Above a Bronx Restaurant, a Garden Flourishes

Victor Khan shows off two of his plants growing from his rooftop garden along Putnam Place. Khan’s been growing his plants for about three years. (Photo by Christy Rae Ammons via Norwood News)

At age 15, Victor Khan suffered major injuries in an automobile accident that left him unable to move his hip and caused one leg to be an inch and a half shorter. Today, at 72 years old, he still manages to climb from the fire escape of his Norwood apartment to the roof of the Sing Fei Chinese Restaurant where he tends to a garden that includes tomatoes, gourds, potatoes and hot peppers.

In a story for Norwood News, reporter Christy Rae Ammons profiles the retired nursing attendant and his passion for gardening on a Bronx rooftop.

Khan’s hope is to relocate his miniature farm to the roof of his apartment building by next summer, where his plants will get more sunlight and he will have more space to continue growing fresh vegetables for himself and his neighbors. He first needs permission from the new landlord.

“I’ve lived in this apartment since 2003,” Khan said. “Because of my age I don’t do much, just watch TV. And then one day I thought, you know, since I’m interested in growing vegetables, why don’t I put [some] outside. I went to the old landlord. His name is John. So I said, ‘I want to grow tomatoes.’ He said, ‘where?’ I said the rooftop on the top of your stores [outside my window], and he said ‘Really? So give me some tomatoes,’ and that was it.”

For Khan, a Bronx resident since 1981, this interest stems from his childhood when his family would leave their home city of Peshawar in Pakistan and visit relatives in the farming village of Sahiwal. Go to Norwood News to read more about how Khan developed an interest in farming from the trips. And hear from his neighbor on the importance of managing such a garden “in neighborhoods like this.”

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