This terrace garden has plants from across the globe

This terrace garden has plants from across the globe

D' Souza uses kitchen waste and dried leaves as manure

Twenty years ago, when Blany D’Souza took the first step to plant a sapling of ivy gourd in his house near Marnamikatte in Mangaluru, he had never thought that he would have a terrace garden. Today, he feels proud of his garden with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including exotic ones.

The passion for growing vegetables and fruits motivated him to set up a garden on an area of 1,200 sq ft on the terrace of his house.

“Initially when I planted ivy gourd, I used to get around 150 kg of ivy gourd per month and there was a good demand in the market. Along with ivy gourd, I started looking for different vegetables and fruits. We have not bought vegetables from market for the last seven years,” he said.

Along with vegetables, he has also experimented with jackfruit and grapes in his garden. This year, D’Souza tasted success by nurturing a two-year-old grafted ‘Kantakali Pink’ variety of jackfruit bought from a nursery. The jackfruit weighed about one kg and had 15 bulbs. This is probably the first time that a jackfruit has been grown in a terrace garden, he said proudly.

After working in the Gulf for a few years, he came to Mangaluru and converted his terrace into an organic garden.

The garden has black mango from Brazil, China orange, Israel orange (which is consumed along with its peel), Thailand mango, wood apple, apple bore, water apple, Kabul grapes, grafted avocado, butter fruit, varieties of guava, cocoa, peach, cashew, coffee, star fruit, cap fruit, milky fruit, sweet tamarind, Jabuticaba (a kind of grape), sapota, sweet lime, Bombay Bore (each fruit weighs 150 g), strawberry, fig, pomegranate, seedless lemon, passion fruit, gumless jackfruit and varieties of mangoes like Mallika, Mundappa, Neelam, Badami, Alphonso, Kesar and also all-season mangoes.

Apart from this, ivy gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, drumstick, ridge gourd, tomato, winged beans, broad beans, hog plum, basale (both green and red variety), ladies finger (both red and whitish), mint, Harive, black pepper, bush pepper, green chillies, bottle gourd, Brahmi from Australia, Sri Lanka and also native variety and betel leaves can also seen growing in his garden.

“I don’t use any chemical fertilisers for any of the plants including those of vegetables. Kitchen waste and dried leaves of the plants are manure for the plants. A neem mixture is sprayed to control the pests,” he said.

D’Souza added that Tulasi, which he has planted, acts as a repellent for insects attacking the plants. A small olive plant also finds its place on the terrace. The plant was brought from Israel by one of his friends.

“Looking at my passion for vegetables and fruits, my friends get me the plants from different countries of the world,” he said.

Stating that the grape vine was planted accidentally, D’Souza said it was nearly four years ago that a nursery in the city got two grape vines in a lorry load.

“As I was in constant touch with the nursery, the owner asked whether I was interested in planting the grape vine. I planted two vines and allowed them to spread on the terrace. After one and half years of planting the vines, it bore fruit from April to July,” he said with a smile on his face.

He also helps people set up terrace gardens and supports them with assistance. Over a period of time, he has set up 75 terrace gardens in and around Mangaluru.
D’Souza also delivers lectures in schools and colleges on cultivation of vegetables and fruits. A number of students visit his house to get a glimpse of the variety of fruits and vegetables grown by him. He said he had learnt gardening techniques through trial and error method.

 “Terrace gardens keep the surroundings cool. For plant lovers who do not have space, terrace gardens give an aesthetic value to a house. It is a satisfying and invigorating experience. Moreover, it’s important to talk to plants to nurture them well. Hard work and patience is all what matters in terrace gardening,” he explained.

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