Chandrika Jain, a homemaker at Vepery doesn’t have to spend money buying chillies, coriander and curry leaves as there is enough growing on her terrace. While she is aiming to be self-sufficient on these basic greens, she has also started growing vegetables such as brinjal, okra and radish. “I was trained by a start-up who setup terrace gardens for people living in apartments and they even provided me with a kit,” she says.
With the focus on organic food and people moving towards healthy living, there are start-ups that are making people’s pursuit easy. My Harvest started by 28-year-old Archana Stalin is one such. “I provide three kinds of kits – green kit, starter kit and family kit. Each one comes with materials like grow bags, potting mix, seeds, natural fertilizers, biofertilizers, gardening tools and organic pest repellents.
In the green kit, people can choose five from the list of greens that include araikeerai, palak keerai, sirukeerai, mulaikeerai thandukeerai, manathakkali keerai, paruppu keerai, pulicha keerai and kothamalli. With the starter kit, customers can choose from greens and vegetables like tomato, brinjal, okra, radish, chilli, beetroot, broad beans and cluster beans. “Those opting for family kit people can choose 10 of the vegetables and greens mentioned above,” says Archana, adding, “We not only provide the kit but also go to their houses and help them set up the garden.”
DS Garden in Ayanavaram is another venture that helps people set up their own garden. “We have everything that is required to set up a terrace garden from scratch. We sell over 20 varieties of local seeds. We give out terrace gardening kits that comprise soil mix, seeds of a few plants, manure, basic equipment etc. The soil we recommend is also a mixture of coco peat, vermicompost, farmyard manure and red soil. The entire kit costs Rs 6,000,” says Vijay Lourdhunathan, an IT professional and a garden enthusiast. He has helped set-up an organic garden at a home for the mentally challenged and even gave the residents there a talk on the basics of gardening.
T Thangavelu of Hortitech Services who also helps set up terrace gardening says, “There is a lot of awareness among people today about healthy eating. The pesticides in the food can cause cancer and people in general are more aware of what they consume. We have to also understand that in urban areas, the space is the concern. So we help them maintain a garden accordingly. Also, we train them in making organic manure from kitchen waste. This also helps in utilising the waste better.”