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A journey from a barren terrace to a lively urban rooftop garden


"It all began when I quit my job of more than 2 decades due to changing priorities and became a homemaker. Clueless of what's in store for me in the near future, I decided to grow a few bags of greens on my rooftop. I slowly extended to a few veggies like radish , chillies, tomatoes, aubergines, beans, gourds etc. Some days in my garden are great while others are not as much, due to Mother Nature, pests or disease. This doesn't deter me; I look for remedies on the web , get advices from experienced persons and search for local resources for growing food organically and successfully.


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I have now expanded to growing a few exotic varieties of watermelons, passion fruit, squash,  mandarins, cucumber, grape vines, cherry tomatoes etc. by giving my green thumb a free run on my rooftop. We also have a few trees like custard apple, lemon, banana , gooseberry, moringa and papaya. I have added a couple of coconut tress too in my rooftop garden.


I make my own black gold or compost with kitchen scrap with Bokashi bin and Bokashi composite and procure organic vermicompost from a cattle farm. We have used recycled materials like a swimming pool tub to mix the potting mixture, paint cans to hold trees, and we even converted a treadmill box into a big veggie platform used for mint, coriander, yam, greens, potato etc.


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My garden always welcomes butterflies, sparrows, squirrels and a lot of birds and predatory insects helping in pollination of my veggie plants along with my collection of floral plants like roses, hibiscus, Passion flower, orange jasmine, Alamanda,Jasmine flowers, Adeniums etc. A few tubs of lilies with molee fishes and guppies  add life to my rooftop garden.


I like to engage with our community. I sell excess produce to my neighbours and share seeds with my friends .On Republic day Jan 26 th 2017, we executed a "Go green" project in our neighbourhood by planting trees and saying no to plastic bags. My goal is to create awareness among children because they are the future of this world. I took the first step recently by conducting a workshop on organic gardening for 30 students. My dream is to make Tiruppur, the place I live in Tamilnadu, India, a better place to live with residents growing their own organic food.


My ongoing project and dream is to create awareness on "Kitchen Scrap to Black gold - odourless solid waste management and Back to kitchen gardening in maximum number of households in our country .  With the overwhelming response I have started receiving from all over our country and abroad, I do wholeheartedly hope to give back to our Mother Earth what best we can in making it a wonderful place to live for our future generations .


I am so thankful to my family and my friends  without whose support none of this would've been possible. My special thanks goes to my cousin Deepak Jagdish an ex MIT Massachusetts student, Seeing my garden and hard work that I put in everyday, he encouraged me to create a Facebook page  Jeeva's Urban Organic Garden where I share my everyday garden stories and learnings"


I am passionate about creating awareness in our country  and building stronger, self reliant and better citizens of tomorrow


Jeevna Murlidharan


Technical Research
Saturday, December 01, 2018
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