Introduction to Urban Horticulture
Urban horticulture becomes a booming aspect in India due to the increased need for gardens and high demand for fresh vegetables. The growing populations in cities and the decrease in available land for crop production are major constraints, where urban horticulture in cities may serve as a solution. Since there is a continuous increase in pollution, the need for urban horticulture is also increasing constantly.
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Definition of Urban Horticulture
Urban horticulture means the relationship between plants and urban areas. It deals with atmost and functional use of horticulture methods to maintain and improve the surrounding urban area and also to obtain economic returns from it. In addition, it provides more efficient land use in urban areas with a low level of input usage and efficient usage of fertilizers and optimum use of water when needed. Furthermore, it also results in high yield with good quality even in one season.
Types of urban horticulture
There are various types of Urban horticulture gardening that are given below
Terrace Gardening: Also called a roof garden, involves the cultivation of vegetables, fruits or flowers on the balcony or roof of buildings, or terrace. It serves the purpose of providing architectural enhancement, temperature control, healthy atmosphere, recreational opportunities.
Vegetable Gardening: It is the process of growing vegetables in the backyard and available space. It is also called a vegetable patch or vegetable plot. It is a small scale idea of vegetable growing for family purposes.
Balcony gardening: It means growing ornamental flowers, herbs in the balcony of home and it’s a leisure time activity.
Container gardening: It is generally practised when there is no sufficient space for direct growing of crops. Also called pot gardening and generally, the plants are grown in earthen pot or baskets.
Organic farming: It means the process of growing organic fruits and vegetables in available space for household purposes. It is also the process of growing crops with the use of organic components like farmyard manure, compost and vegetable wastes.
Guerrilla Gardening: It means growing of plants in the form of bushes in available place. Generally ornamental flowers, herbs and shrubs are grown and maintained properly.
Community Gardens: It means the process of growing fruits and vegetables or other ornamental plants grown for the attractive purpose in the form of communities where the single piece of land is gardened collectively in the urban area
Scope of urban horticulture for Urban families
It acts as a recreational area, reduces pollution, and enables us to get pure air. Practising urban horticulture is also a leisure time activity. It provides more employment opportunities and can get our fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, it also gives a beautiful view of our home. Furthermore, urban horticulture also ensures the inexpensive, regular and handy supply of fresh vegetables which are basic to nutrition. Urban horticulture can also be done on a commercial scale. It can be practised year-round with a different selection of crops at different seasons. It also allows the usage of recycled vegetable and fruit wastes, recycled water and homemade compost and vermicompost.
Drawbacks of urban horticulture/ Cons of Urban Horticulture/ Problems of Urban Horticulture
There is a lack of proper awareness regarding the selection of ornamental plants and vegetable crops growing of crops, application of fertilizers to the crops. There may not be sufficient space to grow crops and lack of sufficient water at cities. It needs appropriate time each day for management practices of grown crops at daily intervals.
Process of growing crops in Urban Horticulture:
You can grow vegetable crops, flower crops as well as fruit crops in the Urban Horticulture gardening. Planting crops is a passionate process and it requires continuous interest and progress regarding maintenance. The first stage is the cleaning of available space and making it wet with water. Next step is digging of soil to sow the seeds and proper watering with rose can at the early stage of crops is necessary at both morning and evening hours. At later stages, application of biofertilizers at the appropriate rate is essential for proper growth and development of crops. Thereafter the plants start growing day by day. This is the simplest method to start urban horticulture. It is generally the use of low-cost inputs. Nowadays soilless systems like hydroponics, aquaponics is also getting more demand.
Cost of urban horticulture:
For five cents area, it requires about one hundred to three hundred rupees for seeds, about one thousand to two thousand rupees for baskets and pots and it costs about seven hundred to one thousand rupees for biofertilizers with the regular need of water. And this provides vegetables for about 4 members in a family continuously with proper cropping and maintenance.
Factors involved in urban horticulture:
1. People: Generally, many school children, teachers, and women at home are likely interested in growing crops around their home. Women are considered very high in growing their crops for family purposes when compared to men.
2. Location: The urban horticulture can be done in rooftops, terrace, and balcony and backyard. Many means of vertical gardening is more flourishing due to the lack of space in crowded cities. In the case of vertical gardening, many ornamental flowers and shrubs are grown for attractive purposes. Rooftops can be also used for the installation of greenhouses which has a great scope.
3. Crops: Different vegetables like brinjal, tomato, bhendi, gourds and greens like spinach, amaranthus, coriander. Mint is grown. Various flowers like rose, jasmine, and chrysanthemum, medicinal plants like tulsi, neem, and periwinkle are grown. Apart from this, various ornamentals and aromatic plants are also grown for decorative purposes.
4. Market: Generally crops grown are used for consumptive purposes of the family and with a surplus is sold in nearby markets. It is also sold in local shops,or intermediaries or supermarkets.
Urban horticulture is emerging as a required technology in order to face a future crisis. It provides the city dwellers with nutritious and healthy food. It also makes many household women entrepreneurs. It’s an immediate demand to overcome nutritional and economic risks and to provide the future generation with sustainable food. It also helps in securing future livelihoods with healthy, fresh and accessible food. Urban horticulture also provides positive feedback over the urban environment by providing eco-friendly atmosphere and surroundings.