India: Institute of Horticulture comes up with hydroponic growing solution for consumers

The State Horticulture Mission — Kerala (SHM) may have a solution for people looking to grow vegetables in small spaces. The SHM is introducing the Arka Vertical Gardens where all you need is just 1 sq m of sunlit space.

Designed by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research-Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), the vertical garden structure is being introduced in the State through the SHM under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH). The cost of a single unit is ₹24,000. Of this, 75% will be provided as a subsidy under MIDH. The remaining 25% has to be met by the beneficiary.

Minister for Agriculture P. Prasad formally launched the scheme, christened 'Adukkalakkayi Adukku Krishi,' on the Secretariat campus on Thursday. A big attraction of these vertical gardens are that they provide the urban population easy access to safe-to-eat vegetables. Since the structure is fitted with wheels, it can also be easily moved around.

In an urban scenario, the vertical garden structure can be accommodated in the sunlit utility areas, balcony or rooftops of flats. Apart from vegetables, it can also be used for growing medicinal and flower crops. The structure has three major components — a base frame, a main central support and the supporting arms for placing pots and grow bags. Pots suitable for growing different vegetables, flowers and medicinal plants can be used with soil or a soil-less (cocopeat) growing medium.

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