56-year-old Pushpa Sahu, a resident of Raipur in Chhattisgarh, is known by the name of ‘Hariyali Didi’. Pushpa Sahu, who has a special love for gardening, has converted the terrace of her house into a beautiful garden. He has proved how people can plant organic fruits and vegetables on their roofs even without cultivating land.
In his garden there are about 12 types of fruits and about 10 types of medicinal plants along with all seasonal vegetables. Pushpa, who is studying in Home Science, has been doing horticulture since 2013. She takes care of her garden in organic ways. He has also received respect for his work.
Talking to The Better India, he said, “I belong to a farmer family. That’s why I have always been close to nature. I always had a passion for planting trees, but earlier I could not do much. Because my husband was a teacher in a government college and we lived in quarters. In which it was not possible to plant trees on a large scale. But when we shifted to our own house, I focused on the garden.” His motive behind planting the garden is not only greenery but also to feed pure and organic fruits and vegetables to his family.
She says, “Often I used to see that the bananas brought from the market started rotting within a few days. When we used to talk about this at home, I came to know that harmful chemicals are sprayed on the fruits to ripen them. Knowing this, I felt that I should make an effort to feed pure things to my family and then I decided to take up gardening.” But the problem was that there is no open space on the ground floor of their house, so where to do gardening?
Her husband gave the idea that the use of roof would be good for this work. Pushpa says that she started by planting fruit plants and gradually started planting greens and vegetables too.
Fruit plants planted in big plastic drums
Pushpa Sahu said that there is often a fear in doing gardening on the terrace so that there is no damage to the roof. They had to plant fruit trees and they weigh more than normal vegetables. So he replaced heavy cement pots with plastic drums of up to 500 and 1000 liters. He kept these drums on the pillared place on the ceiling. We all know that columns are made at the time of construction of the house so that the house stands firmly. Many people also get these columns out on the ceiling so that they can be used for sitting or keeping a pot.
Pushpa planted all the fruit trees by placing drums on these columns. Apart from this, she uses pots or grow bags for vegetables and medicinal plants. He said, “There are about 12 types of fruit trees in my garden which include guava, tangerine, mosambi, mango, lemon, kamarak (star fruit), chikoo, apple, papaya, dragon fruit, apple berry, and gooseberry. Apart from this, medicinal plants include Kali Tulsi, Aloe Vera, Adusa, Ashwagandha, Patharchatta, Shatavar etc.
Along with organic fruits, she also plants seasonal vegetables in her garden. About 20 types of vegetables like tomato, chilli, brinjal, bottle gourd, okra, beans, spinach, fenugreek grow quite well in his garden. She says, “I also take the produce of carom seeds, various types of turmeric, ginger etc. with them. If I count all kinds of trees and plants along with seasonal vegetables, then I have planted about 100 types of things on the roof. More than 80% requirement of fruits and vegetables in our house is met from the garden.”
There is also a saving of about 3000 rupees per month.
Pushpa says that people often say that it costs a lot to setup such a garden. She advises all those people to take one step forward. As if it is not necessary that you plant the whole garden at once. You start with two or three plants. With this you will also be able to take good care of the plants. As your knowledge of plants grows, keep planting more plants in your garden. This way you will definitely take time but you will be able to work within your budget.
Pushpa Sahu says that when horticulture grows, the expenditure in it starts decreasing. “Initially, we had to spend on soil, sand, cocopeat, cow dung and earthworm manure – all these things. But now there is no need to spend on anything. Because compost is prepared from organic waste from kitchen and garden. I do not use any kind of chemicals on the plants. Insect repellent is also prepared at home using neem leaves or onion, ginger. You can also start planting from cuttings later.
He further says that when you start planting organic fruits and vegetables in your own home, then your dependence on the market starts decreasing. Like now she herself buys very few vegetables or fruits from outside. The second biggest benefit is on health. Pushpa says that this benefit starts to be understood in a long time. But it is true that the more pure and nutritious you eat, the less you get sick and the less you spend on medicines.
“So I have an idea that I am able to save around Rs 3000 per month. Because due to good eating, our visit to the doctor has become very less. Also, the increase in the price of fruits and vegetables in the market does not have any effect now. We had nowhere to go because of the garden even in the lockdown,” he said at the end.
Pushpa Sahu is getting a lot of appreciation from the people as well as the local district administration for her initiative. Today many people also take guidance from him so that they too can plant vegetables in their own home.
If you also have a passion for gardening and you have also made the balcony, kitchen or terrace of your house a place for trees and plants, then share with us the story of your #Gardengiri. Write to us with pictures and contact details and send your story to [email protected]!
Editing – G N Jha
Image Credits: Pushpa Sahu
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