BENGALURU: Recently Mangalurean beauty Shilpa Shetty posted a video showing off her hydroponics garden, talking at length about the fresh greenery that surrounds her. South Indian actress Samantha Akkineni, who has also taken to hydroponics gardening, emphasised on growing food oneself.
With celebrities raving about the importance of farm to folk, Bengalureans are not far behind in setting up their little kitchen garden. But taking it further and adding some science to it, garden lovers in the city have a new-found interest in hydroponic and aquaponics farming. In one method, fertilisers are added to water in the tank, and in another, fish stay in the water tank and their waste acts as nutrients for the plants.
While it might sound complicated, it’s quite simple, say those who are working on it. Model Naved Qureshi finds it to be one of the simplest ways to grow veggies at home. “All I needed to set up was a good water supply and a place where sunlight would fall for 2-3 hours. You can also opt for artificial light,” says Qureshi, who has a 16-pod (the number of plant holders) set up in his balcony.
Started four months ago, Qureshi now grows lettuce, methi leaves and gongura leaves at home, but one can also grow veggies like cabbage and carrot. “Apart from it being easy, I also wanted to teach my six-year-old son about how plants are grown. Until then, he thought vegetables were grown by the vendor who delivers us the veggies,” he says with a laugh.
The other reason why these methods are getting popular, is the easy set up and the reduced labour cost. “It is a very convenient way of farming since people can do it in a vertical set up wherein more vegetable can be grown,” explains Bharath Dayanada, founder of Eat Neat Project, an aquaponics farm and consultancy firm, which also helps set up aquaponics equipment at home.
That’s precisely the reason even why Aswathi Balakrishnan says she opted for this. But she also mentions that the equipment and installations might create a slight dent in your pocket. “If you are going to go in for a 48-pod set like I did, it will cost close to Rs 30,000, which makes it dearer than normal kitchen garden equipment,” says Balakrishnan, a beauty and fashion blogger, adding that if one is passionate about gardening and has a busy schedule, this is worth the investment.