TIRUPATI: Passion for plants and trees made a Tirupati resident turn his terrace into a rooftop garden. R M Uma Maheswar Rao (58) of Sivajyothi Nagar near Kapila Theertham in Tirupati city, has been growing a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens and flowering plants, on his terrace for more than four years.
Attracted by his rooftop garden, locals started visiting his terrace to observe the greenery. The quinquagenarian has even inspired his neighbours and visitors to set up gardens on their rooftops by giving them saplings and the required technical assistance.
Rao, who works for a private company in the city, spends two to three hours daily tending to his terrace garden. It was Thummeti Raghothama Reddy who inspired Rao to take up terrace gardening.
One can find various types of vegetables including aubergine, tomato, carrot, beetroot, okra, snake gourd, chilli, mint, radish, potato, pumpkin, ginger, mushrooms, coriander, leafy greens and 15 to 20 varieties of flowering plants. The plants are grown in tubs made of both plastic and fibre, besides lightweight BioBags.
“It gives me immense pleasure that we cook our meal with home-grown vegetables. Besides the fact that home-grown vegetables are free from chemicals, attending to a terrace garden provides the needed outdoor exercise, and one can maintain his fitness while managing the garden. I enjoy sharing the vegetables I grow with my immediate neighbours and friends. Watching the seeds germinate and bloom gives immense pleasure and a sense of positive energy,” Rao explained.
He has been using organic manure to nurture the plants. Waste from his kitchen will find its way to plants as compost. He also purchases cow dung from farmers and uses as manure for seedlings arranged in a planned manner.
The flowering plants planted next to vegetables help in attracting bees, which do their bit through pollination. Stating that youngsters have been coming forward to practice rooftop gardens, Rao said people have become health conscious, which made them turn towards the practice.
Further, Rao opined that the horticulture department should encourage urban farming through rooftop gardens. With favourable climatic condition, one can grow various types of vegetables with a little bit of effort, he added.