About The Author

Learn terrace gardening from this Chennai couple

CHENNAI: In these times of rapid urbanisation, the need to preserve greenery and work overtime to keep the city’s green cover intact has become essential. Five years back, NM Mythrean, a resident of Kovilambakkam attended a gardening workshop. When he came back, he had an idea — to use his terrace space in his independent house to plant as many saplings as possible in an organic way. Mythrean was introduced to gardening by his mother Indra when he was eight years old. Now, at 40, the workshop has helped him fulfil his mother’s dream of having a garden.

Mythrean and his wife Yogalakshmi plant different varieties of flower, vegetable and fruit-bearing plants in their 1,500-sq-ft terrace, organically. “We started off with four or five pots. Now there are over a hundred. Everything in our kitchen comes from this terrace garden,” beams Mythrean, showing us around his terrace garden. The terrace attracts a lot of birds. He smiles and says, “My figs are breakfast for some birds. Before I wake up and come to the terrace to water the plants, the figs will be gone,” he laughs.

Mythrean wants his 9-year-old son to understand the importance of an organic lifestyle and wants him to study Agricultural Sciences. He says it is important for the next generation to not forget their roots and be close to nature. “My children help me maintain the garden,” he says.

From varieties of chillis, gourds, okra to henna, the terrace garden houses it all. Mythrean and his family manually water the plants every day and do not want to set an automated watering system. “If we automate the irrigation process, we will tend to take the garden for granted.

We will also come up to the terrace once in a while. That should not be the case. Plants need to be given attention every day,” says Mythrean. Apart from vegetables and fruits, the garden also has bright marigolds and other vivid flowers as well. During summers, to ensure that the soil doesn’t get heated beyond what is needed, Mythrean puts a layer of leaves on the soil. The insects also help keep plants healthy.