. Over the wet sand, dry cow dung should be filled till about three-forth of the pot. While seeds of ridge gourd, bitter gourd, and tomato are sown, a shoot is placed in case of spinach. As the plant grows, natural manure is put at regular intervals.

In pots growing spinach, a bamboo shoot or a dry twig is placed in the middle of the pot to which the spinach twig is tied.

Four bamboo shoots are placed in each of the four corners. A circular or a rectangular shaped frame is placed over the four bamboo shoots. “As the spinach grows, it spreads on to the bamboo frame. This gives a canopy look,” Mr. Shetty says.

Creating orchard like structure for ridge gourd and bitter gourd, Mr. Shetty says, requires far more space on the terrace. “It will be better to have the structure on one side of a long terrace.” Around five to six cement pots growing ridge gourd or bitter gourd are placed in a line. Bamboo shoots could be placed at four corners. Rectangular roof like structure can be placed over the four bamboo shoots. “We ensure that there is appropriate spacing in the roof to allow sunlight.”

Mr. Shetty says by watering and regular feeding of natural manure, these plants yield in three months. “If there is adequate water supply, people can start preparing from now. If not, you can start in June when there is rainfall,” Mr. Shetty says.