Farming on house Terrace

Farming on house Terrace

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Farming on the house terrace is strictly organic farming. Since available land for cultivation is shrinking drastically especially in urban areas, it is high time that alternative measures like farming on the house terrace are to be explored. Farming on house terrace including vegetable cultivation, poultry rearing, azolla cultivation and vermi-composting facilitate better time and space utilization, disposal of household organic garbage., proper harvesting of sunlight, reduced incidence of pests and diseases, reduction of family expenditure, nutritional security to physical and economical access to vegetables and eggs and above all the better availability of fresh, hygiene, safe and eco-friendly vegetables and eggs to the urban families.

Vegetable cultivation in plastic sacs/grow bags

  • Plastic sacs/ grow bags are better than earthen flower pots. Among plastic sacs, fertilizer sacs are better.
  • 75 % of the volume of the plastic sac is to be filled with a potting mixture which is prepared by mixing thoroughly soil, sand, and powdered cow dung in the ratio 2:1:1 incorporated with PGPR mix I
  • The top edge of the sac is to be folded to have a thick border facilitating irrigation and inter cultural operations.
  • The sacs are to be arranged in line on the terrace ensuring the walls underneath. The sacs are to be placed on bricks placed in a triangular format.
  • Photo insensitive crops and bushy varieties are preferred to photo sensitive crops and trailing varieties.
  • Sowing or transplanting at the rate of two per hill and two hills per sac is advantageous.
  • Transplantation shock to seedlings can be reduced by providing shade by unfolding the edge of the sac and putting a handful of azolla at the base of the seedling.
  • Organic manures enriched with PGPR mix I are to be applied in sacs at weekly interval.
  • Adequate quantity of water has to be used for irrigation, both in the morning and evening so that the excess water will not drip out and plants will not wither.
  • Daily observation and mechanical methods are to be followed for pest control. If the situation warrants for the application of pesticides, organic pesticides are to be used.
  • Crop rotation including a pulse crop has to be followed in each sac.
  • After each crop, it is better to change the position of bricks and sacs a little so that easy cleaning of the terrace is facilitated and permanent wetting of any portion of the terrace is avoided.

Poultry rearing under deep litter system

  • Deep litter system has to be followed for rearing poultry on terrace. Approximately 2.5 sq. feet area has to be provided for each layer in the netted cage.
  • It is better to avoid the cock and rear the layers alone.
  • The floor of the cage should be without any gap and saw dust has to be used as a good absorbent litter in the cage. The floor should be a raised one leaving space between the terrace and the floor.
  • The cage has to be kept in a shaded corner of the terrace. On the roof of the cage, thick cardboard has to be filled to reduce the temperature inside the cage. Over the cardboard, polythene sheet has to be spread and fitted so that splashes of rain water will not damage the cardboard.
  • A plastic sheet has to be spread over the cage and tied tightly to the poles at distance to provide shade and air column and to protect the cage from rains.
  • A handful of lime has to be ducted over the litter at weekly interval and raked to avoid caking and to acta as a disinfectant.
  • Periodic vaccination has to be done to the layers.
  • Plenty of hygienic water and a variety of feed are to be provided in the cage. Low cost and locally available vessels are to be used for feeding which are to be hung in the cage to avoid toppling by the layers. A round plastic plate has to be kept under the water vessel to avoid wetting of the litter.
  • Fresh broken shells are to be kept in a separate container as feed for providing calcium to the layers. Powdered dry fish has to be fed to supply protein to the layers.
  • Garlic and onion are to eb fed for 3 consecutive days at monthly interval to avoid infestation by worms and to maintain the general health of the layers. Turmeric powder can be occasionally mixed with feed to act as an antiseptic.
  • Crop residues, fallen leaves, weeds and leaves of chekurmanis, drumstick, papaya etc. have to be fed to the layers. Fresh azolla can be washed and fed so that the birds will lay ‘organic eggs.
  • Eggs are to be taken out of the cage as early as possible.
  • The litter with the excreta of layers can be occasionally removed from the cage, heaped in a convenient place for a few weeks and then applied as organic manure to vegetable crops.