Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Introduction:

Terrace gardening:

“Terrace gardens are green areas built on the roofs of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings. They are established to provide ornamental, fresh food supply, temperature control, water-related benefits, enhancement of habitat value, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities, among others. Terrace gardens on a large scale can provide many economic and environmental benefits.A terrace garden makes efficient use of unused vacant or underutilized space (terrace garden)”

Traditional agriculture has been facing challenges worldwide for years to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population in terms of food and dietary changes. With the continuous development of industrialization and urbanization, the agricultural land that can easily supply vegetables to the cities and surrounding areas is decreasing and losing fertility, and becoming increasingly polluted.

After the unusual situation created by the Corona epidemic, there has been a change in mindsets and policies about urban agriculture across the world, including India. In this situation, people’s attention has been drawn toward eating nutritious food to increase immunity.

TERRACE GARDENING

Why terrace gardening?

Terrace gardens are a great alternative to ditching traditional farming in favor of urban farming. They provide food and employment to city dwellers with potential benefits such as contributing to nutrition and developing urban gardens, reducing the impact of urban heat, reducing transportation costs, and reducing wastage from long food transportation chains. Terrace gardening differs from rural farming due to the significant lack of arable land in large areas in cities.

Today the world is facing many global concerns such as the availability of fresh food, loss of biodiversity, urban waste disposal, air and noise pollution, health hazards from pesticide use, malnutrition, and continued population growth. From the Green Revolution

The country has achieved food security in available cultivable land. But, now is the time to think about nutritional security. The rapid urbanization taking place in the country has created huge pressure on various natural resources. This has led to endemic environmental problems and unhealthy lifestyles in cities. Recently the idea of terrace gardens is developing rapidly which is not only limited to the current period of covid-19. Terrace gardens can be an incredibly important component in developing green centers for ambitious schemes in smart cities across the country. Thus, terrace gardening can be a sustainable solution to food security, malnutrition, and environmental problems.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Need for Terrace Gardening:

  • Nowadays the risk of food contaminated with pesticides has increased. The use of chemicals, antibiotics, food improvers, hormones etc. can create unknown negative health consequences for consumers.
  • Urban farmers are turning to other advanced farming practices including rooftop gardening, vertical farming, container gardening, hydroponics and aquaponics for crop production.
  • As plants and trees absorb heat, a greater number of plants help stabilize atmospheric temperatures and reduce the eco-footprint, keeping the city cool and slowing down storm water runoff by trapping rainwater. In addition, it absorbs air pollutants and purifies the air.
  • Mental benefits, connection with nature, physical activity, etc. are direct benefits of a terrace garden.
  • Terrace gardening helps humans connect with nature, from which today’s humans are becoming more and more isolated.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Advantages of terrace garden:

  • Increasing the level of insulation (covering) on buildings reduces household electric costs.
  • Terrace gardens increase biodiversity by providing habitat for birds, butterflies and insects.
  • Growing food on terrace gardens reduces the daily food expenditure of middle-class urban households. Apart from this additional income can be generated by selling more than the required product.
  • A terrace garden is a direct means of supplying most of the dietary nutrients required by the body throughout the year.
  • A well-developed terrace garden contributes significantly to the daily food requirements.
  • A family’s nutritional well-being depends on the availability of adequate food.
  • 300-500 square feet of space is enough for a garden for a 2 to 4-member household.
Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Planning of terrace garden:

Points to keep in mind before planning terrace vegetable gardening:

  • The terrace (roof) should be strong enough to support the required weight and have a waterproofing medium. In addition to this, there should be adequate slope and sufficient number of holes on all sides for complete drainage of excess water.
  • There should be a water tank for irrigation on rooftop
  • Follow drip irrigation and sprinkle system for efficient use of water and good plant growth and development.
  • There should be a suitable structure above the roof to cover the roof with shade net in summer.
  • Sufficient roof coverage should be arranged around the extent of the roof.
  • A terrace garden needs about 6-8 hours of sunlight to meet the crop’s needs for photosynthesis. So, it is very important to ensure that terrace garden is not overshadowed by other buildings.
  • Wind speed on the roof of a building is higher than on the ground surface. Therefore, windbreaks should be placed on the roof as wind can dry out the growing medium quickly and the plants need frequent watering. In addition, strong winds can damage the plants.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Methods of terrace gardening:

(1) Direct Production in Bed (Green Roof):

OptionComprehensive systemIntensive system
WeightMild method due to shallow soil mediumHigh structural capacity of the building is required due to the heavy weight on the terrace.
BuildingCan be done on the roof of any building. Need some extra support of the some structure.The house/building may need some additional support of some structural support
ExpensesLess expensive as little or no additional load bearing support is required.It is load bearing so more expensive.
CropLimit crop selection to shallow rooted species. (Leafy vegetables and herbs)Soil depth is more so growth and development of the crop is fast (Different varieties of crops can be taken)

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Components of Terrace Garden:

  • Plants/Vegetation
  • Cultivation/growth medium
  • Growing medium
  • Drainage layer
  • Water barrier membrane
  • Roof top
Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

(2) Container Gardening:

  • Container gardening is the method of growing plants only in containers instead of planting them in soil.
  • Container gardening offers urban dwellers an alternative to planting in limited spaces.
  • This method has become more popular in urban areas due to the easy availability of containers.
  • Various types of pots and containers can be used for growing crops. Various types of containers such as cement, clay, plastic, wooden vessels or barrels, damaged buckets, hanging baskets etc. can be easily found.
  • Different types of media like, soil, perlite, cocopeat, vermiculite, compost, peat moss, leaf mold, clay pellets, rock wool, bark, oasis cube, sand, wood chips etc. can be used for terrace gardening.

Some points worth considering e.g.

  • Ensure a drainage hole at the bottom and leave about an inch of space at the top for irrigation.
  • Vegetables like beets, radish, carrots can also be easily grown in containers, but care should be taken to utilize vertical space in the terrace.
  • Containers can therefore be placed in a bench system to utilize vertical space in the terrace.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

(3) Bag culture  

  • Cultivation of plants in bags by soil less medium.
  • In the bag system, plants are grown in flat or tall polythene bags containing soilless medium and nutrients through water soluble fertilizers through drip irrigation method.
  • In this method, cocoa peat, vermiculite, perlite,  tree leaf organic litter, wood shavings, pine bark, groundnut husks, rice husks or any combination of these can be used as growth media.
  • This system is more suitable for production of tomato, chilli, brinjal, okra and vine vegetable crops like cucumber, dudhi, bitter gourd etc.
  • This method is more acceptable in hydroponics systems as it is based on standard soil less medium mixed with inorganic and organic fertilizers as it is fed by liquid fertilizers.
  • One problem with the bag system is the potential for excess nutrient solution to escape through the bag’s drain hole.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

(4) Trough culture (cultivation in channel by soil less medium):

  • The trough system is a farming method of growing plants in a soil less medium such as coconut fiber, soil pellets, vermiculite, perlite or rockwool in high troughs.
  • The trough system consists of a solution feeding tube and a solution return tube with a solution storage tank for storing the nutrient solution, which acts as a messenger between the solution storage tank and the trough.
  • In this system, both sides of the trough or one side of the trough offer the option of planting one or more rows.
  • 10 to 12 vegetable crops were successfully planted in one Agriculture University in India using a mixture of 70% tree leaf organic waste + 20% coco peat + 10% soil as media.

Selection of plants based on the depth of soil medium:

For low-growing plants: 5 to 15 cm shallow medium

Annual to biennial plants, perennial herbs: More than 15 cm deep growth mediumSmall plants: More than 25 cm deep growth mediumSmall plants up to 2 meters:  More than 500 cm deep growth mediumSmall trees: More than 1 meter deep growth medium
Terrace gardening and Hydroponics
(5) Hydroponics
  • Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a soil less medium, using a mineral nutrient solution instead of soil.
  • In which plants can be planted with only their roots provided with structural support by an inert medium such as perlite or gravel.
  • Efficient use of hydroponics on terraces requires a lightweight system that uses less water.
  • Higher production per unit area can be obtained by using this method in terrace gardening.
  • A variety of standard nutrient solutions, such as Hoagland solution (1933), Hoagland and Arnon (1938), Hewitt (1966), Cooper (1979), Steiner (1984) and other nutrient solutions can also be used.

Weight range of different methods:

Methods of terrace gardenWeight Class (kg/m2)
Green roof

 

Comprehensive method50-200
Intensive method200-1000
Container/Pot50-1000
Bag culture50-1000
Trough culture100-1000
Hydroponics20 +

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Use of Organic and chemical fertilizers:

Nutrient for growing crops on the terrace is required.

  • Well-decomposed organic kitchen waste, Farm yard manure, cocoa peat, and lemon peel mixed with soil can be used as media.

Pot Mixture:

(1) Red clay 15%

(2) Sand- 5%

(3) Organic kitchen waste 30%

(4) Well-Decomposed Farm Yard Manure-30%

(5) Cocoa Peat -20%

Use of Urban waste as fertilizer:

  • Municipal solid waste management is becoming a complex problem. Which leads to environmental hazards along with loss of resources.
  • The production of organic fertilizer from solid waste and its use in crop production reduces the amount of waste thereby reducing environmental pollution and degradation and increasing productivity.
  • The use of urban waste as fertilizer, as a source of plant nutrients not only reduces the cost of fertilizer but also acts as a last resort to restore the lost fertility of the growing medium leading to optimum plant growth.
Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Pest and Disease Control:

  • Always use biological controllers like Azospirillum and Pseudomonas to control pests and diseases.
  • Mix 8 to 10 ml of Neem oil and 10 grams of soap in 1 liter of water and spray it to control sucking pests in the terrace garden.
  • Spraying a solution made from ginger, garlic, and chili paste is very effective for pest control.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Tools:

  • Hand harrow
  • Shovel
  • A trickle of water
  • Hand sprayer
  • Bamboo stick and Jute string
  • Khurpi
  • Secator
  • The selection of crops and varieties in a terrace garden is very useful in ensuring a supply of vegetables and other important crops for household consumption throughout the year.
  • Especially in the city and its surrounding areas, success can be achieved at home by starting a terrace garden on a formal basis of the crops mentioned in the table below
  • The list shows the production potential of different crops throughout the year under a terrace garden.
  • Also as per table various crops can be planted in tropical conditions at the specified time. The same structure can also be used in temperate zone conditions with minimal modification.

Selection of Crops and Planting Time in Terrace Garden:

SNCropsSowing/TransplantingHarvesting days from sowing
MethodSowing time
Vegetable of fruit class
1

 

TomatoTransplantingThroughout the year60-70
2

 

Cherry TomatoTransplantingThroughout the year60-70
3

 

Colourful tomato

 

TransplantingThroughout the year70-80

 

4

 

BrinjalTransplantingThroughout the year15-65
5

 

Lady’s fingerTransplantingThroughout the year45-50
6

 

CapsicumTransplantingThroughout the year65-70
7

 

Capsicum-Green and colourfulTransplantingOct-NovGreen :70-75

Colourful:80-85

Climber Vegetables
8 CucumberSowingThroughout the year40-45
9GourdSowingThroughout the year50-60
10Sponge gourdSowingThroughout the year50-60
11 Ridged gourdSowingThroughout the year 50-60
12Bitter gourdSowingThroughout the year65-70
13 Ivy gourdTransplantingJune-July60-70
Pulse class vegetables
14Green beanSowingThroughout the year40-50
15 Cluster beanSowingThroughout the year40-45
16BeanSowingThroughout the year40-45
17French beanSowingOct-Nov45-50
18 Pea (Early Maturing)SowingOct-Nov45-50
Green leafy vegetables
19FenugreekSowingThroughout the year10-12
20SpinachSowingThroughout the year30-35
21CorianderSowingThroughout the year35-40
22TandaljaSowingThroughout the year35-40
23Green GarlicSowingThroughout the year35-40
24 Green OnionSowingThroughout the year40-45
Root Vegetables
27 PatraSowingThroughout the year50-55
28 ReddishSowingThroughout the year40-60
29 BeetSowingThroughout the year40-45
30CarrotSowingOct-Nov60-65

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Government Schemes:

  • Government should implement new schemes and policies to work on this topic to support terrace vegetable gardening.
  • In Rajasthan, the Department of Agriculture announced 50% subsidy under Urban Vegetable Promotion Program (UVPP) for organic farming and rooftop farming.
  • Government of Andhra Pradesh provides 50% subsidy benefit for seeds, fertilizers and farm implements under National Agricultural Development Scheme.
  • Tamil Nadu under Urban Horticulture Development Scheme
  • The Department of Horticulture and Plantation offers “do it yourself” kits for growing vegetables on rooftops.
  • For the development of terrace vegetable gardening in Gujarat, the government should formulate appropriate policies and schemes so that terrace vegetable gardening is expected to get the necessary encouragement.
  • Terrace gardening is a new concept for the people of our country. Cities struggling with urbanization may not have the space to accommodate nature, but terrace gardening can quickly become a convenient way of life in India’s metropolises.
Terrace gardening and Hydroponics

Summary:

Terrace gardens are green areas built on the roofs of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings to provide ornamental, fresh food supply, temperature control, water-related benefits, habitat value, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. They offer numerous economic and environmental benefits, making efficient use of unused vacant or underutilized space. Traditional agriculture has faced challenges worldwide due to the increasing population and the need for food and dietary changes.

Terrace gardens are a great alternative to traditional farming, providing food and employment to city dwellers while reducing the impact of urban heat, transportation costs, and wastage from long food transportation chains. The need for terrace gardening has increased due to the increasing risk of food contaminated with pesticides. Urban farmers are turning to advanced farming practices like rooftop gardening, vertical farming, container gardening, hydroponics, and aquaponics for crop production.

These practices help stabilize atmospheric temperatures, reduce the eco-footprint, and provide mental benefits such as connection with nature and physical activity. Terrace gardens increase biodiversity by providing habitat for birds, butterflies, and insects, and reduce the daily food expenditure of middle-class urban households. They also provide most of the dietary nutrients required by the body throughout the year. A well-developed terrace garden contributes significantly to daily food requirements and a family’s nutritional well-being depends on the availability of adequate food. Terrace gardens can be divided into three methods: direct production in bed (green roof), container gardening, and bag culture.

Direct production in bed involves a comprehensive system with a low weight and high structural capacity, while container gardening offers urban dwellers an alternative to planting in limited spaces. Containers can be used for various types of crops, such as soil, perlite, cocopeat, vermiculite, compost, peat moss, leaf mold, clay pellets, rock wool, bark, oasis cube, sand, and wood chips. The trough culture method is a farming method that grows plants in a soilless medium, such as coconut fiber, proof soil pellets, vermiculite, perlite, or rockwool, in high troughs.

This method allows for the planting of one or more rows, and can be used for low-growing plants, annual to biennial plants, perennial herbs, small plants, and small trees. Hydroponics is another method that uses a mineral nutrient solution instead of soil, allowing plants to grow with only their roots provided with structural support.

This method requires a lightweight system that uses less water and can yield higher production per unit area. There are various methods for terrace gardening, including green roof, intensive method, container, bag culture, and trough culture. Nutrients for growing crops on terraces include well-decomposed organic kitchen waste, screened compost, cocoa peat, and lemon peel mixed with soil.

Urban waste can be used as fertilizer, reducing environmental pollution and enhancing productivity. Pest and disease control methods include biological controllers like Azospirillum and Pseudomonas, and spraying a solution made from ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Tools used in terrace gardening include hand harrows, shovels, trickles of water, hand sprayers, bamboo sticks, jute strings, khurpi, and secators. The selection of crops and varieties in a terrace garden is crucial for ensuring a supply of vegetables and other essential crops for household consumption throughout the year.

Terrace gardening and Hydroponics
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