Dr. Omesh Thakur
College of Agriculture & Research Station,
Fingeshwar, Gariaband

The term “terrace garden” refers to growing vegetables and fruits in empty spaces of home. As urban areas are decreasing in size every day, the only viable place that one can grow own vegetables is terraces and balcony. A balcony can yield sufficient green leaves and a few vegetables while a terrace can fulfill vegetable requirements of a family of four atleast 50%. All it takes is some planning and imagination to utilize the available area and resources efficiently .It aims to make people aware of all aspects of growing own vegetable gardening and by recycling the waste from one’s home. It also creates awareness to people about the need of Terrace Gardening and Urban Farming.

Terrace garden not only gives rich look to the house but it also helpful in providing good health. Having various medicinal plants is a good approach. Terrace is used as outdoor living room for relaxing. Area under the foot should be dry. This can be achieved by providing paved terrace and grass terrace.

What is a Terrace Garden?
Also called a roof garden, It is a garden in which vegetables, fruits or flowers are grown on terraces, balconies or roofs of buildings. The kitchen garden, a standard in every Indian household, has now shifted to the roof due to constraints of space, and is called a terrace garden. Increasing pressure on land and escalating costs have also added to its growing popularity. The taste of home vegetable have own pleasure. It is good for health due to its purity. No chemicals are mixed. Therefore terrace garden is beneficial in all aspects of life.

Advantages of terrace garden
  • Reduce the indoor temperature.
  • Increases amount of oxygen in air.
  • Reduces air and noise pollution.
  • Habitats for variety of birds.
  • Brings a piece of nature to the house.
  • Improves environment as a whole.
  • Pesticide free fruits and vegetable.
  • Reduce overall heat absorption of buildings and insulate the building against heat and cold.
  • Conducive to a routine of physical exercise, clean air and being close to nature

Selection of Site
A place in resident area is selected where adequate sunlight and water are available. It can be verandah, window sills or space on the roof top. The place should receive full to partial sunlight. It should also be comfortable for constructing a shade net (to prevent the plants from scorch sun) and wooden poles (to support creepers and climbers) if needed. A check on the strength of the floor to hold plants should be estimated and planned properly so that the terrace garden does not damage the building at all.

The ideal roof garden can be established with the availability of sufficient sun light and water. Since, lack of sufficient space in the apartments, this garden can be established on roof tops, thereby it permits effective utilization of space on the roof tops. In multistoried buildings, there is no possibility of attaining roof top on all the flats. Therefore, the only way is to grow fruits and vegetables by using the pots and containers .This practice is known as container gardening.

Garden Tools
Hand trowels, secateurs, hoe, gardening gloves, spade, fork, shovel, rake, rose can, hand spray, bamboo stakes, jute strings and a rack to store them.

Containers – Thriver of the Plants
Before choosing the container, one must keep in mind the plants we intend to grow: –

  • Polybags are the best container for terrace garden.
  • We always should go for the lighter coloured pots since they absorb less heat and are easy to move around in the garden.
  • Medium sized pots for plants like tomatoes and chillies are preferable.
  • For green leafy vegetables, small sized pots or even polybags will be perfectly suitable. Whereas, climbers and creepers do require larger pots.
  • Avoid using plastic pots if the plants are continuously exposed to sun and rain to avoid brittleness.
  • Try to avoid cement pot as it is heavy to move around.
  • Mud pots are the best as it‟s allow soil to breath.

Standard medium 
24 cm x 24 cm x 40 cm – where all leafy vegetables and fruits can be grown like Spinach, Amaranthas, Methi, Mint, Garlic, Coriander, Tomato, Brinjal, Chilly, Carrot, Beet Root, etc. It holds upto 15 kg of potting mix in medium sized grow bags.

Large bag
61 cm x 35 cm x 18 cm – lemon plant, roses, curry leaves, and all types of creepers like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd can be grown. It holds up to 35 kg of potting mix.

Extra large bag 
85 cm x 45 cm x 35 cm – all fruit plants can be grown like pomegranate, guava, chicko, orange, papaya, etc. It holds upto 80 kg of potting mix.

Hanging baskets displayed in the terracev adds beauty to the garden. Plants used in terrace gardening should not obstruct the view of the building from outside

Almost all vegetables can be grown on the terrace. Pots can be placed on the balcony. Usually plants need six to seven hours of sunlight. Plant selection should be based on the availability of sunlight. Vegetables like tomato, beans, chilly, greens and brinjal which can be grown easily are suggested as starter plants. Kitchen waste composting provides necessary manure for the plants. There is scope for reuse or recycling of water. In fact, reduce, reuse and recycle are the basics of kitchen gardening. Having plants on the rooftop keeps the house cool. Some of the gardeners feel that terrace gardens can reduce the necessity for air conditioners.

Crops suited for terrace gardening


Transplanted vegetables:

Tomato, Brinjal, Chilli


Direct sown vegetables:

Amaranthas, Cucurbits (Bitter gourd, Snake gourd, Ridge gourd and Bottle gourd), Radish and Beet root


Perennial Vegetables:

Curly leaf, Drumstick


Spice crops

Turmeric, Coriander and Fenugreek.

Getting started

i) Prepare the potting soil.

ii) Before adding sand to container, check for holes and cover it with a piece of flat stone. This is to prevent leaching of soil from containers during heavy watering.

iii) Seed should be filled loosely in containers. A gentle tap can be given if needed. One should see to that one inch space on the top of the pot is maintained for irrigation.

iv) Sow the seeds or transfer the transplants in the pot which ever you feel appropriate to grow.

v) Water them immediately.

vi) During watering a few factors needs to be taken into account. They are as follows:

A good understanding on the plant is necessary to fix the level of watering that the respective plant needs because heavy or poor watering can lead to various fungal infections in plants. It is always advisable to water the plants in the morning and not in the evening.

  • Spraying of water on leaves should be avoided.
  • During summer, water the plants twice.

vii) When seeds are sown directly in the pots, cover the top soil with a layer of dry grass or straw to offer protection till the seedlings emerge. Grass or straw can be removed when the plant is ready for transplantation or when seedlings with more than 4-5 leaves emerge out and starts its growth.

viii) Removal of certain parts of the plant that are of no use is pruning. Brown, yellow or wilted leaves should be pruned immediately. When flowering plants delay flowering, pruning of older leaves will offer new shoot growth with several flowers.

ix) Pest and disease management
Pick and destroy the larvae found on fruits and vegetables and then spray Neem oil @ 4 ml/liter of water + sticking agent 2 ml/liter of water or kadi soap. Over irrigation should be avoided for reduction of damping off.

Harvest fruits and vegetables at the peak of their maturity. Use it immediately for superior quality for fresh, flavor, appearance, and nutrition. Pluck leafy vegetables frequently when tender. Similarly, root vegetables should be pulled out before it gets fully matured. The matured size of fruits and vegetables determines the stage of harvesting in most cases.

Once the season is over or plant growth is completed, the plants should be removed out from the pot. The soil is to be dumped in a place and broken free. Organic manures can be supplemented after 15 days and repotting needs to be done for next plant growth.

The following precautions can offer maintenance and management for a successful terrace garden. They are as follows:
  • Staking (bamboo sticks) is used for plants like lab lab, ribbed gourd, bottle gourd and snake gourd as they need to be trained in a pandal system for proper support.
  • Check on weed is mandatory. Hand hoeing the weeds by uprooting them completely from soil offers aeration and healthy plant growth.
  • Do not crowd the place with large number of small containers.
  • If germination is delayed after seeding, check for its appropriate season for good growth.
  • Plants can grow healthy only upon compulsory exposure of 6-8 hours duration in sunlight. Avoid planting the same plant in the same pot and soil even after harvest.
  • Water deeply to flush of the contents and remix the soil. When stem in the base of the plant starts to turn yellow, it is indication of heavy watering.
  • Pest attack can be identified from the holes formed in the leaves and fruits.
  • Use shade net only if shade loving plants are grown or shade is required.
  • After heavy rain, addition of mild organic fertilizer is needed because loss of nutrient in the soil can likely to be happening because of rain. Spend ample amount of time regularly for effective gardening.
  • Utilizing vertical space can increase the beauty of a terrace garden.Garden covers are required during peak summer and winter.
  • Wind barriers may beneeded in the areas of heavy blowing winds.

Besides, terrace cultivation of vegetables can supply preferential, fresh, toxic free produce with minimum expenditure there by increases monetary value of land per unit area (apartment). In addition, it improves aesthetic sense, reduces stress and strain of the growers as well as environmental pollution. These multi-dimensional uses of terrace gardening encourages urban growers to produce healthy vegetables round the year. Due to lack of substantial information on terrace vegetables cultivation, this article aimed to highlight the methods for cultivation of vegetables and their cultural practices on terrace conditions. The taste of home vegetable have own pleasure. It is good for health due to its purity. No chemicals are mixed. Therefore terrace garden is beneficial in all aspects of life.