Chennaiite maintains over 300 plants in her roof garden

The roof-top garden of Choolaimedu resident Anju Agarwal, can be certainly called as the pride of the neighbourhood. The green patch is a visual treat with over 300 plants of different varieties.

Anju speaks to ‘News Today‘ about her love for gardening and more. “As a child, I have always had a green thumb. My previous home in Mumbai was a bungalow, and since we had a lot of space, we maintained a garden back then,” she says.

However, it was only in 2007 that she ventured into roof-top gardening. “I had a lot of time and decided to set up a garden,” she says. “I am self-taught and learnt everything from the internet,” she adds.

Cauliflowers, cabbages, ladies fingers, aloe vera, chillies, spinach, cherries and figs are some of the varieties that are grown in her space, apart from different herbs.

She uses drip irrigation to water all the plants, it is learnt. “It was set up by my husband all by himself. All the pots at the corners are connected to the pipe and just by switching on, it waters all the plants. This way, the resource is also conserved,” she says.

She also collects her kitchen waste, dry leaves and dumps them in a bin for them to decompose.
“Once the manure is ready, I use it on my plants,” she states.

So what does she do with the produce?

“The vegetables I grow are used in my kitchen and the herbs are used to make soaps and dishwashers. The turmeric powder I get is used both in kitchen and in soaps.

I grow only what I consume and utilise it to the maximum,” she says. She also makes fertilisers on her own and maintains a seed bank.

In 2016, she, along with two of her friends, started a group called Organic Garden Foundation which has more than 30,000 members.

“We have done several awareness camps in-and-around the city. We were the first in Chennai to start seed exchange programme,” she explains.

Does she have any words of advice to budding gardeners?

“One has to be mentally prepared to commit themselves to the garden. I spend more than three hours in the morning for this. Growing greens is the best because it takes only 45 days to harvest.” she adds.

She can be reached at 9941010441.

Aaditya Anand M