Published: 24th July 2019
At Vardhaman College of Engineering in Hyderabad, the terrace has been turned into a garden
As the NSS Programme Officer, the professor even initiates activities like blood grouping, voter awareness campaigns, health camps, donation drives and more
A rooftop garden seems like a wonderful idea that utilises space and helps us do our bit for the environment as well. When we spoke to Srinivasa Reddy Nallimilli, he highlighted a few other benefits. "If it is carried out on the terrace of the college, the college canteen can get fresh vegetables, students can be trained in farming and understand its importance," he explains. So at Vardhaman College of Engineering in Hyderabad, where he teaches, the 46-year-old initiated rooftop gardening. Around 200-300 plants were planted in small bags, soon to be transferred to wooden boxes, which include tomatoes, brinjal, chillies, chrysanthemums and more. After carrying out the plantations last week, the team even distributed 500 plants to students and faculty members in jute bags to, "encourage everyone to be more eco-friendly," he says.
The professor says that the whole management and staff have been very supportive towards this initiative
Several students were involved in this activity and the professor has many more plans on how to keep them engaged. "I have assigned the responsibility of monitoring, watering and reporting about the plants to two to three students and every day, a new group of students will carry out the responsibility and write a report on it," says the professor. After a few days, the professor plans on using discarded glass bottles from the college canteen to grow more plants. Clearly, students of Vardhaman College of Engineering have a lot to look forward to.
At work: Students during the plantation | (Pic: Srinivasa Reddy Nallimilli)
What is interesting to note is that Prof Srinivasa, who was born in Tanuku, a town in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, comes from a family of farmers. After completing his MTech from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, he worked in the industry. Upon observing students, he was disappointed with their knowledge and skills and decided to go back to college, this time as a teacher, to do is best for the next generation. He has been with Vardhaman since 2007 and is currently, the NSS Programme Officer too. So naturally, he wanted to initiate rooftop gardening as well. The professor and the students had also joined hands to make vermicompost previously. And instead of the usual 20-25 days that it takes, they used an equipment, where steam is circulated within the chamber through pipes, to speed up the process. "The enrichment quality of this compost is yet to be tested," he informs. The team used red soil, another compost and coco peat to make the soil for their plantations. "Rooftop gardening is truly a perfect solution for increasing our green print because we are restricted by space and methods like this, vertical gardening and so on helps us rise beyond it," says the prof passionately. He wants to ensure that students also understand the importance of this which is why he wants the rooftop garden to really work out.
Prof Srinivasa ranked fourth in the state-level PGCET when he was a student
Space no bar
Limited by space? Here are some options you can look at if you really want to grow your own greens
- Vertical gardening: Rather than on the ground, the plants are grown on a vertically suspended panel. One can even grow flowers and vegetables using this method.
- Hydroponics: Growing plants without soil. Instead, a nutrient-rich solution is used which makes the plants easier to maintain
- Upside-down gardening: To keep pests and the like away and to avoid weeding, plants are suspended upside down from a height