Article originally sourced from The Hindu
"Started with the sole intention of consuming pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, M. Jeevna’s two-year-old urban rooftop garden at her residence in ‘15 Velampalayam’ here now produces as many as 34 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Besides utilising sizeable chunk of the produces for her own consumption, Ms. Jeevna (47) is also making value-added products like oil and herbal items from the plants. Whenever bumper harvests happen, she shares the surplus with her neighbours.
Ms. Jeevna, a home maker, simply followed the principle of ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow’.
“I chose to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs that we need in our family and that could be grown on the limited space of 1,800 sq ft”, she explained to The Hindu.
Ms. Jeevna’s garden has small sized oranges, dwarf coconut trees and specific varieties of papaya, guava, custard apple, gooseberry, grapes, sapota, and vegetables like brinjal, tomato, greens, beans, cucumber, carrot, among others. Even spices like pepper are grown.
A walk through the roof garden is an impressive learning curve for any visitor due to the innovative cultivation techniques adopted.
One could wonder why flowers are grown in the garden meant for raising vegetables and fruits. “Flowers are raised to attract bees and other insects, which in turn help in pollination of vegetable, she said.
For pest control, she has successfully adopted a flew less tapped methods. “I grow insect repellent plants like Thai basil, mint, lemon grass, and apply organic manures prepared at the garden”.
Apart from friends, Ms. Jeevna’s garden has birds too as regular visitors."