1. Home
  2. Success Story

Woman Creates Heaven for Family on Her Terrace; Uses Simple Hacks to Grow Different Veggies

The Hyderabad-based microbiologist, who believes in doing than sitting and waiting for things to happen, created a heaven for her family on her terrace! And not only is Sujani’s garden of Eden brimming with organic and fresh veggies that take care of 90 per cent of her kitchen needs, it is burgeoning with juicy fruits and bunches of colorful flowers. Read To Know More!

Ayushi Raina
Hyderabad-based microbiologist transformed her balcony into a paradise for her family!
Hyderabad-based microbiologist transformed her balcony into a paradise for her family!

"I've always wanted to have my own garden. One that would be my labor of love and my heaven's tranquilly," Sujani Reddy said. The Hyderabad-based microbiologist, who believes in doing than sitting and waiting for things to happen, transformed her balcony into a paradise for her family!

Sujani's Eden garden is not only teeming with organic and fresh veggies that meet 90% of her cooking needs, but it is also bursting with luscious fruits and bouquets of colorful flowers. 

And all in a 300-square-foot area! 

"Having plants on my balcony, visiting gardens, and being close to nature had helped me feel at ease since I was a child.  It was my affection and fascination with plants and other species that led me to pursue a career in science," Sujani said. 

Sujani was born in Hyderabad without the luxury of a full-fledged garden, yet her maternal home's balcony is adorned with little earthen pots blooming with enticing flowers. 

Little did Sujani know, her dream was not too far. 

Four years ago, when Sujani and her husband, V 

V Reddy, a businessman, moved into their new family home, the opportunity manifested itself. 

She had access to 300-square-foot terrace. She knew she couldn’t let it go to waste. 

"This was about the period when there was a lot of concern about the overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in farming. I had always been conscious of the freshness and quality of veggies and fruits that entered our kitchen,” informed Sujani. 

Sujani began visiting farmers markets in her attempt to provide poison-free food for her family. Despite the fact that buying organic produce was expensive, the microbiologist was relieved she wasn't putting her family's health at risk. 

"While I didn't mind spending that money, when I eventually got my terrace space, I asked myself, 'Why not attempt producing food for my own family?" 

Sujani attended many terrace gardening workshops in the city, met urban gardeners, and studied books that may help her get started with her garden. 

She started with 200 square feet and used the following methods: 

Planters' containers 

Sujani repurposed old containers to sow indigenous seeds gathered from other urban gardeners. 

"In the first year, I planted a variety of gourds and leafy greens. But I didn't find much success. Plants couldn't take root deeper into the pots since the soil was still coarse and hard. But I continued my efforts through trial and error.” 

This prompted her to approach a friend who specialized in the development of plant-based organic nutrients such as oil cakes and neem cakes, among others. 

“I started using 40 per cent soil, 40 per cent vermin compost, 10 per cent cocopeat, 10 per cent neem cake and other organic nutrients as the growth medium. The results in the second year were exceptional.” 

Today, she grows over 200 plants in the 300-square-foot area! 

Her terrace garden yield meets 90% of her cooking needs. 

 She plants three varieties of chilliesMexican spicy chilli, heirloom variety, Black chillies, and almost ten varieties of tomatoes. These include heirloom varieties as well as exotic cultivars originating from China and the United States, such as brandy wine, yellow pear, atomic grape, tomato banana legs, and others. 

She also raises six eggplant varieties, including white eggplant, Rosa Bianca, aubergines, and the Vengeri variety, which bears 1.5-ft.-long fruits. She also cultivates green and purple capsicum, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, garlic, onions, beans, cucumbers, lady finger. 

Snake gourd, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, white, bitter gourd, Ash gourd, ivy gourd, and more varieties are available. 

Lettuce amaranth (green red), Siri Leaf, spinach, Moringa, coriander, kale, Italian basil, Malabar Spinach, fenugreek (regular and Kasuri), Mint, Pepper Mint, and Brahmi are among the leafy greens and herbs. 

She has successfully cultivated watermelon, guava, and pomegranate among other fruits. She uses organic compost from the market in addition to converting her organic kitchen waste into manure and vermicomposting. In the harsh summers, when the temperatures soar and the plants begin to wither, she protects them with a shade net. 

Pest control is a manual labor, she claimed 

"In the first year, keep an eye out for pests that attack your plants and identify them. To get rid of pests, I usually choose to remove the infected sections of the plant, such as the leaf or stem. However, if the attack persists and you believe there is no chance for a particular plant, it is preferable to remove it. To keep pests at bay, I spray neem oil every ten days." 

 She adds neem into the soil while planting to help prevent root-borne diseases. During the monsoon season, she sprays diluted sour buttermilk on the plants to prevent fungal diseases. 

Buttermilk sprays are popular among organic growers. To make the buttermilk sour, many farmers add a copper wire to it. Since the solution is highly concentrated, it is diluted with water before spraying. 

Reddy also adds how milk is a wonderful solution for dealing with mildew issues. Mildew is a thin white covering formed on plants by minute fungal hyphae. 

 Apart from the various vegetables, Reddy's garden also has some lovely blooming plants. 

"Flowers are the central focus of my garden.  I have hibiscus, chrysanthemum, marigold, roses, lily Tuberose, sunflowers, and numerous local varieties," the 36-year-old said. 

When questioned about her future plans, she says she intends to add additional plants and explore with more exotic varieties. The only thing holding her back is the city's water crisis. 

As she bids adieu, she has a special message to other aspiring urban gardeners, “Often, many of us waste a lot of time complaining sometimes about space crunch, at other times about resources. My only message is: Stop overthinking and start doing. Even if you start with a few pots on your balcony, your interest will slowly increase, and your confidence will start building. The key is to start.” 

For those of you requiring assistance or consultation, Reddy also owns a firm called My Udyan, which assists urban inhabitants in setting up their gardens. 

Know more about it here: https://www.facebook.com/myudyan/ 

If this story inspired you, get in touch with Sujani Reddy on vanamala.sujani@gmail.com 

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters