Pune elderly woman’s terrace farming sustains family’s organic vegetable needs

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Mrunal Jadhav

11 Jan 2019, Pune: 63-year-old Alka Narayan Devkar from Bopkhel has set an ideal for today’s generation by using waste material to make organic manure and use them for farming. She has planted various vegetables on the terrace of her house and solved the problem of vegetables in her kitchen.

Alka said that she loved farming since her childhood. Her father had a big farm from where she learned about farming. After her marriage, there was no farm in her in-laws house to keep her hobby of agriculture alive therefore she started planting crops in the front yard of her house. There she faced many problems, so she decided to start planting vegetables on the roof of her house.


From last 15 years, she has been cultivating different vegetables season-wise using organic manure and produces nutritious vegetables. She makes organic fertilizer at home. She composts manure using the waste of fruit trees near her house as well as dung and Gaumtra from cowsheds in the area.

To plant crops 50% soil, 25% dung manure and 25% compost manure is mixed in pots and then seeds are sown. To water the plants, she uses rainwater harvesting method through which rainwater is saved and used later. And to avoid pests on the plants pesticides, made of natural ingredients, are used.

Alka has planted chili, Bitter melon, eggplant, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, turmeric, ginger, groundnut, capsicum, cilantro leaves, many species of flowers plants and fruit trees like mango, chikoo, coconut in the front yard and roof of the house.

“Instead of wasting time by watching television in free time, I like to do farming on the terrace”, Alka says.

Now Alka’s daughter-in-law Shubhangi Avinash Devkar is also teaming up to carry on the legacy of her work.