KOCHI: Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life and enjoy the pleasure of gardening. Tending the plants can be a stress reliever and the vegetables grown in your backyard will always be fresher and tastier than anything money can buy.
Ela Sustainable Solutions, an agriculture startup groomed by Ernst and Young under the Kerala Startup Mission, is helping the urban families grow vegetables for daily use in their backyard, rooftop or even inside the house by installing poly house and hydroponic system. "The hydroponic system is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution without soil. The vegetables will be planted in net pots fixed in holes made in a food grade PVC pipe. Clay balls will be used to plant vegetables instead of soil. The plants will be floating and water will be circulated from a reservoir using a 30-watt motor at regular intervals and NPK solution will be added to the water to provide adequate quantity of nutrients. It is convenient as there is no need to water the plants or pluck the weeds," said Ela Sustainable Solutions Director of Operations and Business Amal Mathew.
Ela Solutions has introduced Smart Garden, a modern concept of growing vegetables at home by providing water, light and nutrients automatically. The unit includes both poly house farming and hydroponic farming. The poly house with 40 to 120 grow bags will have a fertigation unit that ensure regular supply of nutrients to the plants, timer controlled irrigation system and temperature sensor with cooling system. The fan of the system will automatically start working once the temperature exceeds 30 degree Celsius.
A 100 sq feet poly house with 40 plants can be installed at an expense of `36,000. The cost for setting up a 200 sq feet poly house is around `55,000, while a 300 sq feet poly house with 120 plants costs `76,000.
The expense for setting up a hydroponic unit with 120 plants is `35,000. Ela Solutions offers a special model with 250 plants at the rate of `65,000. The unit can be set up in 150 sq feet area.
"We have set up 3 hydroponic units and 6 poly house units in Ernakulam district. vijayan Pillai, a winner of Karshaka Shree award in Kollam has installed the unit in his farm. You can grow spinach in 15 days and tomato in 30 days. Peop0le have cultivated capsicum, lettuce, cabbage, cauli flower, carrot, radish, cucumber, brinjal, ladies finger and many other varieties on their roof top using our technology. Now banks have also come forward to provide loan for installing the unit," said Amal.
The start up has been founded by Amal Mathew, an engineering graduate from AISAT Kalamassery along with Shijin V S, a former lecturer of College of Engineering, Chengannur. Shijin is the CEO of Ela Solutions.
Gift a garden to your loved ones
Ela Solutions has introduced a novel concept of gifting package garden units on special occasions. According to Amal Mathew, the idea has clicked and the startup is getting many queries regarding the concept. Ela offers a hydroponic unit of 25 plants at a cost of Rs 10,000 for people interested in farming. All leafy plants can be grown inside the house with the hydroponic unit which provides artificial light to the plants using spectrum grow lights. Ela will provide the seedlings and NPK solution for the unit. There is no need to water the plants as the unit has a reservoir and motor pump that irrigates the plants automatically.