Despite the limited space, more and more people living in urban areas continue to take to farming. Take Krishnappa Gowda Paddambail for instance.
An employee at the Government College of Teacher Education in Mangaluru, Krishnappa has been cultivating 30-50 kilos of paddy on his 1200 sq ft terrace for over five years, the Hindu reported.
How does he manage a bountiful harvest on a terrace? A combination of hard work and 200 ‘grow bags’.
A growbag is a large plastic bag filled with a growing medium and used for growing plants, usually tomatoes or other salad crops. The growing medium is a soilless organic material such as peat, coir, composted green waste, composted bark or composted wood chips, or a mixture of these.
Growing up, Krishnappa helped his family cultivate their farmland in Sullia. Memories of work on the farm also prompted him to take up the then pet-project.
The terrace farm has rice, radish, pomegranate, drumstick, yam and guavas, and turmeric a variety of other fruits and vegetables. Last year, he says eight kgs of turmeric were grown on the terrace!
Home-made bio-manure kept free the paddy free from fungus and other diseases, and also boosted the growth of the plants.
Krishnappa uses a minimal amount of water and fills the bags with a mixture of sand, cow dung, and soil. Coconut shells, after being de-husked and filled with soil, and hang around the house, serving as hanging planters.
The 120-day paddy cultivation cycle begins in April-May, and he grows only one crop, distributing the harvest among friends and relatives. The produce is not for commercial purposes.
He then uses the same bags to grow radish, a three-month crop. “Last year, I harvested 10 kilos of radish,” Mr Paddambail says to the Hindu.