The hanging gardens, not of Babylon but Beijing. Every morning, Zhang Guichun starts his day taking care of his vegetables and plants in his rooftop garden. The 56-year-old has astonished the local community with his organic “hanging garden” on the roof his traditional courtyard home in southern Beijing. His 80-square-meters of rooftop is home to some 30 varieties of vegetable and fruit, including pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet bell peppers and melons. “This is my hanging garden. Look, this is my small world. I want to have all kinds of vegetables around my garden, and that would be really attractive,” says Zhang. Zhang started planting vegetables in 2007 on the roof of his two-floor courtyard home, which is two miles away from the Temple of Heaven in southern Beijing. He says he didn’t want to plant vegetables to eat, instead, he wanted to make the garden a place for neighbours to have fun together. Zhang is a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and after about three years of testing he developed his own fertilizer recipe based on his knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine. His “organic fertilizer ” helps his vegetables grow and Zhang is very proud of his chemical-free garden. “My garden is totally free of chemicals and fertilizers. It is organic, and I use Chinese traditional medicine to help vegetables grow, this is genuinely healthy and organic,” Zhang says. Zhang has applied for a patent for his “organic fertilizer” with traditional Chinese medicine as an ingredient, and he is hoping to get a certificate “very soon”. Zhang quickly became a “celebrity” in his neighborhood after his rooftop garden had a bumper harvest and several of his neighbours were even inspired to start their own rooftop vegetable gardens. But there aren’t many residents creating gardens up to Zhang’s high-standards. Still, as rooftop […]
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