Fruitful Vegetable Gardening
As evident after the recent floods, the rich agricultural wealth of Pakistan has been shattered. In the current scenario, to talk about self-sufficiency and local production in food as the key goals may sound hard. But there are viable and workable solutions being implemented in most parts of the globe to fight hunger, cost hike and environment and vegetable gardening is one of them.
There are multiple reasons that call for vegetable gardening initiatives. Price hikes lead the list, followed by poor maintenance of sanitation standards at vegetable and fruit markets and the question of ecological balance.
Initiatives like the distribution of seeds and fertilizers by the European Union and FAO to the small scale farmers are pertinent too. But for a collective and ongoing green movement the urban classes of society must put in a collaborative effort. The plan sketched out for the rural farmer working on commercial crops and producing seasonal crops at home can be adapted by urban homes to add a diverse organic diet and achieve effective budget savings, while providing green relief to the surroundings.
The participation of the cash strapped urban populace will generate a far productive impact. An average estimate of a typical backyard garden yield has come out to be about $2,000 (near to Rs. 170,000), varying with the type of crops grown. The resultant saving on groceries and production of income from the home-grown economy would be substantial.
This effort does not demand any experience or grand arrangement. Not yards of land are required, not even a single yard. Small patches of land would suffice for the needs of households. Containers and window sills would even do if used aesthetically. For the garden owners, fruits and vegetables would not spoil the look, if they are properly maintained.
Quality home-grown tomatoes, turnips, spinach and peas may well facilitate, from the household to the neighbourhood, serving as a substantial micro-business project. Extension projects for agriculture students at universities and summer schools must focus on vegetable gardening in order to cultivate a local participatory environment.
Plans for solar projects, replacement of cooling and heating systems with green equipment and purchasing of organic food may be on a delayed task list due to economic issues, but if households utilize the benefit of Pakistan’s seasons and fertility for vegetable gardening, a green lifestyle may not remain a dream