English | Dzongkha Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Greenhouses enable Lunaps to grow more varieties of vegetables

Sherub Dorji, Gasa
Aug 9, 2018

Not so long ago, the people in Lunana could grow only radish, potato and spinach. But now they grow a host of other vegetables, such as beans, cabbage, chilies, and even maize thanks to greenhouses.

What’s more interesting is how this is changing the diet of Lunaps.

Challenged by the harsh climate at over 4,100 meters above sea level, the villagers of Lhedi, Tshojong, Thangza, and Tenchoe in Lunana earlier survived on a limited diet of mainly barley, radish, potato, spinach and yak meat.

But ever since the first greenhouse was set up at the Mendrilthang Extended Classroom in Tshojong two years ago, the food habits of Lunaps changed.

Cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, chili, and maize are now a part of their daily diet.

 “In winter we can’t grow anything. In summer, from March till August, we grow radish, potato, and spinach. And now with the greenhouse, we grow onions and other vegetables as well,” Rinzin Dema from Tenchoe said.

“We can even grow chilli if we work hard. The vegetables grow big if you tend them well. If not, they don’t grow well. It’s all in our hands.”

Tandi, also from Tenchoe, said in the past, vegetables are off the menu after August in Lunana.

“Now with greenhouse, we have vegetables until November. It’s also easier to grow vegetables in greenhouse. What is hard is to build one due to lack of wood nearby. After that, it’s easy,” he said.

Eating a variety of vegetables certainly means more nutrients. It’s good especially for those who are anemic. Green vegetables help them,” Tandi added.

It’s not easy to live in a high altitude place like Lunana. Winter is extremely harsh. Some migrate to Punakha and Thimphu in winter to escape the biting cold.

Others who stay up make sure to buy food supplies enough to last them through the long freezing cold winter.

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