If you spend your entire day at home and are thinking to start a business. Then there is important news for you that you can earn good money from terrace garden and rooftop farming.
Rooftop Farming and a terrace garden is a great option to earn money sitting at home.
Now the world is moving towards organic farming, but everyone doesn’t have land to produce healthy food from organic farming.
But there is a solution to grow vegetables, fruit organically. Now you can grow 100% organic vegetables at home only by rooftop farming and terrace garden.
Rooftop farming and terrace garden are the best approach to growing foodstuffs without the usage of any chemicals. You will be able to be close to nature and could get food without adulteration.
Turning your roof into a healthy farm doesn’t just help your family eat healthy food, it also helps save the planet. It is also a lucrative idea to make money.
Rooftop farming and terrace garden are lucrative if you can able to sustain quality and regular supply.
Table of Content
How to Start a Profitable Rooftop Farm, Step by step.
Step 1 – Market research
If you want to become a successful farmer, then It is not possible without market research. Market research is the key to a successful business.
But if you are doing it only for your consumption of healthy food then, market research is not required.
Things to be considered while doing market research.
Check market demand
Always check market demand before starting any plantation of the crop. Only produce a crop which having good market demand and value.
Estimate how much cost you are required to build a farm, to purchase all material and types of equipment, and complete cost from plantation to the harvesting of the crop.
Research on every above aspect to get things with the lowest cost.
Step 2 – Search place required for Rooftop farming.
Things to be considered when choosing a place for rooftop farming and terrace garden.
When searching places for rooftop farming and terrace garden, avoid places which are having heavy wind flow. Particularly places which are very near to the seashore. Heavy wind flow will lead to spoiling your rooftop farm setup.
Farm set up on a terrace will create some load on the terrace. So, carefully check the loading capacity of the terrace.
Water is a vital element to develop the farm. Always check water availability on the terrace and rooftop. There will be a waste of water, which is coming out from the pores of pots and containers. To drain this water, a proper drainage system is required. You need to check the drainage system before selecting a place.
For building a farm set up on a rooftop or terrace, you need various types of material, tools, farming equipment, Plants, Fertilizers, etc. Hence check whether you have access to carry all these things to the rooftop or terrace easily.
You also need to move out your harvested crop to market. So check whether you can move all these things out of the place very easily.
To set up a farm on the rooftop and garden on the terrace, you need various types of tools that required electricity. So, check, whether electricity is easily available on the rooftop and terrace.
Sunlight is a must-have element to grow plants. The select terrace or rooftop which having proper sunlight. Someplace may have more harsh sunlight than the ground. You can easily solve this issue by covering the farm and garden with netted clothes.
Step 3 – Preparation of pots and containers
Let’s talk about Pots
You can use plastic, cement, and clay pots. Growing plants in clay pots are the finest option.
You can get a variety of pots and containers in the market. Rectangular pots are best to grow flowering plants. You can put the pots on a plastic tray to water stand in it.
8 to 12-inch pots are good for growing leafy vegetables, chili, brinjal, and tomato but you want to grow vegetables like bottle gourds, sponge gourd, lima beans, bitter gourd, or long beans, you need big sized containers.
You can grow vegetable vines in a big container. You can also make from an old plastic fruit crate or purchase from the crap store.
You can also use big plastic growing bags, plastic sacks, big oil jars, old tubs, buckets, and even empty paint buckets and by this, you can do best from waste.
Step 4 – How to prepare potting soil and how to make lightweight or soil-less medium?
For best results in pots, You need nutrition-rich, well-drained potting soil.
To make the best potting soil you need Garden soil 50%, Cow dung compost or vermicompost 30%, cocopeat / Sand 20%, and Neem cake powder. Mix two handfuls of neem cake powder or Neem Khali for medium-sized pots, which is also working as a natural fungicide for the soil.
The problem with a big container filled with soil is that they are hard to move and adds additional weight on the terrace and rooftop. Also, in urban areas, it is hard to get garden soil but you can also make lightweight soil which is comparatively much lighter than garden soil.
To make lightweight soil you need coco peat 50%, vermicompost, 20%, perlite 10%, garden soil 20%. Add 2 cups of neem cake powder as well.
Coco peat is made from dried coconut peals which come in form of dry bricks. After adding water, it increases by 4 to 5 times. Perlite is volcanic glass ash is very lite in weight and can absorb moisture and nutrients. It also makes soil lighter. You can easily get all this stuff from any agriculture shop.
Step 5 – How to fill the pots and container.
Before filling soil in the pot, make sure that it has few holes for drain water at the bottom of the pot. If not make few holes at the bottom of the pot.
Make a one-inch layer of gravels or fine stones at the bottom to stops soil to drain off along with water.
After that fill the soil and water it through2-3 times which removes air pockets from the soil.
Keep pot 2 to 3-inch empty from above to avoid spilling water and compost while watering.
Properly arrange big and heavy containers at the corner of the terrace and over the column for evenly weight distribution.
Step 6 – Tools required for Gardening
Below are list tools are required for rooftop farming and terrace garden.
Watering can, Gloves, hand trowel, sticks for supporting plants, Sharp blade, pruning scissors, branch cutter to cut thick branch, Big tub for mixing, Water bucket, some string to give support to vines, and a spray bottle.
Step 7 – Seed selection and Germination
For the best results, always buy high-quality hybrid seeds only.
Instead of directly sowing seeds into the soil, sow them into a germination tray.
To make germination mix, you need coco peat 60% and vermicompost 40%. Make the mixture moist and fill in the tray.
For fast germination, you should soak big hard-shelled seeds into water overnight. Saw seeds to the depth, just double to the thickness of the seed.
Don’t saw them too deep, this will make germination hard. Now keep them in bright shade. Keep seeding mix moist till germination, but do not overwater.
Once seeding grows 3 4o 4 leaves then transfer them into the container. Grow only 1 plant in an 8 to 12-inch medium size pot. But you can grow 2-3 settings at a distance of 10 inches.
If you grow many plants in a single pot, then they will compete for nutrients and no one will grow well.
Step 8 – What to grow and when to grow
It is very important to decide, which fruits and vegetables you have to plant and grow in different seasons.
Different vegetables are grown in different seasons, choose vegetables according to the season.
From May to August between the summer to the rainy season, you can start with easy vegetables in small pots, like Fenugreek or Methi, spinach, amaranth or Chaulay, Beetroot, and Raddish.
All these seeds you can put directly into the pot. All these vegetables are ready within 30 to 60 days.
In the same season, you can grow cabbage, Baigan which will be ready within 4 months to harvest. Bhindi will start to grow within 2 months.
Tomatoes take 3 months to grow to harvest.
Chilli paper becomes ready within 2 to 3 months to harvest.
Coriander takes only 1 month to grow to harvest.
From April to July you can grow bottle gourds, sponge guard, lima beans, cucumber, long beans
These vegetables are best to grow for new gardeners.
Once you learn all these techniques to grow easy vegetables then you will be able to grow other vegetables.
Step 9 – How to grow Fruit plants into Pot.
Not only vegetables but you can also grow fruit plants in your terrace garden and rooftop farm. You can grow fruits like strawberry, Indian jujube,
Guava, sapodilla, grapes, mango, pomegranate, and lemon. You can get dwarf varieties of these fruit plants which are small in size but produce a lot of fruits.
Step 10 – How to grow Medicinal plants
You can grow many types of medicinal plants easily on your terrace garden and rooftop farm.
Plants like neem, Basil (Tulsi), Aloe vera, Giloy, Betel leaf, Bishop weed, Ajwain.
All plants need sunlight to grow. Different plants have different sunlight requirements so you should place them in the garden according to their need for sunlight.
All flower, fruit, and vegetable plants need a lot of sunlight, hence place them where they get maximum sunlight.
Remove weeds regularly from pots as they steal nutrition from your plants.
Step 11 – How to do Pest control
Every plant is vulnerable to pests and disease. To stay away from such pests and diseases, we must have to do paste control properly.
The most common paste are black and white bugs, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.
To get rid of these pests, mix 5 ml neem oil in 1 liter of water and spray it on plants every 15 days.
You can also make homemade organic pesticides with Chili, Garlic, and neem very easily.
Step 12 – Watering
You need to be very cautious when you give water to plants.
Most of the plants die just because of overwatering, which leads to fungal diseases and root rot.
Plants start getting dry, seeing your plants drying you add more water to it. Give water to plants only when the soil in the pot feels dry.
Watering should be done according to the seasons. In hot summer water once or twice daily. In winter water once daily. And in rainy season water only when the soil starts to dry. Always water in morning and evening only.
Step 13 – Fertilizing
Which fertilizer should be given and in what quantity?
Plants need fertilizer at different stages of their growth. Apply well rotten cow dung compost into the pot. Give two handfuls of cow dung in a medium-size pot/container and 4 handfuls in big size pot/container.
And do little tilling. Always avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You can also make good compost from kitchen waste.
How to protect plants in the Summer?
During the hot summer, do you notice your plants struggling, suffering, and dying? Hot summer can be harsh on your plants. You have to take utmost care of your plants in the summer. Plants with sufficient water can be harmed even if the temperature rises.
But today I’m going to share 6 easy ways to protect your plants from the sun’s rays.
- Mulching –
Mulching is the first line of care against hot summer. Adding mulch to your pots will protect soil and surface roots from direct sun exposure.
- Watering the plants in the morning –
It is a good idea to water your plants early in the morning before sunrise in the hot summer.
- Shading –
The best way to protect your plants, especially the rooftop garden, is to create shade by using net cloth.
- Pot Placement and Clustering –
Different varieties of plants have different sun requirements.
- Maintaining humidity –
Many plants require high humidity. When heatwaves and hot dry air hit them, they begin to degrade. You can easily maintain moisture by using a pebble tray or humidity tray.
- Misting –
Misting is very effective and the easiest way to keep your plants happy during summer. Taking a little care this summer will help your garden to stay healthy and cool during extreme heat.
How to Protect Plants In winter?
1.Take potted plants inside the home –
The easiest way to the cold is to move your plants from the cold areas and bring them inside your home.
Mulching acts as padding. It keeps heat and moisture in the soil. It helps to protect the roots of your plants from the cold.
3. Cover your plants.
Cover your plants with cloth or tarp over plants. It protects your plants from cold nights, a simple cover or old cloth will be enough.
4. Build a frame
You have to cover the plant with a frame. This will keep heat in and prevent frost, and it is a simple way to keep your plants safe and warm during the winter.
5. Make a heat source.
If your plants are unable to survive due to extremely cold weather, you must create a heat source that will help the plants to survive from the cold.
How to protect plants in the Monsoon.
- Always check the soil at the root of the plant before watering in the monsoon. Water plants only if you feel the soil at the root of the plant is dry.
- Immediately remove excess water in the pot.
- Plants are likely to be infected with insects in this season. Always check for insects in the plant.
- Good ventilation is a must in this season.
- It is a good idea to Fertilise plants in the morning.
- You must have to control pests in the monsoon. To control pests, you must do organic paste control once a week.
- Do Pruning of the plants only if required and it should be done just before the monsoon starts, as it helps in the overall growth of the plant.
- Young plants on farms should be properly sheltered from the rain.
- Ensure that water does not saturate around the plants.
Benefits of Rooftop Farming and Terrace Garden.
- You will harvest your own fresh, safe, healthy organic food.
- It creates more income sources for you.
- Generate jobs for the local poor.
- It improves air quality by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
- It produces more oxygen; it will lead to more healthy air.
- It drastically reduces the heat of buildings and saves energy costs on electricity.
- Good use of rainwater, which is going to waste.
I have seen a good opportunity as a profitable business idea to make a handsome of money out of it.
I have seen many rooftop. terraces, baloneys that are flooded with garbage-like stuff or use as waste material storage.
If you have such spaces available, which are unutilized, then it is a good opportunity to produce healthy organic vegetables, fruit for yourself.
If you research your local market and plan accordingly, then the above information will help you to grow and earn some good money from it.
There are many expensive fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants which can easily grow and harvest at your rooftop and terrace. You just need to research and make your Rooftop Farming and Terrace Garden more profitable.
Frequently Asked Questions for Rooftop Farming
- How much does it cost to do Rooftop Farming?
It depends on the area of your terrace and the crop you decide to plant. It will cost approx. $400-450 per 100 square ft.
- What plants are best for terrace garden?
Vegetables – Tomato, Radishes, Cucumber, Pepper, Zucchini, Broccoli, Lettuce, etc.
Herbs: Basil (Tulsi), Mint, Chive, Thyme, Parsley, etc.
Fruits – Papaya, Lemon, Pomegranate, Guava, Drumstick, Chiku, Banana, etc.
These are some of the best plants for rooftop farming
- Are Terrace garden safe?
You have to think and take care of three things before starting a terrace garden. 1) Weight of terrace garden 2) Drainage system 3) Wind flow. You must have a strong roof to take a load of plants, soil, pots, etc. Also, you must have a proper drainage system to drain water. Then it will be safe to make a terrace garden. Avoid making a terrace garden if your roof having exposure to heavy wind flow.
- How do you waterproof a Terrace garden?
Apply the best quality polymer coat of 2mm on your terrace surface to make waterproof a rooftop garden.