Growing and selling vegetables is a very reliable and sustainable way of earning an income in Nepal and as people get to learn about healthy eating there is more interest in organic vegetables. Some times people think that in Nepal we much grow all our vegetables the organic way and in the old times our forefathers did. More recently though there has been widespread use of pesticides and fertilisers and we have to learn the old ways over again.
I (Kopila) was so proud of three of our ladies Deepa, Ranjana and Ganga who established a flourishing vegetable plot on a small piece of land. They had one day theory course but thought this was not enough. Even so they enthusiastically implemented the lessons they learnt. They started with little amount and starting months of planting the seeds and organically fertilising and looking after the growing vegetables. It was not easy and there were lots of challenges like testing soil, and watering and using natural fertiliser like cow dung.
Even sometimes I was a little sad when i looked at the vegetables and was not sure if they grow or not. Wendy didi and I had been thinking how to make it easier and to give these hard working ladies more confidence and knowledge in Organic gardening. Then Wendy didi found out about Khumultar Agricultural Training Centre in Kathmandu and we decided to send these three very interested ladies for three days theory and practical training.
After doing the training they came home with ideas to apply to their previous garden. They kept looking and using the tools and techniques they learnt and now their small plot is so productive! They have grown 50kg of tomatoes, different kind of saag (like spinach) and 5 kg of chillis. They are still growing beans and pumpkins and so many more ideas to plant more efficiently. They have learnt about seasons and temperatures and what are the suitable crops for the different seasons.
Now they have a wish list for things like water piping, bamboo tunnel and shades. They are planning on building a glass house and we would like to support them. We want to say a special thank you to two people. Firstly to Sarah Bartram who donated many packets of the seeds that the ladies planted. These turned into our productive garden. And also we want to say special thank you to Binod Basnet. In my role, can’t do what I do without the support of this man, my husband. He encourages and helps me. When I am worried, he is always with me and uplifts me. And now, when we are dreaming about having some more land for the ladies to grow their garden, he gives us access to some of his land without rent to turn our dreams into a garden! Dherai Dhanyabad!!!
Fantastic❣️ Organic is definitely the way to go ????
Thank you dear Deborah. We think so! It will take some re-education of the community but more and more people are wanting to buy the healthy products. We are keen to learn more of the ways!
Dear Kopila and Wendy, I think it’s wonderful that you helped these ladies and they are so successful with their gardening. Best of luck to them. I love plants and growing things too.
Our ladies are such enthusiastic gardeners and have done such a great job with the little plot they had access to. We are excited about what they will be able to do with a bigger plot. It is poor soil so it will take all their new skills to help it become productive. We love that you comment to us Linda. Thank you.
I am so pleased to hear of your veg growing venture. It is interesting here in Canada, especially on Vancouver Island, that much is made of “organic”. To me, it is just sensible gardening-you use what you have, for example, I have chickens and their manure/shavings, as well as manure from my friends horses are dug into the soil. This is what people with small gardens do. And I compost vegetable waste which goes back into the garden-it is a circle of life. Yes, some old ways are best! I am excited for you and wish you much success.
This is so true Patricia. Years ago when our older relatives did things this way they were told it was old fashioned and the big companies came through and told them about organophosphates and fertilisers and hope to get the big yields. And now our soil is depleted. Also, our young people go to countries outside to work and we have fewer and fewer people here to work the land. It is a growing problem for us. Fields and farms are left unattended because there are no young people to take them on. WE hope we can work towards solving this problem. Thank you for sharing on our blog!
What a wonderful story you have told us, Kopila. Another reason to be proud of and happy for the women of Samunnat. Knowledge is power. Thank goodness you all have a thirst for learning – this will empower you in all ways.
Wishing you the best in all you do.
(PS I also live on Vancouver Island in Canada, like Patricia)
Thank you dear Barb. And a friend of ours who has been living in Australia will soon be returning to Vancouver Island so there must be a lot of lovely souls on Vancouver island!! WE trust that our thirst for learning will always grow and that we can help other women not to be afraid to have it! Hugs from here.
Another wonderful sustainable story, inspirational as always ?
You might get to eat some of the fruits of our labour when you visit! We are so looking forward to seeing you here.
What a fabulous story! I am so impressed by the enterpreneurial spirit. I am also am wondering, whether they learnt about crop rotation where you grow leguminous plants to naturally enrich the soil in alternating with other crops. Beans, peas, peanuts – whatever grows there. The greenery can also be dug into the soil after harvest.
Ducks eat snails and insects, provide eggs and manure. Whatever thrives better, ducks or chooks will do. Just keep them away from the ripening crops. The answer to good cropping is definitely the food supply for the plants.
In our garden we noticed a huge difference in earthworm numbers after mulching with sugarcane straw. I am sure any straw will do.
Keep up the great work!
Oh Sabine, thank you so much for this encouragement and enthusiasm! You have given us good ideas too! Not just about what you said but also stop ask the ladies the most surprising or interesting things they learnt! We eat duck eggs in Nepal sometimes so we can keep somewhen we get some more land. Thank you so much for your support!!