Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control
and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests.
Since in urban cities limitation is insufficient land for farming, the concept of terrace farming, vertical and container farmings are upcoming trends in urban farming. Here in this blog I will be sharing every single effort and techniques in building my Organic Roof :)

Location Details:

Country: India

State: Kerala

City: Trivandrum

Climate:Tropical, equable, hot, humid and dry.

Soil: Red soil in the Southern-most part of Kerala

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Flower Pollination

Certain articles helped in experimenting with the breeding Pumpkin flowers.
Pumpkin flowers with male and female needs to get pollinated, since the first female flower could not pollinate and lost the fruit. so next time when I could see a female flower and I tried breeding it with a male flower from the same variety. Please see the video on breeding pumpkin flower: Breeding Pumpkin Flowers

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harvest -First Batch

Now its being 4 months since I started the roof garden, Let me give a brief on the number of plants, it's verities, size to which it grew and the vegetables that I could get from those.

First batch

 Okra (Ladies Finger / Bhindi ) 3 in Nos. ( Planted 4 months before)
 40 - 50 Okra in 3 months, Plants still has 10-15 buds.(Please see the below Images for the Grown Okra)
 Tomato- 6 Plants ( Planted 3 months before)
 8 Tomatoes used for curry, Plant still has more than 200 tomatoes but tomatoes are smaller in size.(Please see the below Images for the tomato size)
 Pumpkin - 3 Plants ( Planted 3 months before)
Only One fruit appeared but in growing stage. Taking longer time , but the vines are spreading around the roof.
 Green chilly - 10 Plants ( Planted 3 months before)
 4-5 chillies only , infected by pests , taking control measure while applying garlic paste spray and Neem leaf spray. I hope the plants will start fetching chillies in another 15 days.
 Snake guard 3 Plants ( Planted 2 months before)
 Plant grew in 2 meter Long and 6-7 flowers appeared but nothing turned to a fruit.

 Snake guard 3 Plants ( Planted 50 days before)
Plant grew in 2 meter Long and 6-7 flowers appeared but nothing turned to a fruit.
 Cucumber 2 Plants ( Planted 50 days before)
Plant grew in 2 meter Long. 
 Indian Spinach (Green) 10 Plants ( Planted 30 Days Before)
Every plant was matured enough to use for making curries. We had a good Dal curry while using spinach as an ingredient.
 Beans 5 Plants
Almost 100 Beans and we prepared different dishes out of it.
 Brinjal (Egg Plant) 1 Plant (Planted 4 months before)
 Fetch 6 Brinjal 
 Flower Gardens with Verity of Rose, Jasmine, Thetti ( Ixora)
 Flowers are constantly appearing. Enjoying the beauty of it.

This image shows the size of the tomato 
the seeds are of hybrid and each plant is 
giving more than 50 tomatoes, but smaller in size.
If I used fertilizers it may grew in size. But i prefer to 
be more organic, let me try out different options for 
the next batch.

I had to give support to the branches as it was too heavy for the branches to support the fruits.

See the number of tomatoes in one plant.
also you can see a pipe installed adjacent to the plant for supporting.

Okra once grown in 1.5 meter in height and if you find 
it is not producing anymore buds or fruits on its tip,
Cut the main stem from the lower part 
( Leaving 0.2 meters from the bottom).
New branches will emerge from the bottom and 
each branch will fetch okra.

Looking at the beauty of tomato, it never lets me to pluck from plant

Bunch of Tomato with few okra and Green chilly

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Let's have a bitter taste - The Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd fruit is not preferred by many people, But I enjoy to have bitter gourd fry and the dried bitter gourd with curd. Bitter gour dvines needs to have support for climbing.

Right now planted just 2 bitter gourd. The image shows the plant with a growth period of 20 days.

I am waiting for the flowers to appear ....hope we need to wait for at least 20 more days.

Compared to cucumber plant bitter gourd is taking longer time to flower. Now since i planted it, it is almost a month and could not find any flowes, but the plant is spreading through the net and looks healthy and also branches of vines appeared.

Started flowering after 55 days of planting.
vines are spreading across the net.

Used cir and nylon strings as the support for the vines. clips that you see is meant for hanging cloths :).

After 70 days I could see a baby bitter gourd, this time I won't take chance, so I will cover the fruit with a polythene cover to protect from pest or insects.

Applied a polythene cover to protect from the pests and insects.

Growing Cucumber

Cucumber has good demand in south Kerala, it is one among the main ingredient for Sambar, Pulisheri and other currys. Cucumber plant is almost like pumpkin plant which has male and female flowers. Only the female flowers will fetch the fruit.

Another large cucumber grown on roof top.

I planted 2 plants at a time, it require some space for the vines to spread around. plant stem does not look as the pumpkin plants. the stems ore thinner than the pumpkin plants.

In this image you can see 2 plants. I plan to spread the vines on the roof floor so managed to spread a sheet to protect the heat from the floor.

Plant started flowering in 25 days. I could find 8-10 flowers, however the flowers are male category, so these flowers may not give rise to a fruit.

This image shows a female flower with an ovary.
I could find 3-4 similar flowers.

Image shows the cucumber resting on the mat I think this will not grew in size much....lets wait and see.

Cucumber did not grow in bigger size, also the seed variety was not a hybrid one.

I plucked it as there was a threat from rodents. Because of constant attack by rodents on my roof, I lost few plants.

Tried another variety of cucumber and this time
 instead of planting on roof, I opted for ground.

The plant grew much healthier than the one that was 
grown on roof top.The reason could be that the plant
 is protected from direct and continuous sunlight.

It is better to provide little shade and also better to rest the fruit on dry leaves or some soft surface than just leaving it on ground.

After a month of plantation i could pluck one salad cucumber. 4-5 small cucumbers are still growing in size.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Soil Preparation

Appropriate mix of soil is the key factor for a better farming, now if we consider a roof top farming it is essential for us to prepare the proper mix of the soil. I will explain the way how I did that.

In this image there are 2 different types of soil, one which is a mix of the compost and the other is clay. This image is taken just before mixing it to get it ready to fill in the Container.

On the left side the container is with the cow dung. I am using these combinations for the soil mix. 

Collection of daily wastes from the vegetables that we use for preparing currys, other degradable wastes are dumped in a pit so that it will get mixed with the soil and finally we can extract the compost out of it. 

Clay Like Soil

Combination of different soil and Hydroponics. 
As discussed before, proper mixing is done with right
combination of soil, manure and hydroponics.

This image is on soil ( more like clay), which is not the
ideal soil for the mix but I have to use it as it is only

Vegetable wastes

Coconut fiber & Coconut husk

Cow dung (Gobar)

Clear Grasses and Weeds from the Container

There are certain herbal plants that may grow along the vegetable plants. I would not prefer to pull out the herbal plants but only the grasses and the weeds.

I could see deep roots that grow deeper into the container.This may absorb the minerals and other manure from the container.