Rooftop veggie gardens
Rooftop veggie gardens

Secunderabad: They call themselves ‘Green Sainikpurians’ and live by the anthem ‘Green Sainikpuri’.  Staying true to their name, 79 families got together and have taken to rooftop vegetable gardening in a big way. Each family gets 60-70 per cent of the weekly vegetable needs from the rooftop.

With twelve types of vegetable seeds, these families get their weekly supply of brinjal, tomatoes, bottle gourd, cabbage, chillies, coriander and other green leafy vegetables. 

Thanks to the Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad who never miss out on the government schemes, the members decided to avail the subsidy given by the horticulture department and started rooftop gardening since 2016. Sridevi Chandrashekar, one of the members says, “We spoke with the horticulture department officials who set up a stall here and were surprised by the response”. 

The department has been trying hard to get citizens of Hyderabad hooked to roof top gardening since 2012 and has been managing to convince just about 700 families per year.B Vijaya Prasad, deputy director, Telangana Horticulture Department said, “These families are a role model for others in the city. Also, the enthusiasm that they show is unmatched”.  Some of the colonies that have taken up rooftop gardening are Sainikpuri, Vayupuri, Netaji Nagar, HMT Bearing Colony and Madhavpuri.

Enthusiasm is something that these residents have in abundance, from repairing roads themselves to going the green way. There is always someone who comes up with expertise, for instance when someone has a problem with weeds and how to make manure, they fall back upon Vijayalaxmi, who has been into organic farming. Sudha Gorthi, a soft skills trainer and philanthropist says, “It is not just growing vegetables, but in an organic manner that makes it even more interesting”. These rooftop gardeners only use Jeeva Amrutha made with cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, three varieties of flour, neem cake, its branches and is fermented for 10 days and later sprayed on the plants. 

Sridevi says, “It controls pests and also helps increase produce”.  Allaying concerns about the weight that a roof can take, the practitioners say that by using 60 per cent coco pit and vermicompost not only helps reduce the weight but also increases penetration of the growth of plant and what is more, these vegetable plants need just one foot of soil.