Weed-filled back lanes in Gombak turned into thriving vegetable plots

The back lane of Jalan Berlian,Taman Perwira, Gombak, has been turned into a 130m-long community garden. — Photos: GRACE CHEN/The Star

RESIDENTS of a row of single-storey terrace houses at Jalan Berlian in Taman Perwira, Gombak, say they seldom buy vegetables.

This is because they have created a community garden in their back lane.

The idea to transform what was once a messy, weed-infested area, started in March 2020 when residents turned to gardening as a way to relieve stress brought about by the movement control order.

Within five months, the veggie garden had extended from their compounds to the back lanes.

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“We are good friends, so when everyone is gardening in the back lane, we used the time to chat.

“That was how the idea to transform the place into a green retreat came about,” said residents Iqmal Fajri Danial and his wife Aida Haniza Adam.

The first phase saw eight houses agreeing to the plan of a paved walkway, planter boxes and rainwater harvesting systems installed at each house.

Construction began after Selayang Municipal Council gave the green light.

The project also received support from Orang Besar Daerah Gombak Tan Sri Wan Mahmood Pawan Teh, who donated funds to get it off the ground.

Impressed with the initial results, other neighbours joined and to date, 33 households are involved.

This 3m-wide green lane is now 130m long.

“On average, each house chipped in about RM2,000 for construction work,” said Iqmal Fajri.

To abide with existing guide-lines, the residents are careful in their choice of plants which cannot exceed 1m in height, as such trees are not allowed.

The main produce here are oyster mushrooms, cabbage, water convolvulus, spinach, brinjal, okra, bitter gourd and long beans.

There are some 100 species of vegetables and herbs planted along the entire stretch.

“Water convolvulus and spinach take about a month.

“Cabbages take the longest time at four months,” said Iqmal Fajri.

The success of Jalan Berlian has inspired others living in the same housing area.

“Residents from four areas have expressed interest in replicating what we have done.

“Badan Kebajikan Perwira Setia Indah Gombak, a community organisation, has been appointed to look into this,” said Iqmal Fajri.

He hoped that the residents’ efforts towards self-sustenance would see them growing their own carbohydrates such as potatoes and cultivating fish as protein sources in future.

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