HYDERABAD: Though many urbanites are already hooked on adorning their houses and apartments with indoor plants that turn the concrete structures into lush green meadows, most of them are unaware of the fact that with a little more effort, they can turn their terraces and balconies into mini-forests which provide healthy fruits and vegetables. Despite having very spacious rooftops and/or open spaces, several people living in urban centres refrain from taking up terrace gardening for reasons best known to them.
Meanwhile, Saileela Darsha is leading by example and has transformed her terrace into a mini-agricultural field. At a time when people are busy with their professional lives, this 47-year-old, who was born in Mahbubnagar and moved to Hyderabad 30 years back, has completely dedicated her time to her passion of growing all types of vegetables in containers, pots and baskets on a terrace that sprawls over 250 yards.
Believe it or not, Saileela grows about 200 varieties of vegetables on her terrace, apart from 50 different types of fruits. These fresh homegrown vegetables that taste delicious are extremely safe as they are chemical-free and hence consumed by both her family members and neighbours. Saileela says that she has been growing vegetables on the terrace for the past five years with the support of her two daughters. “Whenever I come across a new variety, I bring the seeds back home and grow them. It’s my aim to grow all kinds of vegetables available in the world at my place,” an enthusiastic Saileela says.
The 200 varieties of vegetables include 26 types of tomatoes, 11 types of brinjal, 15 types of bottle gourd and four types of snake gourd, apart from beans, carrot, green chillies, donda and all kinds of leafy vegetables. The list of fruits grown here include apples, sapota, grapes, guava, dragon fruit and watermelon. Her whole host of vegetables has rare plants like Okra, a variety of ladies’ finger that grows up to 16 inches. That’s not all, Saileela also gets seeds from Kerala, known for its large variety of vegetables, with the help of friends.
Free of chemicals
“All the vegetables grown here are chemical-free and we use only cow dung and kitchen waste as compost. We should always maintain these plants in an organic way. Despite having a busy schedule with other activities, I spend at least one hour, both in the morning and evening, to take care of my plants,” Saileela adds.
To spread awareness on the benefits of terrace gardening, she has created a YouTube channel titled ‘Saileela Vlogs’ and posts videos about her farming methods on it. The channel has become a hit and has already attracted 1.20 lakh subscribers. Speaking about her channel, Saileela says that she wants to help viewers recollect their childhood by serving them the forgotten taste of organic vegetables. “I feel pumped after reading the comments. I hope a good number of viewers also get inspired by my work and start their own terrace gardens,” she adds.
ALSO WATCH | American Beauty in Kerala - A dragon fruit story like no other