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You don’t need land. Making a small farm at home is quite simple and can be done so with things lying around the house and some waste material and water on a rooftop, terrace or balcony.

Step 1
You need a container to grow the plants.

Earthen or cement pots are the best. Wooden crates lined on the inside with plastic, old tires, egg trays,any plastic containers can also be used. You can even take an old wooden bed and cover it with thick black plastic.

Step 2
You need to put a substrate in the container.

Rice hull, sawdust, volcanic scoria, sand, gravel, coconut fibre, perlite, peat, peanut husks etc. You will also require a nutrient solution which can be obtained from the fermentation of organic waste material.

Step 3
You need a suitable location.

Basically, you need 1 to 10 square metres of free space, a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight and a clean water source. So the options could be your rooftop, balcony, backyard or any place else that meets the requirements.

Step 4
You have to select what you have to grow.

Tomato, beans, onion, garlic, gourds, potato, celery, pepper, chilly, carrot, lettuce, basil, cucumber, radish, cabbage, red beet, spinach, eggplant, medicinal plants... People have even grown mangoes and maize on a terrace garden.

Go organic: Be a chemical free farmer. Buy readymade, or compost your own organic kitchen, garden, left over food, household waste. You can create a vermi-compost bin even on a balcony in a flat. It really works.

Be Waterwise: Wastewater from kitchen and bathrooms can be treated, recycled and used.

Be chemical free: make use of bio-pesticides using neem, turmeric, lemons, tobacco, garlic, onions. Soap solution helps. Plant 'plant traps' like marigold or chrysanthemums to mitigate bugs. Remember pests cannot be controlled, only managed.

Now you’re ready to be a City farmer!

To know more about organic kitchen and terrace gardens or school or community gardens, write to rachita@cseindia.org


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