The one positive outcome of the lockdown 2020-2021 is work from home. While some continued with laptops and zoom meets, others chose to become home entrepreneurs. Jincy Samuel belonged to the second category. Jincy was growing tired standing in long queues at grocery stores when she decided to do something about it. And voila, what was it? Jincy Samuel began to grow food on the 500sqft terrace of her ‘Richard Town‘ home using the new hydroponics and aquaponics method.
The Jincy Samuel Spark
Jincy always enjoyed gardening. The idea to grow her own vegetables was more than a spark.
“When we had to wait in queues to be able to get our food, is when my husband suggested that we try growing our own. Our terrace was barely used, and so we decided to use the space to explore how we could grow our own food”, says Jincy.
Neither Jincy nor her husband Benson Samuel had any formal training in agriculture. Jincy worked at a BPO running a cryptocurrency platform while her husband worked in the technology industry before they both chose to be self-employed. But with the lockdown, their work slowed down, and the couple found more time to think. They began to read and research every bit of information on how to grow vegetables at home. Finally, they decided that hydroponic and aquaponic systems suit their requirement and resources.
The spark had turned into a raging desire to grow their vegetables.
Understanding no-soil farming – Hydroponics and Aquaponics
Hydroponics uses a reservoir filled with a nutrient solution and a nutrient film technique (NFT). There is no need for any soil. As the roots absorb the aqueous solution, the plant begins to grow.
Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically. It is a natural ecosystem that recirculates the water.
Aquaponics and hydroponic plants are related systems where plants grow with water, nutrients, and the waste of aquatic animals.
Why Hydroponics and Aquaponics ?
New-age technology was the puller for Jincy and Benson. It was only natural that they try out these new methods to grow food for their family. Besides, the polyhouse also offered a controlled growth environment to prevent insects from attacking the plants.
After extensive research, Jincy and Benson found Hydroponics and Aquaponics the best way forward, to grow vegetables on a 500sq ft terrace. In May 2020, they had the first system setup.
The Terrace Garden
“Initially, I invested in a hobby kit from Garden Guru for a trial run and grew coriander, spinach, and mint on our terrace, quite easily, which gave us the confidence to start, this in a slightly bigger way. Now, with the help of a firm called Hydrilla, we have been able to grow over 200 plants like beetroot, kale, Romaine lettuce, red amaranth, broccoli, English cucumber, tomatoes,” says Jincy.
According to Jincy, setting up the systems is the first and easy part. She says, “When I started, I grew spinach in about 96 pots. Soon, there was so much spinach, I didn’t know what to do with it! That was a disastrous idea. But with time, we have figured out there is a way to plan.”
Today, Jincy has started to sell the extra produce to an organic store nearby.
With sweet success on their terrace garden, Jincy and Benson have now rented a 4,000 sq ft commercial space near Kothanur to set up a hydroponic center.
They even own an aquarium store in Bengaluru called Splashy Fin, where they now plan to expand and add hydroponic & aquaponics kits, nutrients, consumables, among other items for urban gardens.
The young couple has shown us the way to become self-sufficient. If at least 50 percent of the population living in the cities can grow vegetables on their terraces, food will be healthier and the city greener.
Wake up city slickers – Be inspired!