How to make a terrace garden on a budget? 8 things you must know about how to make a simple terrace garden or rooftop garden.
Will drinking a cuppa of ginger and pepper infused water boost the immune system? My mom had been telling us this since COVID – 19 struck us… She’d been lured by my aunt over the phone. However, at this time, it’s little comforting to the sore throat. Chill out and take a little sip of it… Enjoy the evening!!
Last week’s rain has left its imprints in our garden, which made us a bit occupied with our garden clean-up activities. It’s been a year and our little garden has been giving us a satisfactory yield!
And, our little garden has been inviting people into the neighborhood as they find it enticing amidst the concrete jungle. We’re happy to know that it has inspired them to start one!!
Why did we create rooftop garden?
- To reduce the heat absorption – Besides having a small garden in the backyard, we created our terrace garden last year to have a green space that would reduce the amount of heat percolates on the roof and to expand our gardening skills to other available spaces in our home.
- For self-sustained living – It helps us during times of flood and cyclones, providing us with the required veggies for more than 10 days. From then, we constantly kept improving and making it better.
- For organic staples – Is there anyone who wouldn’t love chemical-free food? We especially, love the organic greens!
So, here’s how to make a terrace garden on a budget…
What are the things to look into? How much does it cost? 8 things you must know about how to make a simple terrace garden within your budget.
- Prepare your roof space – Check the roofing space to see whether it can hold the weight and have proper water proofing done. If it’s set in the right way, it won’t clog the ceiling. Likewise, check the water draining facilities as well. Ours drains into a rain water harvesting chamber. We placed grow bags over cuddapah slabs to avoid water seepage and it costs around Rs. 2500 for 10 slabs.
- Have a plan – Think what you want to grow and create a plan accordingly. First, start with a few plants and then keep adding more to them. Make sure to include some space to store garden tools and saplings in your garden. We bought our garden tools like trowels and sprayers online. We created a trellis using bamboo sticks for the climbers. It costs Rs. 800. We bought some of the seeds from Amazon and some native seeds through my Uncle from Tanjore. He has got a lovely garden in his hometown.
- Choose the containers – Grow bags have taken over the terracotta pots as they are lighter than the others. However, it doesn’t last longer, unlike other planters. You could also use repurposed paint buckets, water cans as planters. We spent around Rs. 1500 for a total of 22 bags in different dimensions. We used wooden reapers as frames around the rectangular bags to provide support.
- Select the potting mix – We used a mixture of coco peat, vermicompost and red soil as a potting mix. It doesn’t overload the roof ceiling. And, we ensure to change the soil once a year or when doing crop rotation on a regular basis. We spent around Rs. 2500 on ten 25kg bags of red soil, two 50kg bags of vermicompost and two coir blocks. Once the potting mix has been filled, leave the planters aside for a week and keep watering them regularly. It helps to release the heat from the vermicompost. Until then, do not plant anything.
- Deal with pests – The purpose of creating the garden is to bring chemical-free food to the table, so we use only organic pesticides like neem oil, 3G (Ginger, Garlic & Green Chillies) potions to ward-off any pests. Besides, we believe in companion planting a lot and that has helped us to keep the pests at bay!
- Go organic – We solely depend on panchagavya and jeevamrutham as manure to the plants. We use it once every 15 days on all plants.
- Learn from your mistakes – There is no book on Earth that would teach you better than your own mistakes! The lessons learnt will be a treasure for a lifetime. Eg:- Last year, when we began in March, it couldn’t withstand the hot weather during the summer. To top it all, the water scarcity has dried them up completely. Then, we replanted in late June. Now, we have divided the type of veggies that goes into our backyard garden and terrace garden. So, that it doesn’t get dried up completely during the dry April – May summer season. And, we’re planning to bring in a drip irrigation method. Hopefully, we can get this done once the lockdown gets over.
Interplanting flowering plants in both the gardens helps to attract more pollinators.
Take a look at this post on how to create a bee-friendly garden.
- Explore – Keep exploring and learn to grow something new! We felt so happy when we harvested grapes, radishes, beetroots and corn for the first time. We never knew broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage would grow well in Chennai’s hot weather.
Happy to share 🙂 We’ve been featured here in @humanswhogrowfood. Thank you team!!
Take a look at some of our harvest in the link below.
We spent less than 8K on creating our terrace garden. Hope you can get some ideas to start your terrace garden. Do share your feedback in the comments!