UAS-B campus to have demo unit on terrace gardening

The unit will focus on proper utilisation of space through vertical gardening options, mix of different varieties of plants.—File photo  

The facility will have poly-house and drip irrigation systems

Enthused by the overwhelming response to its Urban Krishi Mela that showcased various methods of horticulture, the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore (UAS-B) has decided to set up a terrace gardening demonstration unit on its campus.

B.N. Sathyanarayana, head of the department of horticulture, UAS-B, who was also the organising secretary of Urban Krishi Mela, said the unit was expected to be ready in two months.

“It is going to be unique as it will focus on key aspects such as proper utilisation of space through vertical gardening options, mix of different varieties of plants and efficient utilisation of resources through adoption of technologies such as poly-house cultivation and drip irrigation,” he said.

Apart from various kinds of vegetables, greens and fruits, the unit would also have commonly used medicinal plants so that people could make use of them in case of minor health problems, Mr. Sathyanarayana said. It would also have bee-keeping and ornamental flowers such as orchids.

“The technologies and practices which will be presented are simple ones which can be easily adopted,” he said.

According to Mr. Sathyanarayana, growing vegetables at home and maintaining a garden will have multiple benefits as it will not only help ensure availability of high-nutrient vegetables and fruits, but also act as a stress-buster in the urban life by connecting with nature.

The university is also in the process of producing seedlings of commonly used vegetables suitable for terrace gardening for sales on its campus. “We want to sell these plants at nominal prices to encourage people to take up vegetable cultivation on their premises,” he said.

Krishha Manohar, principal investigator and co-ordinator of the university’s precision farming development centre, points out that poly-house cultivation will help increase the yield of vegetables by three to five times and also conserve water.

It will cost about Rs. 25,000 to have a poly-house in an area of 35 to 40 sq. metres. “The cost can be recovered in two years considering the benefit you get,” he points out.

A cheaper alternative is shade net which costs half the cost of poly-house. This increases the yield by two folds, but cannot provide complete protection during rainy season, he says. Similarly, going for drip irrigation system will help conserve water. Poly-house and drip irrigation put together can help reduce water requirement by 80 per cent to 85 per cent, he noted.

Pointing out that is possible to get about 4 kg of vegetables on every alternative day through this method even from a small area, he suggests that those with sizeable space can even think of selling the produce.

The unit will be ready in about two months, says official

It will have vegetables, fruits, apiary and medicinal plants

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