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Elderly couple turn rooftop into their vegetable garden

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, Aug 9:

Where there is a will there is a way. An octogenarian couple living in the metropolis has proved this. Dharma Lal Shrestha, 81 and his wife Indra Keshari, 80, of Koteshwor, Kathmandu are self sufficient on vegetable they grow on their rooftop. This couple does not own any kitchen garden but their roof is enough to produce significant amount of vegetable which has reduced the extra cost and help them pass their time.

The roof of their three-storeyed building appears like any other like a vegetable garden where pumpkin, chilli, Okra (lady´s finger), brinjal (eggplant), tomato, bean, lentil and onion can be seen growing. This type of vegetable gardening is new in the country´s urban area and has generated much fascination and curiosity about the couple´s skills and dedication. The couple has not limited their activities to vegetable farming. They also grow many types of fruits such as pear, mango, orange, grapes, guava, pomegranate and lemon on their rooftop garden.

Shrestha has not invested much to prepare the rooftop garden, but has applied his own ideas to use the roof for a good cause. Around two feet of parallel bricks bar has been erected at the edge of the roof where different vegetable and hybrid fruits are planted. The family members thought about constructing the garden to keep their parents engaged and that appears to have worked very well. “They are very happy and the idea to grow vegetable and fruits has become successful,”said Shrestha´s relative Pritam Sagar Karmacharya.

“We are saving around Rs 250 to 350 on vegetables as at least 3 or 4 varieties are plucked from the garden every day which is sufficient for our consumption and to even send them as koseli (gift) to relatives,” Dharma Lal shared. With the shrinking resources, farmland and spiralling inflation, it has become inevitable to adopt these types of measures by utilizing wherever space we can find, says Rabin Man Shrestha, Environment Division Chief of Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

“We have to think towards productive greenery that can ease our living,” he added. Originally from Bhaktapur, Shrestha couple settled in Biratnagar, Dhankuta and Sarlahi while serving in government offices and always cultivated in the pieces of land that were left unused.

“Over the years, I have realized that to care for plants is more important than where we grow them,” Dharma Lal said adding “20 varieties of fruits, vegetables and more than 150 flower basins growing on this concrete roof is proof that plants can bear fruit anywhere if provided water and minerals on time.”

The Shrestha couple´s story only came to light after the Solid Waste Management and Technical Resource Centre (SWMTRC) started a search on people´s extraordinary contribution to maintain greenery and waste management. Chief of the SWMTRC, Sumitra Amatya said her office felt proud while awarding the couple on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5 as a source of inspiration to others on managing solid waste and maintaining productive greenery even at the late stage of their life.

Published on 2012-08-09 04:00:01, My Republica Daily

Link: http://myrepublica.com/portal/index.php/twb/printable_news.php?action=news_details&news_id=39443

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