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Mangaluru: G P Shenoy - Reaping multiple benefits from terrace gardening

By Florine Roche

Mangaluru, Jan 27: At a time when food scarcity is staring at us and when most people are finding it difficult to beat soaring prices of food grains and skyrocketing costs of vegetables, G P Shenoy and his wife Vijayamala Shenoy are happily reaping what they have sown. They are happy because they don’t feel the pinch of inflation as much as others do, it keeps them healthy, a good hobby and pass time and it is a fun way to be with the plants and in the lap of nature. Also, it must be truly a doubly enjoyable experience to grow and consume healthy, organic, fresh and sweet produce of your own garden.

At the end of the day what matters most is the happiness which money can’t buy. "We are able to grow nearly 99 per cent of our requirements of vegetables and fruits and we are almost self sufficient” says an ecstatic G P Shenoy, as he shows me a bunch dark pink wax apples (Malaysian apple) grown in his terrace garden. The Shenoy couple must be thanking their stars for the multiple benefits they have been able to reap because of their hobby. Apart from the joy of growing fresh fruits and vegetables the terrace garden keeps them occupied, active and healthy. "It is quite relaxing to be in the garden and to see and talk to our plants. We both look forward to our visits to the garden in the morning and evening," G P Shenoy declares.

Astounding Variety

As he takes me through his terrace garden in his home located in the heart of the city in Pinto’s Lane, Opp Vinaya Hospital, I am astounded to find myself amidst more than 55 varieties of fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers and trees. As I stride around the terrace garden I could spot long beans red variety (Alasande) plant which is in full bloom and is attractive with its dark green hue.

Armenian cucumber plant

Banaras Paan

Bunch of lemons



Hog plum and tomatoes

Long beans (alasande)


Pink Malaysian apple



Sri Lankan Brahmi on ground

Sri Lankan Brahmi

Sugarcane in terrace garden

Sweet potato

Tamarind in terrace garden

The garden is teeming with varieties of Lady’s finger and brijnal plants and the crop is secured with plastic to protect from birds. The chakotha tree has a tender fruit in it. 

A bunch of dark green lemon, the Averrhoa bilimbi (bimbli in colloquial language) and Bombay gooseberry plants which almost look alike, tomato plant with a bunch of about to ripen fruits, chillies, pudina pot filled with nothing but dark green leaves, brinjal, sweet tamarind plant, Birinda (Kokum) sweet potatoe, sugarcane, Brazilian grape plant, brahmi of different verities, grafted mango trees, Armenian cucumber plant which yields 5 feet long cucumbers, red and green leafy vegetables, pomegranate, Kilo gauva tree (each fruit nearing one kag weight), hog plums (ambade) white jambul tree, sugarcane, Thojank and varieties of brahmi are some of the vegetables, fruits and plants the Shenoy family has cultivated in its terrace garden.

Shenoy also shows me the Mamia tree which he grew from the seed of the fruit brought from America, given to him by his friend. Mamia is a mango like fruit and Shenoy is confident that the plant will bear fruit in the near future. My attention is also drawn to the wide leafed Brahmi plants which are said to be Srilankan and Australian variety. Shenoy plucks a leaf from each pot and asks me to taste and tell the difference. The Srilankan variety tasted was bitter/pungent just like the Indian variety whereas the Australian variety was sweetish. Banaras paan plant also forms a part of his rich collection.

G P Shenoy further explains that the 5 different varieties of Brinjal and muttu gulla plants he has are more than 5 years old and they have been yielding all these years. The secret is that he brought the wild brinjal plant that is found in and then grafted it with locally grown brinjal plants. The fusion has given wonderful results and the plants continue to yield crop even after 5 years. Even terrace space is not an impediment for the couple because the adjacent house belongs to their children and that has come in handy for them to expand their collection of vegetable and fruit plants.

Rewards for Labour

G P Shenoy, 78, a retired bank employee took to terrace gardening after his retirement. After retirement it took him two years to prepare the necessary groundwork required to start terrace gardening. G P Shenoy, who knew nothing about agriculture or farms got interested in the field when he was sent for a three month long training to Chickmagalur by his bank as he was in charge of providing farm loans. The training gave him an insight about agriculture and farming and he was bitten by the bug of agriculture as he had to deal very closely with farmers and what they produced.

When it comes to practicality space being a constraint in the city, the couple decided to opt for terrace gardening and today they are delighted to see their hard work bearing rich rewards.

Pathrode being a favourite among GSB’s I could trace many pots of variety of Pathrode leaves (colocasia leaves) arranged in a long line and it was like a treat to the eyes to the green leaves of 4 varieties of Colocasia. Needless to say I also spotted another favourite vegetable plant of GSB’s Teasel Gourd (Wild Bitter Melon) known as kaat peere in Tulu language.

The couple is also trying to grow Cauliflower but face problems from birds and squirrels. The plants which are just coming up are covered with black garden fabric to prevent birds and squirrels from eating its tender leaves. . Showing a pot that has yielded chillies Shenoy says "I have kept that pot in the far corner to prevent it from the onslaught of birds”. He uses homemade spray to get rid of pesticides. As for manure, "all the waste generated in the two homes is put together to compost and we get organic manure. We segregate and perishable waste and then allow it to compost in the underground tank," Vijayamala explains.

I was also happy seeing a small fully flowered Mango tree. Shenoy tells me it is a Badami Mango tree grafted with Kalapady and Philippine Mangoe variety. The garden also has a dwarf variety of Banni tree which is sacred to the Hindus because it is believed that when the Pandavas had to spend one year incognito during their 14 year vanvas they had hidden their weapons in the tree to hide their identity.

Shenoy says those interested in terrace gardening must first ensure they have a leek proof terrace. "When I built my house I had told my contractor to provide a leak proof terrace and for ten years I did not have any problem. Constructing a slightly gradient terrace also is helpful as there will not be water retention," says Shenoy giving tips to wannabe terrace gardeners. On an average the couple spends half hour in the morning and an hour in the evening daily in the upkeep of the garden. "Watering plants in terrace gardening is crucial especially in summer to keep the plant healthy” says Vijayamala.

Happy and Healthy

The Shenoy couple also has enough space around their homes and one can see only green trees and plants in and around. Papaya tree, varieties of Malaysian apple trees, drumstick tree that yields metre long drum sticks, custard apple, varieties of banana trees, coconut trees, varieties of creepers, climbers, vines, edible bamboo, Rama Phala, Seetha Phala, Sambrani and much more.

However, if you think terrace gardening is very profitable then you are mistaken. Taking care of plants, watering, leak proof roof, using manure, investment in pots, bags, bringing seeds, plants, etc, incurs money. But there is nothing that equals the joy of growing your own produce and in the process one might be able cut down the expenses to some extent.

G P Shenoy is active in spreading knowledge about terrace gardening and he is often invited by people institutions to talk about terrace gardening.

To overcome food shortage, beat soaring prices of vegetables to keep yourself hale, healthy and active and enjoy growing, consuming organically grown fresh fruits and to manage home generated waste effectively terrace gardening is certainly an option that people can think of.

G P Shenoy can be contacted on 0824-2491188.

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Comment on this article

  • Kusuma Kumari Chitti G , Nellore/Kodyadka

    Sun, Jan 31 2016

    Great work done by Shenoy . If everyone does this Indias food problem will be over for once and for all/ Great work indeed sir May god bless people like Sri Shenoy sir

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • b shenoy, mangalore

    Thu, Jan 28 2016

    Dad seen u get up as early as 6 am and start working on your terrace gardening,your energy levels and passion are superb,, Also got a good support from mom,, love dad & mom,,

    DisAgree Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Abdulla, Mangalore/California

    Thu, Jan 28 2016

    Kudos to Shenoy family. Very nice.

    DisAgree Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, UDUPI/NEW YORK,USA.

    Thu, Jan 28 2016

    My hats off to Mrs. & Mr. G P Shenoy. It is unbelievable but you have made people believe that terrace gardening is possible with some effort.Looking at the pictures shot by Florine Roche, I was really impressed looking at the fruits and vegetables grown in yur garden and that too on a terrace. God bless you both and give you all the strength and courage.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Udupi/India

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Best profession you have undertaken to enjoy your retired life and stay healthy.Really appreciable efforts by both you and your wife.Hats off to both of you.Keep growing and advise and guide the people interested.God bless both of you.Admirable.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Raman,

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Can you make a video interview with this "swavalambane" couple, so that others will get inspired please.

    DisAgree Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sampath, Mlore/ Blore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Good Work Sir!!! A role model to the people.

    Agriculture has time and again proved to be beneficial.

    Koti Vidye kinta naati vidyeye melu.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • J KINI, south kanara

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    I appreciate the terrace garden designed by MR & Mrs Shenoymam shows their interest and workmanship in growing vegetables in limited area on terrace. Self grown veg/fruits are really wonderful for our consumption. We could use our Kitchen waste to produce good manure for these plants and there by keep our surroundings clean. It is really a nice experience for nature lovers and every one should try to grow at least one of two veg's of our like in pots. It is a time pass hobby, exercise for our body and a art to exhibit to our friends.

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lavina Mathias, Udupi

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Dear Shenoy Uncle & Aunty, good thought has come to your mind to start gardening after your retirement.I also like gardening so when i read your article really i feel very happy as well as see the pictures of vegetables & fruits. Fantastic one. Keep it up.

    DisAgree Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sharon, Dubai

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    My Dad is into terrace gardening too and does not spare a pepsi bottle too half cut mud n there comes up a tender stem. But this is incredible. God bless this couple.

    DisAgree Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • James Dsouza, Mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    The smile and satisfaction on the face of Shenoy couple speaks millions. Great going Mr and Mrs Shenoy, you are an example to young generation who is just engaged in wasting time on whatsup and facebook so much so many of the youngsters does not even water the plants or help at home. Going to malls and buying vegetables in hypermarkets is a fashion. Most small properties are gone to builders and terraces reserved for parties. Salute you sir for your good example.

    DisAgree Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Acchu, Mlore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Really admirable.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Great efforts by the aging couple.
    Terrace garden/kitchen garden but variety of items grown with in the limited space is astounding.
    From the Lumbar belt Mr. Shenoy is wearing it is sure that he is suffering from back pain (Lumbar). He has to be careful lifting or shifting heavy pots.
    Hats off to this elderly couple. Keep fit, keep well .
    God bless.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • sid, mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    lovely , great work . we need this type of positivity for our nation

    DisAgree [1] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • jeevan, mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Hats off Shenoy Mamu..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashok,

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Thanks very much for this inspiring article. This is so fabulous to watch and I request you to cover more such nature related subjects, farms, harvests, fishing etc. etc. I am sure it must be so much morale boosting for people like Shenoys because inspite of old age they are so happy to that they are 90% self sufficient in their Vegetable and fruit needs at home.

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • zakir, moodbidri

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    excellent mr shenoy

    DisAgree Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amin Bhoja, Patte / Riyadh

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    It is good to see G P Shenoy at the age of 78 and his interest in agriculture that will keep him in good health.My own experience says i.e the agriculture nowadays means you work hard with little benefit without any decent life to you or your family!!!! will not support you or your family much!!!so it is the point the younger generation is looking outside jobs than the agriculture fields !!!Sometime we say the story in the books look nice but in reality it gives pain!!!

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • sudhi, byndoor

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Thanks for this report. I also congratulate Shenoy couple for their team work. Normally there will be differences between spouses or one of them may not be interested in doing some works proposed by another. But Shenoy couple are great for doing this together. I request Shenoy family or anyone to give information through Daijiworld to give information related to terrace gardening. Some people will be interested to start but will not be having knowledge to prepare.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Cecilia Gonsalves, Bondel / Bahrain

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Wow! What an inspiring article about Terrace Gardening. Hats off to Shenoy couple.

    I very much like to visit this garden and take some advice and tips as I too very much interested in setting up a small scale terrace garden.

    Thank you very much for this beautiful and informative article.

    DisAgree Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nancy, Belman

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    To enjoy good health one must keep moving and do something.It means whatever they can do must do. Here is the couple instead of giving excuse, who utilise small space available to them. Also enjoy good health and peace.

    Many are blessed with land and water but never bother to work on it.

    May God bless you both

    DisAgree Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Promenade Road,Fraze Town,B'lore 560005

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Quite encouraging venture.Hope he will share his experience with more and more people and familiarize this concept.All the best.

    DisAgree Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Yasin Baji, Suralpady

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    It is 100% dedication in his work ... its not just terrace garden it forest... Hats off to u Mr. G P Shenoy u have shown a new way of farming.

    DisAgree Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • G Bhandary, Mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Inspiring work by a gentleman of 78 year young wearing waist wrapped support for aching back.
    I think young generation spending time on social media reading unwanted things and typing comments need to take a lesson from this great couple.

    DisAgree Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vinayak, Managalore/Dubai

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Very interesting article. I have been trying to find much on terrace gardening as I love to be in greens. Yes, gardening is not a easy task, unless one is very much interested and devoted towards it. Thank you daijiworld for this article. I shall visit Mr. Shenoy next time while in M'lore.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn Crasta, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Grow Healthy, Eat Healthy, Live a Healthy Life!

    DisAgree Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • JD, mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Congratulations to the terrace farmers and to the reporter who brought them to light.
    May your tribe increase.

    DisAgree Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohammed Ilyas Byndoor/Dubai.U.A.E, Byndoor/Dubai.U.A.E

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    If there is a will there is way.,

    DisAgree [1] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • prasanna, mangalore

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    very cute..loved it as even i have passion of gardening..

    DisAgree Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia Lobo, Kadri

    Wed, Jan 27 2016

    Wow.. what a joy to read this. I wonder how exciting will it be to visit the Shenoys. Florine... you need to reserve some time for us to visit this place soon.

    Though gardening is not limited to any age, best hobby for those who are retired or are about to be, is gardening. Well, it does require some space and in our congested city the only answer is the terrace.

    To forget your worries and sickness, gardening is the best remedy. I have experienced the joy of having a baby in my arms, each time a variety of plant starts yielding or a bloom in my favour flower plant.

    Compost, I have said before that the waste in my house is reduced by 80% because all un-cooked matter ends up in organic manure bin.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [45] Reply Report Abuse

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