A Czech man has been renting a rooftop of a building in Ho Chi Minh City to set up his own green vegetable garden.
Honza Frinta, who is from the Czech Republic, spends an average of eight hours on a daily basis taking care of a veggie garden which he has built on the rooftop of the Fablab Saigon building on Nguyen Van Dau Street, Binh Thanh District.
Frinta first came to Vietnam in 2010 to work for a multinational corporation. His ‘office’ was moved to the little garden in early 2016.
Renting a space about four square meters in area, the foreigner started his business as a vegetable farmer with two systems of hydroponics that grow several types of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans.
Staring his usual working day at 9:00 am, Frinta replaces the water of the farming system, checks the temperature, pH level, and content of solutes in the water, and nurtures his plants while performing his office tasks mainly on the phone.
Gardening is a hobby and joy, the foreign farmer said, adding that it is great to see the plants grow each day.
Frinta stated that his farming method does not require much space and water while minimizing the amount of waste.
He initially contacted several professional businesses to help him build his hydroponic systems but later decided to construct everything himself due to the high cost.
After researching online, Frinta purchased necessary items and built a homemade version of the system.
The first structure took the Czech man nearly a month to establish while the second set only took five to six days, he recalled, adding that he spent VND10 million (US$451) on the material, half of what he would need to pay if hiring a firm.
Frinta is very meticulous in his work, evidenced by a notebook in which he jotted down specific items and volumes of minerals in the water.
His plants are grown in plastic pipes placed in many levels, with water being pumped from a container into the pipes.
Cucumbers and tomatoes are grown on the top rows enjoying plenty of sunrays while pipes at the lower levels are used to plant vegetables with fewer requirements for daylight.
Several plants have turned yellow, Frinta stated, before adding that he would figure out the reason.
This would not frustrate him, the ‘farmer’ said, as gardening always brings him peace.
Frinta expressed his hope that all rooftops in Ho Chi Minh City would one day be covered with the green color of veggie gardens similar to his.