Everyone appreciates greenery but very few have the courage to go full-fledged, be it keeping the indoors green or creating a thriving terrace garden. Since maintaining greenery is a cumbersome hobby for many people, making it to terrace is often considered only for the pros. Messing hands in soil and compost, in addition to continuously keeping a track of garden inventory and tools to prune and proliferate the existing plants is not for everyone. Think of those who fear about wasting money believing that their attempts for terrace gardening would fail, sooner or later.
Here this blog is for those two categories of the people: First, who want to extend their green area, from mere living room or kitchen to the full terrace; and second, who want to start with terrace and slowly learn their way to placing small decorated pots to a well-lit area of their houses.
For both, the blog is a guide to set up terrace garden step-by-step. But before that, let’s take a look at the key points to consider before setting up a terrace garden:
- List of things needed for a terrace garden
- The kind of garden you have on your mind: open / closed, vegetable / flower / tropical plants garden, garden with a dedicated sitting area or a walking circular path, creative or straightforward.
- The budget you have set aside for the garden.
- Terrace space you want to get covered.
Step 1: Survey the Roof
You might be visiting your rooftop daily but not with the eyes of a gardener. Now that terrace gardening has entered your consciousness, you need to consider, how much space you would want to start with. You have the option of waterproofing the terrace and directly adding soil and compost on the rooftop, or you can simply bring in pots, or UV treated grow bags. The choice would definitely impact the budget so think on those lines as well.
And remember, your time (an hour a day is good enough!) and love is the most important part of terrace garden apart from money.
For a beginner, you can always start small and add more planters and pots as you gain confidence on keeping plants alive and thriving. (Or you can later ask professionals to do landscaping of your terrace for your piece of heaven!)
Accordingly you will need the other supplies, which is the next step.
Step 2: Do budgeting and bring in supplies
Once you have your ideas about the space, you would need:
- Planters/pot/UV treated grow bags/recycled containers and pots
- Cow dung compost
- Seed (flowers or veggies)
- Tropical show plants
- Additional fertilizers and pesticides
- Tools for watering, pruning and soil
This much would be enough to get you going in the beginning. You can later add to the list as the need of the items strike you.
Step 3: Actually setting up the garden
So the time has finally come. You need to dirty your hands with soil while cleansing your soul with Nature’s Hands. Fill in the pots with the soil, compost, vermicompost, cocopeat mixture in 1:1:1:1 ratio. You can always use some sand as well if it is easily available to keep the mixture soft longer. Fill the pots but not to the brim. Sow the seeds and water slightly.
For the plants purchased from the nursery, let them acclimatize to your place for 3-4 days and then transfer to your already prepared pots with their soil intact so that these do not feel shock (and yes plants do feel!)
Place the planters strategically to get 4-6 hrs of sunlight and also look good in the arrangement. For completely open terrace, getting sheds is an addition cost but unavoidable if you really looking forward to your terrace garden. You can opt for bamboo structure fitted with green mesh for a lighter pocket. Go for a sturdier structure with green sheet installation if that’s what you think is best.
Step 4: Timely water, fertilize, prune and disinfect
Without this step, forget about a good terrace garden, leave alone the thought of getting fruit bearing trees over the years. You need to take care of the plants, in every way they need. In summers, water twice a day. In winters, once in two days can be enough. You can finger-check the water need in the pots as over watering can also kill the plants. If the soil doesn’t stick to the finger, water it right away. And if the soil feels well 1-inch deep, no need.
Add compost once in a week and mandatorily in 15 days if once-a-week is impractical for you. You can use fermented oil cake water, compost prepared a home from your kitchen waste or store bought organic compost. Don’t fertilize in winter months as plants hibernate during these times; then again start fertilizing routine from March to October. You will see your plants happy and gay (and of course, thankful!).
While fertilizing you would need to free up some old soil to add compost. Don’t throw the soil. Collect it in another grow bag / pot. Add fertilizer and new plants or seeds later when you are ready to expand your garden.
When you see your plants growing from everywhere, prune it time to time. This would make your garden look trim. Even if you are more of a forest-kind person, you would need to prune then once in a while to keep them manageable for fertilizing and fruit bearing.
Disinfect / De-pest
Lastly, the pests! They are bound to appear sooner or later and give you some headache while managing. Don’t worry much. If you are going organic, you need to experiment a little some pest go away with neem oil, while others need fermented organic mixtures like rice water or yogurt-jaggery or plain baking soda-cooking oil-water mixture.
Step 5: Get guidance when you are stuck
Don’t be disheartened when you see a plant dying, turning brown or eaten away by some stubborn pest or fungus. Ask experts on the Internet and long-term experienced gardeners. You might have to sacrifice a plant or two at times to save the rest of the garden, so be prepared for that eventuality as well.
Step 6: Get creative with new plants and decoration ideas
When you have had success in managing your self-created piece of heaven, go bold. Try planting fruit-bearing trees in big containers. They are all the same; just need some care. Read or take expert advice before going from simple (chilli, tomato, or lemon) to complex (mangoes, guava or bottle gourd). You would value them once you have them.
For decoration as well, the Internet is the treasure trove for all kind of ideas for your terrace. Apply them one at a time to not feel overwhelmed. Color your planters once in a while; use recycle bottles, coconut shells, etc. as hanging planters to add to the looks. See what appeals most to you. We hope to have made you confident to start your terrace garden from this blog. We welcome your inputs and queries!
Read Also: 10 Rustic Home Decor Ideas