Mangaluru : It’s Blany D’Souza’s Terrace! No, it’s a Paradise..

Mangaluru: It’s Blany D’Souza’s Terrace! No, it’s a Paradise of Vegetables and Fruits

” I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful”- John 15:1-2

Mangaluru: The above words from the Bible were taken very seriously by Blany D’Souza when he heard them during a Sunday mass and applied it towards one of his gardening issues- the story goes like this, Blany D’Souza, a resident of Manky-Stand-Marnamikatta here had brought home a grape branch from a nursery couple of years ago, and planted it in his backyard. The grape plant started growing slowly and within few months it started spreading all over his terrace, but no grapes, just green leaves. Waiting for a year whether the plant would yield some fruit, but his wait was all in vain. He tried to get suggestions from horticulturists and nurseries but no one had a clue why his plant was not yielding any grapes, but had only vast amount of leaves.

01-terrace-garden 02-terrace-garden-001 03-terrace-garden-002 04-terrace-garden-003

This is when he took the above Bible words seriously, and decided to trim/cut the branches of the grape plant and reduce it to half its size. Surprisingly within a week or so the plant showed signs of plenty of flowers and within couple of months, Blany says he got nearly 30-40 kgs of grapes, which at first were green in colour, and later they turned into red, and they happened to be Kabul grapes. This was the first time that someone in Mangaluru had successfully grown a grape plant and got grapes. Happy with the yield, Blany distributed his first yield of grapes to his relatives, neighbours and friends, and the rest he made wine and pickle. That was a amazing story!

Okay, if you walk by first cross-Monkey Stand near Marnamikatta, you will locate Blany D’souza’s house, with a 1200 square feet house terrace filled with wide varieties of vegetables and fruits, some very exotic kinds. His terrace is like walking in a paradise packed with veggies and fruits, nearly 30-40 different kinds of vegetables, around 35 fruit varieties and bunch of different flower breeds. Blany’s passion for raising a vegetable and fruit garden on top of his terrace started 20 years ago after he came back for good after working for six years in the Gulf. A passion that he started for fun, Blany says that he never thought he would be in such a demand in the community for setting up terrace gardens at peoples residences.

05-terrace-garden-004 06-terrace-garden-005 07-terrace-garden-006 08-terrace-garden-007 09-terrace-garden-008

Blany’s terrace garden is not like any garden that you will find around in the City, it is unique and quite amazing to look at it. While many terraces have just flower pots arranged in a neat way, Blany’s terrace is a collage of various vegetable, fruit and flower plants. Among the wide varieties of vegetables, to name a few are- tomato, brinjal, bitter-gourd, green beans, lady-finger, gherkins, red/green spinach, varieties of chillies, cucumber, ash gourd, snake gourd, ivy gourd, bottle gourd, pumpkin and the like. And among fruits are- grapes, musumbi (sweet lime), oranges, star apple, tamarind, guava, mango, custard apple, lime, and others. There are also some herbal and medicinal plants, including few flower plants. Other than plants on the terrace, Blany also has banana, coconut, papaya, chikku, and many other plants and trees grown in his backyard.

When asked how did he get into this hobby of gardening, Blany replied, ” I had a passion for gardening since I was a young boy- while returning from school I used to pluck some plants found in the neighbourhood, bring them home and plant them in my garden. A passion to grow plants that started during my younger days is still continued, and I love doing it. Even though some of my plants don’t yield fruits or flowers, but I am filled and happy with the fascination. My intention is not to make money from the yield, I am doing it for fun, and for the happiness I get from observing/looking at all these plants/trees everyday. Even my mother, wife and kids spend time in this terrace garden and enjoy the fresh air and beauty of the greenery”.

Born in Mangaluru, Blany completed his BCom at St Aloysius College, and then did PG in Konkani Studies before moving to Gulf, where he worked as a auditor for a reputed five-star hotel in Sharjah. Married to Renilda, who is the Principal of City College of Nursing-Mangaluru, Blany is a proud father of a son- Darren Steve, doing his First PUC at St Aloysius College, and daughter- Donne Maria, who is studying in 5th Std at St Theresa’s School-Mangaluru. Blany came back from Gulf to his hometown for good in the year 1998, and since then he has devoted his entire life and time nurturing his trees and plants.

Apart from taking care of his terrace garden, Blany renders his service to other people by setting up terrace gardens on individual homes, schools, colleges, flats, businesses etc. He has also been delivering talks on gardening/terrace garden at various schools/colleges/universities. After setting up terrace gardens at other locations, he supports them with required guidance, care for maintenance. During day time he entertains visitors, school/college students, teachers/lecturers and others by explaining about his terrace garden. After 4pm he takes assignments to set up terrace gardens at other homes. He has conducted various talks through power-point presentation, and many have gained knowledge about plants/trees and gardening from him.

3-terrace-garden-002

11-terrace-garden-010 12-terrace-garden-011 13-terrace-garden-012

Lately Blany has planted some tulsi plants to chase away the insects that have been attacking his vegetable plants. He says that earlier even though he had a ‘insect trap’ on the terrace, it didn’t work since the insects were still attacking his vegetation. But by placing tulsi pots here and there on the terrace, the insect menace has disappeared, he said. He strongly believes that the Tulsi plant works as a repellent of insects attacking vegetable plants. He also said that he doesn’t uses any insecticide control solutions, nor chemical sprays on his plants. He waters his plants twice a day, but to the limit, because excess water kills the plants, he says. He sprays neem mixture on plants to control diseases. Although the season of vegetables is during the month of August and September, but there are quite a few vegetables that have grown abundantly. Blany says he had collected around 200 kgs of Gherkins during the season lately, and also that he has not purchased vegetables for his house since six years.

“Having a terrace garden is environmentally friendly, you can enjoy nature right in front of you, it will be fun watering the plants and see them grow, you can breathe fresh air by walking in the garden and sit on a swing enjoying the beauty of it. Sometimes you can also witness the birds come looking for their food. I didn’t started a garden for business, instead I wanted more and more people to grow vegetables and fruits on the terrace space available to them. It brings joy and happiness to me. As time passed, I have been getting more and more into gardening. I do not have the greenest thumb, but I’m pretty happy with what I am doing. If I can do it, anybody can do it. If you touch plants and shower them with love and care, they will not cheat you. You can call me for more details at 9972716340” said Blany.

In conclusion, a small balcony, terrace or porch will do. Make a start and get your hands dirty! You will not learn everything on day one. It will take some time for experience to kick in and make the best out of the knowledge gained. Grow what you need. Do not get excited and tempted to grow everything at one time. Start slow. If you have the time and the patience maintain a diary. Be prepared to come across some nasty looking insects and bugs!

14-terrace-garden-013 15-terrace-garden-014

10-terrace-garden-009

Balcony? Ground space? Terrace ? Basically any location which gets at least 2-3 hours or more of direct sunlight. The more the better! A place where you can keep a few containers. The number 1 question asked by newbies – “Will my terrace/balcony be able to hold the weight of pots/plants/containers?” Yes, it will! The average RCC/concrete slab can take huge amounts of weight. Just make sure adequate waterproofing has been done. If your terrace can bear the brunt of a heavy downpour, then you are good to go with an OTG too. For balconies, make sure, you have a water drainage outlet.

Think beyond the pot! For a first time gardener, a container is any object like a pot in any shape/size. And yes, it can be a pot too! Most importantly, it should be able to hold water and soil and other ingredients in the container. There will be a time when you will be scouting for any decent sized object. For example, an oil can, an unused helmet, a vegetable/milk crate, specific types of wood, a good thick UV treated plastic grow bag, 2/5/10 litre or more water bottle/can, used paint buckets (but make absolutely sure all the paint inside is scraped off), PVC drainage pipes. Rice/cement bags can be used, but not more than once. After about 3 months, it starts to disintegrate. And once that happens, the disintegrated pieces mix up in the soil, which makes it very difficult to remove. So try to avoid them.

1-terrace-garden 2-terrace-garden-001

Different plants have different sunlight requirements. Some do well in semi shade, some need 3-4 hours of sunlight, some require more and some require less. Seeds sown in a seed tray (or anything similar) don’t need direct sunlight for the first 1-2 weeks. If your plants don’t do too well under the scorching sun, then you can consider installing a shade net, which cuts off the amount of sunlight hitting the plants. And not only the sun, even the rain too. Do not over water and do not under water. On an average, watering every alternate day is good enough. Monitor your plants and you will notice when they look dried up or not. If you over water, the water that drains out, will take away the nutrients. And of course you are wasting water too! Happy gardening on your terrace, if you have one!

Click here for Photo Album

20 Comments

  1. Great job, Mr. Blany D’Souza. A creative job that should make you a proud and “self-sufficient” person. We are already home sick. We would like to visit your “paradise” when we visit Mangalore next. We are very familiar with Marnikatte. Look forward to not only seeing your “paradise” but also buy some of your surplus crop and make justice to our visit. Thank you once again for sharing.

  2. great work by Mr Alfie Dsouza,Magalorean.com. its my favarate subject. hats off Mr Blany Dsouza. truely green idea/ we need to learn from you. well done.

  3. Dear readers,

    The wealthy island city of Singapore with an area of 710 square km and a population of 5 million, is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. With most parts of the island’s land utilized for urban development, the remaining 250 acres of farmland is hardly sufficient to feed the growing population. As a consequence, more than 90 percent of Singapore’s food consumption is met by imports from over 30 countries. This dependency on the external world makes the country highly vulnerable to turbulence in food supply and prices.

    In making this goal of a food self-reliant Singapore a reality, Entrepreneur Jack Ng, with the help of Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), has come up with one of the world’s first commercial vertical farms. This soil based vertical farm produces one ton of vegetables every other day and is five to ten times more productive than a regular farm.

    So back in India the BJP ruled Maharashtra, the farmer suicide toll has already touched 66% of the 1,981 cases recorded in the entire year of 2014. The figure has also crossed the 1,296 cases recorded in the state during the 12-month span of 2013.
    BJP which dig out Pawar ‘model’ to curb farmer suicides by loan-waiver will not end the miseries of farmers in Maharashtra today had no ‘Charar’ argi oriented beef ban.The issue of farmer suicides in Karnataka is being politicized by BJP using ‘Raitha Chaitanya Yathre’ rather than providing solution to the state.

    I appreciate the Mr.Blany D’souza for green revolution in his own backyard.Modi government rather politicising the issue should learn from this individual and success of singapore.

    Jai Hind

  4. Wow! Indeed a excellent concept undertaken by Blany to create a green environment around his house and neighbourhood.

    Well written and very informative write-up to convince anyone to take up this hobby. Great job Blany and thanks mangalorean.com for highlighting Blany’s work.

  5. A garden of Eden it is.Thank you Alfie for the Fotos.Mangalore is blessed with good sun shine allround the year and rain,tropic weather makes everything neede d for a gardener to be happy.Of course all roundinterst andlove too.I too am intersted in some seeds whether it is available by him?specially bottle guards which we get in Bombay are not available anywhere.we do here gardening.Only short time ,due to weather we are not sure of yields.but our Ladyfinger from Mangalore are not of success due to weather.Next time when we visit home town will try to come and find These seeds .we have hard water which makes a difference.

  6. Congratulations Blany. You are doing a wonderful job and I am proud of you my brother. At a time when everyone is fearful of contaminated vegetable that we eat, you are offering people a better alternative as well as cost saving opportunity. Lots of oxygen generation on one’s roof :). Environment friendly and organic food at affordable cost along with compulsory exercise.

  7. Mr.Blany D’souza, Sir you are an inspiration, an inspiration that derives the action.seeing your yields is a treat to eyes, mind and soul.As well we do and we can learn a lot more from you.

  8. Wow-wish I had a terrace like Blany’s-unfortunately I live in a flat where hardly any space is on the balcony. But I am really inspired and convinced by this article that I will try to plant at least one or two plants, either veg, fruits or flowers. Great job, Blany D’Souza, and great report by mangalorean.com team member.

  9. Hi Blany,

    It was so very nice of Alfie to publish an article on “Its Blany D’Souza’s Terrace: A Paradise of Vegetables and Fruits”. Despite the tropical and humid hot weather it’s amazing to know Blany’s interest and love for horticulture, it is a great pass time as well. Obviously, Blany is gifted with a ‘Green Thumb” so whatever he plants thrives well and bears bumper fruits. Congratulations to Blany, your hard work is bearing plentiful of fruits which I am sure is appreciated by Mangalorean.com readers as well as people in your neighborhood. It is incredible to know that you do not use pesticide repellent instead Tulsi plants are shielding the vegetation from insects. Thank you for sharing and hope many will follow your great example to enjoy home grown veggies.

  10. Proud of you dear blany,need to appreciate your hard work and go green concept. Thanks mangalorean. Com and Mr Alfred for the marvelous write.

  11. Very interesting story – being a cold weather here most of time here in Toronto, I can’t dream of having such a beautiful terrace garden like Blany. But nice to enjoy the write up by Dsouza and the eye-catching pictures.

    Congrats Blany for a unique concept in gardening. Thanks mangalorean.com for sharing Blany’s hobby.

  12. I read the complete article and am impressed. Blany D’Souza, you are a highly resourceful person to put your talents to good use. You are an inspiration to people who have green fingers, but are lazy or takes things easy.

    Every person has some talents or the other. Some neglect it and take it casually. Others take it seriously and put it to good use.

    I am very happy that you have not been buying vegetables from the market, but your garden is catering your domestic needs.

    Years ago, I had read another article of a retired bank official in Mangalore, who had converted his hungalow terrace into a garden.

  13. its truly inspiring. i have been following mr dsouza’s posts in fb group OTG. its so nice to tour the entire garden, i missed the chance to see it personally , though passed mangalore twice during my trips

  14. It’s great work of art mr Blany is doing…only few valid points are missing in this article…advise about preparation of soil ,maintaince .,nutrition management…These points would have helped People world wide as this will be read in the world..
    No doubt mr Blany is great gardener..I salute his green world ..Now such great people should advice people openly so that many can consume their own grown food…
    Wish you all green blessing of god Blany D’souza ji

  15. truly Inspiring Mr Dsouza
    i am also interested to convert my terrace into a farm
    can i meet you once and have a look at your farm

Leave a Reply