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How to Nail Roof Gardening

Pune posted on 09.04.2017

If you are living in an urban jungle, you do not need to go more than a few feet to experience lush greenery. Yes, roof gardening is taking cities by storm, and with these easy tips, you can enjoy your own patch of green right in the comfort of your home!

Take time to analyse your soil

Is your soil acidic or alkaline? With simple experiments, you can easily figure this one out. Why is it important to find out? Because depending on whether it is acidic or alkaline, you will need to fortify it with the nutrients it lacks. Alkaline soil, for instance needs compost and manure every year. If you have access to a dairy, ask them if they have what is locally known as “Jeevamarut” which is excellent for plants. Other than soil pH, you could also check the soil for moistness, nutrient compositions, etc.

Knowing what soil you have is key in deciding what to grow, and what nutrients to add to your soil. For instance, vegetables need more alkalinity than flowers. And for flowering plants, adding tea leaves is a simple daily ritual that can add acid and nutrients to alkaline soil.

Grow what is native to your city’s climate

Do you live in hot and humid Mumbai, or in dry and temperate Bengaluru? India has six distinct climatic zones, so don’t get fooled into believing that we can be bracketed into one common “tropical” climate. To add to India’s diversity, these 6 climates have their own distinct native foliage. Certain plants thrive in humid weather, while temperate climates are suitable for most fruits and flowering plants. When you grow what is native to your own city’s climate, you have a greater success rate at gardening.            

Observe the time at which your balcony gets the most sunlight

Do you get full sunlight, or partial? Do you get morning sunshine, or evening? Careful attention to this helps you place your plants in the right spots. For instance, bougainvillea will thrive in direct sunlight, while hydrangea thrives in partial sunlight.

Know what to feed your plants

Like people, each plant is different, and requires different doses of sunlight, water and nutrients. Reading up on what to feed your plants will help you grow better, greener and healthier plants!

Use the right containers

Pots, rectangular boxes for raised flower beds, window boxes, and vertical gardening containers are some of the many options rooftop gardeners have to grow their plants. Just ensure that you use the right container for the right type of plant, and you will do just fine.

Make your garden presentable

Once you have taken care of the above things, concentrate on the aesthetics. You could place your pots at different levels. Have a mix of plant types such as bulbs, annuals and biennials, succulents, climbers, ferns, perennials, small fruit trees and vegetable patches! Attractive containers, recycled pots, pans, buckets and even tyres make the garden look creative and beautiful.

When you follow the methods here, there is a very good chance that your rooftop garden will flourish! If you are concerned about the increased water usage, you could even try hydroponics, which is a great technique of plant propagation without the use of water. Anything is possible, if you know how to go about it, and we would love to see your rooftop gardening success photographs.

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