“Few things are as satisfying as plucking fresh fruit or vegetables from your own garden to prepare a meal,” observes Madurai-based DD Rajeshvaran who started his urban farming journey in 2016, and was one of the first few in the city to experiment and perfect the technique of growing crops without soil, through hydroponics. “Hydroponics is truly a blessing for areas that do not have either enough water or fertile soil for cultivation,” he adds. 

Four years ago, the septuagenarian set up a futuristic soil-less and limited water-based hydroponics greenhouse in the terrace (which measures 800 sq feet) of his house in Vishwa Shanti nagar, with the help of his wife, Grace Rajesh. Today, he grows over 20 varieties of fruits and vegetables without soil by merely floating their roots inside a tube of gurgling mineral enriched water. 

Setting up the dream project
In 2010, Rajesvaran, a businessman dealing in electronics and solar-power equipment, decided to expand into the food business and opened a few chain restaurants across the city. Keen on being involved in the entire process of food preparation, he found himself drawn to urban gardening. “I always give a hundred percent in whatever I do. And, gardening was always very close to my heart. The food business provided a boost to that interest, and I began to source the best seeds, reading material on best methods of cultivation to help build my green knowledge,” he adds.

Read more at The Better India (Ananya Barua)