A Handbook of Organic Terrace Gardening – Bangalore, India
“Dr. B. N. Vishwanath, a pioneer in promoting urban agriculture in India, said that the only way to counter the health hazards of chemical poisons in food is to take up organic terrace gardening.
“With the pressure on farmlands and its rising cost in the urbanisation process, there is hardly any space to have a garden. This is where terraces come into the picture, he says.
“Giving some alarming information, Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) scientist Dr. M. Prabhakar says that vegetables grown in the peri-urban area around Bangalore contain higher chemical residues than what is accepted at the international level. Presence of sewage and heavy metal effluents in water used for irrigation purposes and chemical pesticides render the yield unfit for human consumption.”
“You can grow commonly used vegetables on your terrace, including leafy vegetables such as amaranthus (dantu, keerai), coriander (dhaniya, kothambari), fenugreek (menthe), Indian spinach (basale) and lettuce; gourds like pumpkin, ash gourd (boodu kumbala), ridge gourd (hirekai), bitter gourd (hagalakai), bottle gourd (sorekai), chow chow (seeme badane), cucumber, little gourd (thondekai), sponge gourd (thuppada hirekai), snake gourd (padavalakai), watermelon (kallangadi hannu) and muskmelon (karabooja); root vegetables such as radish, carrot, beetroot, onion, garlic, ginger and mango ginger (mavina shunti) and other vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, chillies, tomato, bhendi (bende kai) and brinjal. Similarly, you can grow a variety of fruit plants in big pots including mango, orange, pomegranate, musambi, custard apples, banana and guava.
“Bringing up flowering plants is yet another interesting aspect. Spice crops such as black pepper, clove, and cardamom could also be grown on the terrace besides betel vine (veelyadele).
Dr. Vishwanath has written a book “A Handbook of Organic Terrace Gardening” brought out by the APOF, priced at Rs. 100. APOF, headed by former UAS Vice-Chancellor, G.K. Veeresh, can be contacted at Alumni Association Building, Veterinary College Building, Bellary Road, Ph: 23516060,
Dr. Vishwanath conducts one-day training programmes for housewives and other interested persons on organic terrace gardening.
He can be contacted on 28485717, 9845627217,
“A Handbook of Organic Terrace Gardening is a good maiden effort of Dr. B.N. Viswanath “It has something of every thing for a beginner of Terrace Gardening. In these days people are not finding time and patience for elaborate reading, this book serves adequately the interested in terrace gardening.”
“Terrace gardening is a healthy hobby, not only to keep one engaged for a couple of hours in a week but it gives the pleasure of being in the midst of a growing garden. It gives an opportunity particularly for housewives to take a breath from the routine of running the affairs of house and smiling with flowers and fruits of their own creation. Terrace gardening also provides some compensation of recreating the agricultural land lost for building houses, for growing immediate household needs. Like any other habits developing by repetition, terrace gardening can become a fruitful habit for young and old if attempts are deliberately made in the beginning. These days every thing is available at the doorstep if attempts are made earnestly.
“The author Dr. B. N Viswanath has pioneered terrace gardening in Bangalore by providing training to residents in their own locality and supplying the needed inputs like seeds, manure, plant protection materials, implements, containers etc. It is learnt that more than a thousand terrace gardens have come up in Bangalore in recent years. It is on the request of some of these gardeners a good effort has been made by the author. He provides basic information on terrace gardening through this book.
“The pictures and his photographs keep the reader interested. Nursery preparation, pot making, different methods of sowing, planning terrace garden, important tools and equipments needed and information on different types of vegetables that could be grown on the terrace are adequate for beginners.
“Preparation of compost, vermicompost, measures to prevent pests and diseases, water management are all useful guidance. Not many people venture into such professions like popularization of terrace gardening and providing needed training and material as involves a lot of time and effort without commensurate returns, I have great appreciation for Dr. B.N. Vishwanath’ s dedication and wish him great success. His book serves the purpose for which it has been written.
“Why urbanites have to grow organic food for consumption? Due to migration of people to urban areas, fertile agricultural land has been converted into houses and other infrastructures. Thus reducing the land for cultivation. By 2030, people living in cities will reach nearly 60%.
“These urbanities not only ingest food grown elsewhere but the organic nutrient waste generated in urban areas, instead of recycling back to land, goes waste without putting into use.
“The Terrace garden can use household organic waste as manure and reduce pollution. Estimates show that as many as 20 million people are engaged in urban agriculture all over the world. Half of Latin American cities and 40 percent of African cities, 72% of urban house holds in Russia and 14 largest cities in China produce 85% of the vegetables, not only from Terraces, empty sites, unbuilt areas, parks etc.
“The advantages of terrace gardens are many. It reduces the distance the organic food has to travel before reaching the mouth of an urbanite. Part of urban and household organic waste is converted to wealth, prevents contaminated vegetables and fruits getting into human systems, provides fresh vegetables and fruits, keeps members of the house hold everyday engaged for few hours productive healthy hobby and keeps the mind in tune with nature by living in the midst of growing plants. Above all the children will develop to love the plants and the terrace gardens and kitchen gardens provide them a practical field to learn their biology lessons.
“We also have to remember that eating chemical food continuously will allow it to accumulate and it affects our genes as it has been shown on children in the group of villages around Padre in Kasargod, leading to the birth of handicapped children. You may remember the story of Chanukya who used to nourish girl children on low doses of poison to be used against the kings and commanders of the opposite side where these Vishakanya spend a night with them and by morning they used to be dead. Do we need our future children to be Vishakanya’s and Vishapursha’s by feeding them food laced with chemicals? The book ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson gives details about the ill effects of chemical agriculture as early as 1960’s. To reduce eating poisonous food, grow your own healthy vegetable and fruits at your doorstep, enjoy life with living plants.
“How to go about Terrance gardening? Planning is the most important factor in terrace gardens. Depending on the number of people in the household and the space available on the terrace and around the house, one can plan the Terrace garden to grow vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants etc. In addition to reduce the pollution in your microclimate, it increases oxygen production, reduces the temperature it weans away from unproductive, often expensive habits to healthy, productive life style.
“Go Organic on Your Balcony” Bangalore. May 7, 2009