A man transforms the terrace of a townhouse into a lush vineyard and harvests 250 kilos of grapes
Bhausaheb Kanchan is a Maharashtra-based farmer who owns an ancestral plot of 3 acres Uruli Kanchan. Here he planted fruit trees such as coconut, jamun, gooseberry, custard apple, tamarind, chikoo and banana on two acres. On the rest, he maintains a grape vineyard.
Having always worked on a farm, Bhausaheb wondered if grapes could also grow in urban spaces. His question was answered in 2013, when he toured Europe with other farmers. “The tour was organized by the state Department of Agriculture to acquaint the farmers with the agricultural practices implemented in different parts of the world,” he says.
Bhausaheb traveled to the Netherlands, Germany, Frankfurt and Holland. “Many Dutch farmers plant vines in their garden. The vines grow long and covered on their roof. It helped me realize that it was possible to grow grapes at home,” he says.
With the knowledge he had gained from this visit, Bhausaheb decided to incorporate a vineyard into his home. The opportunity came in 2014 when he was building a new house in Uruli Kanchan, in which he decided to grow grapes on the terrace.
Today his experiment has become a success, with vines covering his roof and providing much-needed respite during summer days.
“I bought Bangalore Purple, a variety of black grapes from the National Grape Research Institute, and planted the saplings along the perimeter wall. For my three-story house, I needed the vines to be at least 50-60 feet long so they would reach the top and spread across the roof of the 1,100 square foot terrace,” explains the 58 year old man.
Since he was not implementing the planting commercially, Bhausaheb decided to use organic methods to cultivate the vines. “I used copious amounts of cow dung, compost, organic matter and cow urine to provide natural nutrition. The vines grew strong, up to 32 feet,” he adds.
Eventually, the vines bore branches, and Bhausaheb carefully designed them to distribute them evenly over his terrace.
“In 2018, when the vines matured, I got 108 vine shoots. The following year, a hundred more grew. By 2020, the branches will grow to 300 and reach over 550 in 2022,” says Bhausaheb, adding that the growth has been impressive and the vineyard collectively bears 250 kilos of grapes.
He is of the opinion that the harvest will increase by more than 50% by next year.
Bhausaheb says he maintained the vines by pruning them from time to time. “I didn’t need any pesticides or chemical fertilizers because the methods were organic and the vines grow on compost without using any soil,” he adds.
“Weather is crucial for growing grapes, which require a combination of hot and humid conditions. If the weather is suitable for the geographical region, anyone can grow grapes in their garden or patio,” says Bhausaheb.
Today, its terrace also attracts visitors from Pune and other parts of the state, he says. “I have inspired and guided about 80 people on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and even answered some queries from overseas,” he adds.
“I don’t sell grapes, but I distribute them among friends and families. I want to inspire others by demonstrating that you can grow a vineyard or a farm in urban spaces in the middle of a concrete jungle,” he says.
Bhausaheb hopes more city dwellers will be inspired by his demonstration. For more information he can be called at 9404998960.
Edited by Divya Sethu