In one of the earlier posts, I talked about the shade net setup that we worked on in 2019. We only set the shade net on a small part of the terrace as a test and it worked brilliantly in protecting the plants. The rest of the plants outside of the shade net area were not handling the sun well. So we wanted to finish the rest of the terrace too. In the mean time, monsoon hit and the original shade net was all torn in many places, so it needed replacement. From that we understood that the shade net might need to be re-done every year after monsoon :). Eventually, after the monsoon we set down to work on the rest of the shade net project, dubbed 2.0 for obvious reasons :P

Like in shade net 1.0, after setting up all the vertical and horizontal wooden structures, we made crisscross wiring with a GI wire. Then the shade net was cut to size and laid on top of the GI wire. Finally the shade net was tried down to the GI wire network with zip ties. In addition for 2.0 we laid down another crisscross wires on top of the shade net again. So the shade net is sandwiched between two layers of GI wire network. The reason for this change in design was because we noticed that the shade net was flying up during windy monsoons and tore where we tied with zip ties. Having another layer on top of the shade net will keep it down and hopefully this new design will stop the monsoon from tearing it. Or so we believe. Have to wait for the 2020 monsoon to pass to test our hypothesis.

Setting up the GI wire

Cutting shade net to desired size

Tying down the shade net with zip ties

Top view of the full area allocated for terrace gardening

After having finished with the shade net, we decided to setup the grow bags. But before getting to that, we wanted to protect the terrace from the moisture of the bags. To that end, in 1.0 we used a blue tarpaulin on the terrace and placed the bags on top. But learned that it was not a good idea. So many learnings :). When it rained, the rain water would seep under the tarpaulin and would not dry up quickly. So bought a few drain cells and laid them down first and then placed the bags on top, so the water would drip and flow out.

All the grow bags we wanted, placed on top of drain cells

Next we wanted to protect the sides of the terrace garden from sunlight too. But instead of using shade net we wanted to grow creepers that would grow all around the sides and give some protection from sunlight. So we laid down some wires for the creepers to climb up.

Laying out the creeper lines

But until the creepers can grow and creep around, we wanted to protect the sides from sunlight. So we laid more shade net on the side as well :)

Side wall shade net half done

All done!

We completed the whole setup by mid January 2020. It took us about a month from start to finish including getting the soil, moving it to the terrace, seeding etc. Then we setup drip pipes to all the new grow bags. Previously we had about 45 bags. Now we have almost 90. Eventually, the plants started growing and we are harvesting some crop now.

Drips are setup. Mid February and we have some plants growing out of every bag

We are growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables including corn, potatoes, tomatoes, chillis, okra (lady fingers), water melon, guava, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, radish, eggplant (brinjal), onions, several varieties of mint and green leafy vegetables. Here is a quick tour of our terrace garden. Enjoy!

And here is the harvest we got so far in 2020 which includes fig, different kinds of green leafy vegetables, radish, tomatoes and papaya. More in my next update, hopefully at the end of the year.

Our harvest (click to enlarge)