Sunday, 31 October 2010

Grow your own food the ancient way



There are always some valuable lessons to learn form the past. The ancient way of farming is one of those. When I say ancient way of farming, I simply mean “Organic Farming”.

Organic farming is practicing environmental friendly ways of growing crops. It is learning how everything present is nature is interlinked and how it compliments and serves each other.  In short, it is experiencing the divine ways of how nature works around us while being a part of it. 

Why grow organic food?        Many gardeners appreciate organic gardening as it is free from man-made chemicals used in form of fertilizers and pesticides in the fields which can cause an imbalance in ecological system.   

Organic gardening is not only beneficial for you and the wild life but also the organically-grown crops are healthier, tastier and guarantee freshness.


Five ways to get started

Take your farming practices back to the basics by following these 5 simple steps.

1.    Give it back to the Earth
Start off by making your own compost. Fruit and vegetable peelings, eggshells, teabags, shredded paper, pruning and even fallen leafs can turn into a rich compost that will improve your soil quality. Make a compost bin in which you can collect a balanced mixture of organic waste and let it decay.
2.   Welcome Wildlife in your garden
Pesticides sprays done on crops that we eat, not only devastate our health and environment, but they also kill beneficial insects that are less tolerant to these deadly chemicals.

These friendly bugs are nature's way of pest control. Attracting beneficial insects and wildlife to your garden will control many pests for you such as snails, slugs and greenflies. These friendly bugs are very sensitive and less tolerant to pesticide sprays.

3. Encourage Companion plantation

Crops with strong fragrance are grown along side to avoid pest growth such as carrots and leeks are advised to be planted together because they drive each other's pests away.
 Dill attracts aphid eating hoverflies. Strong scented flowers not only attract bees and other beneficial insects but also discourage pest attacks on your crops. Garlic plants keep away aphids. Planting marigolds with tomatoes also ward off aphids.

4.    Practice Crop rotation
Grow crops on alternate plots each year to avoid disease built-up in soil. Take care of your plants so that they stay healthy and pest free.

5.    Adopt Natural Weed Control
Hoe your plot to get rid of the weeds before they could disperse their seeds. A layer of mulch can also prevent weeds from taking over your vegetable patch.

Adopt some if not all of the practices of organic farming and play your part in preserving nature.

Happy Gardening





( published in t2extra pages: ExpressTribune on 31st Oct,2010)


Thursday, 28 October 2010

A night out...with plants



Lime in the moon light.

It was a very pleasant night with beautiful moonlight glittering on my terrace when I decided to do all the garden jobs that had been pending for a week.
Transplanting vegetable seedlings
The seeds that I had sown earlier were ready to be transplanted. During the week, I had bought large containers and filled them with a good mixture of soil and manure for my vegetable plants. I spent some time marking the pots and transplanting the tomato and bell-pepper plants into the large pots. It had to be done quickly and correctly.
Pumpkin seedling being transplanted.
Seedlings must have moist soil  and two sets of true leaves prior to transplantation. The roots are pushed up gently by a stick while you hold the top of the plant in your hands. The roots of the seedlings should not be exposed to air for long. They are to be quickly planted in the bigger pots or the plot. Then they should be watered with a soft shower. Transplantation is done in the evening when its cool.
Getting in touch with plants
Next, I wanted to know how my plants were doing. The lime tree is producing lots of juicy limes, the orchids are blooming, the chiko has some new flowers and bright green leaves, Allamanda looks stunning even in the night, and the grafted cactus has two beautiful flowers. Flower seeds need transplantation as well, the pumpkin plants are about to bloom, Bonsai needs some attention, button roses survived trimming,  potatoes and garlic look happy too but china rose has had an aphid attack.
Appreciating the night
When I was done with a round of the garden, I sat down, looked around at the plants and thought about how much they had grown. It felt good to see the seeds that I had sown were growing, trees that I planted were fruiting, and all together the garden created a beautiful blend of shades of green and contrast of colours. Thank you, God!
I looked up in the sky and got lost in the brilliance of the moon that shone right above my terrace and the bright star that shined beside it.


Published on Express Tribune Blogs on 28th Oct, 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

One morning in my garden

Exotic yellow flowers that makes the day even brighter.

No matter how small is the flower, it can make you stop and appreciate its beauty.

Sun rises behind this beautiful Allamanda vine making the flowers even more beautiful.

Another Allamanda that makes me smile. Its right next to the door.


They are caged but at least they are a part of my garden. Their chirping creates a wild ambiance.

It does nothing. Usually people think its a stuffed bird.

I planted the a very thick cutting of the scared fig tree for bonsai making. It has sprouted!!

All the seeds of the flowers that I planted few days back have sprouted.

Friday, 15 October 2010

United Against Hunger

Poster for World Food Day 2010 by FAO of UNO

One billion people are hungry and I am so angry! Next time you are having your favorite meal at a restaurant, remember that 1 billion people around the world are facing chronic hunger. When we eat more than we need, we are making someone, somewhere starve.

The plate is half empty

It is extremely heart rending to know that more than 18 million out of 1 billion figure belong to our own country. Half of our country’s population is facing food insecurity. Can we even imagine how that feels?
I felt sorry for such people before, but the recent flood has bought who live below the poverty line closer to us. It makes my heart ache to learn what life is like for people who do not know when they will get their next meal.

The eating day
Sadly, a large percentage of people suffering from poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition are living near us in the cities. There are families in Karachi who have days fixed for their meals. Each day one member eats and all the others wait for their turn.
We all know it is the responsibility of the government to end hunger, but I think that we, as a nation are more powerful. It’s time we take charge and be the change that our country needs.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations) is observing World Food Day . The purpose of which is to shake up politicians around the globe to end the food crisis. But we are not going to wait for the government to take action.

What can we do
Lets sign the petition and make a resolution today that we will act to end hunger. How do we do that?
Here are some ideas.
  • Adopt an area and encourage community farming by provide the residents with gardening tools, seeds and basic knowledge.
  • Plant a fruit tree for the poor
  • Present some vegetable plants to such families
  • If you have your own restaurant, why not have a share for the poor?
  • There are some NGOs working to provide free meals to the poor. Help them.
  • If you are growing crops on a large scale, share your crops with needy families.
Do whatever you can in your own capacity. But act to end food crisis.


( published :Express Tribune blogs- 16th Oct, 2010)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The best present a gardener can get


A present from www.muslimgrower.com :)
The best present  a gardener can get is a packet of seeds of his(or  her) favorite flowers or crops.

I recived my large parcel packed with an amazing selection of seeds by Rizwan of Muslimgrower.com day before yesterday. It contains some herbs, flowers and vegetable seeds. All that I love! 

The most special pack among those is the seed pack of dwraf sweet peas because these are the seeds from Rizwan' garden in Luton. 

Seeds of sweet peas from Rizwan' garden in Luton.

This morning I decided to sow some flowers that Rizwan sent me and some that I bought for my garden. I started off by filling my 5 inch pots with soil and making tags for the flowers I wanted to grow. Flowers that I planted are Nasturtium, Pansies( mix), Hollyhock( rosea), Stock, Sweet Peas(dwarfs) and Night scented flowers.


Used sieved compost to cover the seeds.

I used sieved compost to cover my seeds lightly. placed the tags, watered with a soft shower and placed them in sun. Soon my seedlings will appear and soon after that, my garden will be filled with winter colors.


Pots must have tags!



Welcome winters by sowing some winter flower.

Happy Gardening!

-Zahra

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Shari on a Dessert Pine Bonsai



Dessert Pine ( Before)
Dessert Pine Bonsai ( after)
I spent this afternoon trying to make my first shari on a bonsai. We have bonsai making classes on every Saturday at Com. Khalid Sohail's ( V.P Bonsai Society of Pakistan) place here in Karachi but somehow I have not been able to post about any one of them yet. Here are the photos of the plant before and after I was done with it. Almost chopped off my thumb in the process.

-Zahra

( ps. just noticed that I need to cut extra wires. bad pic.too much shari. i am learning!)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How, where and when to plant seeds



Once you have decided which crops and flowers you want in your garden this fall get ready to plant some seeds for winter garden.

When to sow seeds?
For winter harvest sows your seeds as soon as fall begins. For people living in Karachi and Lahore, last week of September and beginning of October is ideal. Read your seed packs to find out more about the temperatures required for germination of seeds. Most of the vegetables will be ready to be harvested in 60-80 days.

Where to sow seeds?
You have three options here. Select according to your skill level and plant requirement.

1. Direct Sow: Some plants do not like to be transplanted. Sow the vegetables/herbs and flowers directly where   you plan them to grow.

2. Seed trays: You can start seedlings in seed trays. Plant seeds in individual cells. Latter on you will need to transplant them to bigger container or to the plot.

3.  Large containers: It is an alternate of seed trays.

How to sow seeds?
1. Read your seed pack and find out the depth the seed need to be sown.
2. Take a seed tray and cover the drainage holes with a piece of news paper.
3. Fill each cell with a good mixture of soil (70%) and manure/compost (30%).
4. Put the seed on the surface.
5. Cover with sieved manure lightly. ( * most of the vegetables and herbs will be covered ¼ of and inch deep)
6.  Water with a soft shower and put it in sun.
7. Do not forget to put tags!

I have used 3 inched seed tray and used wooden sticks as tags. I sowed my seeds on 17thSeptember, 2010. Most of the seedling emerged by the next week. It is time to transplant some of them.  Which seeds are you sowing this time?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Can a morning get any better?

02.10.2010

Saturday mornings cannot get any better than this. As usual I was up early for my bonsai class. Stopped at a plant nursery at Karsaz where these stunningly vibrant marigolds were blooming. This is a first sign of winters:)

  

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Gardener's World


Imagine waking up each morning and walking into your garden with chirping birds, fluttering butterflies, buzzing bees, dancing leaves, a soothing breeze and a refreshing aroma of moist grass!


While planning your garden keep in mind that a perfect garden is not only pleasing for you but it’s also a haven for wildlife. Try to include vibrant and fragrant flowers that attract butterflies, bees and the blue birds. Bird houses and bird feeders can also be a unique addition to your garden.


One of the most important things is the time you can devote to gardening and the space you have.


However, some things will have to be left out but with time you will learn to make the most of even small spaces. For small spaces such as a terrace, balcony and window sill, container gardening is an ideal choice since most of us don’t have large areas to grow plants. Most plants will do well in containers and almost all crops love to be grown in pots.


Terracotta pots are better than cemented and glazed ones. However, you might have to change the size of containers as your plants grow. Where you place your plants is the key to success. Most plants will need full sun, which means eight hours of direct sunlight.


There must be a pleasant blend of all kinds of plants in one garden. One can include tropical plants which require indirect light. If you do not have any open spaces at all, you can still include indoor plants, which can survive on the light coming in from the window.


Plants that need full sun under a tree or near hedges is not a good idea as it will compete for food and water with your plants and will also block its sunlight. Well-rotted manure, compost and leaf mould is what mainly provides food to your plants. Each plant has its own food requirement and need altered ratios of soil and compost. You can buy this in bulk as you will need it after every few weeks to fertilise your plants.


For strong and healthy plants constant water supply is necessary. Water is the medium through which the nutrients from the soil are released that the roots use to provide food to the plant. Irregular watering cycle will disturb the growth of plant and eventually it will die. Over watering is as dangerous. The aim should be to keep the soil moist. If you remember these basics, you will soon be walking into a beautiful garden. Feeling confident? Get few plants and sow some seeds to start your own garden.


Happy Gardening!




Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2010.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

My First Love: Potatoes



Seed potato sprouts
It usually takes two to three weeks for the potatoes to sprout. Once you see the green shoots prepare your plot, container or a bag for planting potatoes. 


Potatoes ready to be covered with sand
I have selected a large blue tub. It has enough space for planting 5-7 potatoes. Here are three simple steps how you can plant your potatoes.

  1. Fill your container 2/4 with a good mixture of sand and manure. (60:40 works for me).
  2. Place potatoes at 6-7 inch  distance from each other.
  3. Cover with sand. Make sure the leafs are visible.


Simply water it softly and put it in shade. Now your work doesn't end here.

Each week you will have to add an inch of sand or as needed. The idea is to keep adding sand as the plant grows.

potatoes can be grown in bags and empty sacks
If you are using strong plastic bags or sacks, you will need to roll them down to 2/4 of the size. Make drainage holes and follow the same steps. As the plant will grow you will roll up the bag as much as needed and add more sand.

You will need to do this for next few weeks until the plant turns yellow and then dies. No need to worry , you dint do anything wrong. Its time for harvest!

Trust me, you will fall in love with the potato again when you will unearth this incredible vegetable that you have planted your self.   


Saturday, 18 September 2010

A vegetable paradise in the middle of winter

Map out your winter vegetable garden

Wouldn’t you just love to have a garden that produces fresh, scrumptious vegetables all year long? It is that time of the year when gardeners from colder countries are preparing for the icy winters that will bring a long pause to their gardening activities. But for us it is just the beginning of a very fruitful and colorful winter.


I have been waiting for September to spread the spell of fertility into my garden. As it is finally here I better get my plan for a rooftop vegetable farm ready.

It is essential to have a good plan for a successful vegetable garden. Each vegetable will have different requirements. Here are some basics that I kept in mind before I made my plan. You can do the same.

Find your zone

Each city has a different growing zone that is calculated by the lowest winter temperatures it get. For example in zone three, the lowest winter temperature ranges between minus 30 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit and in zone 10 it ranges between 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a good idea to calculate what the range in you area is before you begin to select seeds.

Crop timings

There are mainly two seasons to grow crops; summer and winter. You will have a wide range of vegetables to chose from in both cool-season and warm season crops. Most of the time imported seed packs will say that that the plant needs to be grown in summers but you need to be wise here. Notice the minimum temperature it says is needed for the seed to germinate. You will learn that this is your winter temperature!

Know your seed
Once you know which vegetables you want to grow, you need understand the difference between the seeds:

Heirlooms: These vegetables have been been grown for at least 50 years. They are known for their color, taste and for being organic. These seeds have been passed down by generations. When you replant the seeds from the same vegetable you will get reap a harvest.

Hybrids: These are the result of the cross breeding that is mainly done to produce a pest resistant harvest which is goodin terms of color and increased flavor. You will need to buy new seed packs each season.

Personally, although I love the way seeds have been engineered to create interesting looking crops but deep inside I don’t feel a connection with hybrids. Somehow I always feel they are not a part of nature as it is. Still, I always end up having some hybrids in my garden as well.

Selecting vegetables

Keep in mind the space you have and the amount of sunlight it gets. Most crops need a minimum of 6 hour in direct sun light. Some will need partial sunlight as well. If you are short of space, you can always take your garden to your rooftop like I have done and grow your favorite seasonal vegetables at home!

Map out your garden

You garden must be well designed . Map your garden by placing the taller plants at the back and the shortest in front. It would be even better if you play with the contrasting crops.

 Continous harvest

Wouldn’t you just love to keep your garden producing scrumptious food for you? Keep some space vacant for future plants. In order to guarantee continuous harvest plant seeds every 2 to 3 weeks.

Keep these points in mind when you are ordering your seed packs. Go for a reputable seed store even if you have to pay little extra.

I received my seed packs last month. Since I am expanding my rooftop garden, I have a lot more space so I need more seeds. The seeds I have ordered include three different types of tomatoes (for paste, canning and for salads) baby corn, eggplant, brussels sprouts, courgettes, melon, pumpkin, salad leaf, colored bell peppers, celery, cucumber, bitter gourd, garlic chives, purple ruffled basil, mint, parsley etc

This season I am aiming for a perfect and productive vegetable rooftop garden. Why don’t you grow some crops with me and make your own rooftop garden?

Friday, 10 September 2010

Be nice to bees…or else

This morning I was lucky enough to encounter some bumble bees buzzing around a stunning wild plant.
 
I love the bumblebee's cuddly appearance. These fuzzy bees are usually 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch long and have yellow and black bands on them (although this property changes in some species.)
 
If you ever catch sight of a bumble bee hovering over a flower, feeding on its nectar and collecting pollen as it hovers from one flower to the other take some time to pause and notice the little creature that is quietly keeping this world green.
 
Unlike honey bees, bumble bees are not honey producers but they are social servers upon whom cross-pollination is greatly dependent. Although nature has created more than 200 species of bumble bees, but sadly they are facing a threat of extinction.  Einstein believed that without bumblebees human race can extinct in four years. According to a research conducted in 2007 by the Food and Farming department of UK, the honey bee will be extinct in UK in the next 8 years. Sadly, bumblebees are also facing a similar threat.
 
Farmers around the world have  good reason to be alarmed as do we all. We are interlinked with bumblebees through the complex ecological system . If the bumblebees die, there will be no pollination. If there will be no pollination, there will not be any flower. If there will be no flower, there will be no crops. If there are no flowers and crops, there will be no insects and birds. Without insects dead plants and dead animals will not decay and thus fertile soil will also disappear. Where will we be?
 
We might end up eating grass and hunting fish. Food scarcity will result in even greater challenges. In short, I don't think that floods, aliens or meteors will ring an end to the life on Earth. But I think this tiny creature, the bumble bee can become a reason for human extinction.
The only thing we can do is to take care of this wonderful insect created by God so that in return it takes care of us.

How can we  thank our humble friend?
1. Plant flowers with rich nectar.
2. If you do not have flowers – make your own nectar! Make a water (70%) and sugar(30%) mixture and fill a little container such as bottle cap with it and put it between plants. Bees will appreciate it!
3.  Bees can't resist apple, cherry, plum and pear flowers. They love hollyhocks, geraniums, poppies, roses, laburnum, corn flower, delphinium and sunflowers. Some herbs will also tempt them to visit your garden. Plant sage, rosemary, thyme, chives and lavender.
4. Avoid chemical pesticides.
5. Bumble bees would love to have a home inside a little hole in the a quite corner of the garden.
6. Make your garden bumblebee-friendly by simply planting some flowers!
 
 
 
 
 
Published on  Express Tribune Blogs

Friday, 3 September 2010

Counting raindrops in Thar

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Rainwater slowly trickles down a window at a home in Karachi
When I was penning my thoughts to share with you all, water was pouring down from the clouds in Karachi. Rain drops were splashing on my window and with each drop that dripped I pictured water traveling down the Himalayas, through the streams and rivers, making its way to the ocean, changing into vapours, reaching the skies and then pouring outside my window. The beauty of the water cycle system is bewildering!

When this precious water floods our streets and finds its way to the drains, I feel we could do so much with this it only if we knew how to utilise it. The idea of rainwater harvesting has occupied my mind for some time and prompted me to learn more about it.

One day when I was talking to a friend, who works at a highly respected fertiliser company, he told me that his company has been harvesting rain water in the Thar Desert for slightly more than a year. This made me jump with excitement! I wanted to know all about the project.

Imagine that you live in a desert where it only rains just once in a year, your house does not have any water pipelines or link to canals, your only water source is a well that is three to four kilometres away. Both male and female members of your family need to travel for hours to fetch water. Your children will not go to schools and your principle bread winner will not be able to work because they spend half the day fetching water. The same cycle is repeated everyday through out the year.

It’s hard for me to imagine myself in such a situation. Sadly, the people living in the Thar Desert face this life every day. Wells are their only source of water and the water table is declining by 11 per cent each year. Health problems are increasing since most of the water available was saline.

Fortunately a concerned group with close links to the people of the Thar community contacted Engro Polymer and Chemical Limited (EPCL) – who produce geomembranes that are used to avoid water seepage in ponds and other water bodies.

Water conservation models were built for various villages, houses and schools. It fills my heart with joy to share with all of you that the water collected last year in June from the regular rains, lasted till it rained again this year. People are using rain water through out the year which is accessible within 15 minutes.

A local checking for available water


They are healthier and wealthier as the principle bread winners now have more time to devote to their jobs and have worked to improve their living standards. Children can go to schools. Moreover, local livestock looks well nourished as well. Now that they have water in the desert, they are even trying to grow their own crops.

Isn't it heart warming to know that some people quietly did their work and changed the lives of thousands and are still 
working to help all the estimated 1.2 million people of the Thar desert.

The concept of rainwater harvesting has captivated me. I dream of a Pakistan where rainwater harvesting becomes a common practice. Our agricultural lands, deserts and even the urban centres could learn to use rainwater wisely.

Children transporting water which they need to survive instead of being in school


Monday, 23 August 2010

A Bowl Full of Leeks

Leeks from the market
People say that rainy days are for the gardeners to take a break, but I disagree.

Rainy day is a perfect reason to be out in your garden. Karachi has seen monsoon rains during the past few weeks.one rainy day I decided to plant leeks.

I have had many unsuccessful attempts to grow leeks and onions from seeds. But there are always shortcuts. Here is a simple way to grow your leeks!

1. Buy leeks from the market. The younger bulbs the better.
2. Prepare a container that is wide but not very deep.
3. Chop off most of the leaves. 
4. Plant the heads in the soil.

Let few drizzles fall on the newly planted leeks. Keep it in shade for next few days.
Heads of the Leeks freshly planted.

Growing crops cant get any easy than this. Plant some leeks!

Happy Gardening!

Zahra 

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Down Came the Rain

It rained here yesterday and the plants have enjoyed it the most. Here are some pictures I took after the rain.


Almanda flowers look happy after a morning shower.

Everything about the rain is beautiful..even a single drop collected on a leaf .

I feel every plant has its own way of celebrating rain.

A fallen flower floats in the rain water.


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Lets Chit Some Potatoes Today !


Every one loves potatoes. Why not grow your own this season?

For those who don't know, I have a roof top garden where I also grow crops in pots.Potatoes are my favorite crop that can be grown in bags, bins and large containers. This afternoon I decided to chit some potatoes.

Chitting potatoes simply means to encourage tubers to sprout before planting. The easiest way to grow potatoes is in bags, bins or large containers. Here is how you can start chitting your potatoes:

Selecting potatoes:
You can simply select any potato that you like the best. Its hard to find potato seeds ( which are basically baby potatoes) here in Karachi, so I use the potatoes I get from the grocery store. Make sure the potatoes you select are healthy and do not show any signs of a virus or infection.

Eyes of a Potato:
Yes! A potato has eyes. Notice there are black spots all over a potato. Those are its eyes from where the shots will begin to appear.

Chitting:
Before your potatoes go in a container or a grow bag, you want them to develop shots. For encouraging that, place your potatoes in an empty eggs tray or any empty cardboard box with maximum eyes upwards. Place this tray in a well lit  place but not in direct sunlight.

As soon as you see sprouts emerging, leave only 2-3 on each potato and pinch off any extras.

Last year I selected a sack to grow potatoes. This year I am using a huge plastic tub. It gives me more space and I also like its color!

Lets chit some potatoes together and share our experiences.

To learn how my potatoes are doing in a tub and to know what to do next, stay tuned!

For any problems you face growing your potatoes write to me crops.in.pots@gmail.com

Happy Gardening!


Monday, 2 August 2010

Learning to Grow Paradise From a Seed


Grade 3 at the vegetable patch besides an iceberg lettuce plant.

Vacations are coming to an end and that means another year of productive farming can begin!

Teaching gardening to young people is rewarding on many levels.The best part is that you get paid to practice your hobby.

I can proudly say that I belong to a team that are the pioneers of teaching gardening at the school level. It was the combined effort of Ms Sabrina Dawood and Mr Tofiq Pasha Mooraj to introduce gardening as a subject and to spread the awareness about the environment. For me, it was a dream come true! Dawood Public School took this initiative last year in July, and now we are beginning our second year.

Teaching more than 800 students who belonged to grade 1-8 has taught me many lessons. The most important one is that a love of nature is in every heart – all we need to do is make children realize that there is nothing more human than being close to nature. The other lesson was that a love of nature is contagious!

First grade students get introduced to the pleasures of gardening
When my students started planting crops in their pots, everyone was amazed to see the results and soon, farming fever began to spread. Management, teachers, parents and domestics all fell in love with gardening activities and passionately participated as well. Guests who visited us couldn’t stop themselves from jumping into the vegetable patch! They couldn’t resist touching our dazzling eggplants and tasting our tomatoes. The feeling you get when you see people falling in love with farming and becoming one with nature is divine!

I was lucky that my colleague Mr. Fahim Zuberi took out time to organize gardening activities for my students and together we launched DIGS Dawoodian Inspirational Gardeners' Society which quickly gained popularity across the campus.



I still remember the day I entered the school and saw my students watering their pots before the assembly and later saw them having lunch beside their pots. They did not want their plants to be out of their sight! It filled my heart with an unexplainable joy. At one point other teachers started to hate me because students were always thinking and talking about their plants. They were concerned if they sprouted or not. After each class they wanted to run to the windowsill to see their progress. Eventually, even those teachers got addicted to gardening.

Grade 8 student with her corn plant

Now I am beginning to miss my students and their repeated questions, ” Ma’am, when will my seed sprout?” ” Can I take my plant home for the weekend, please?” ” Ma’am! There is one more leaf in my basil plant!” That is the best reward a teacher can get.

I can already foresee my students making their gardens beautiful and taking care of the environment long after they will leave the school. I am glad they are coming back.

This morning was spent preparing the gardens for them. We weeded a vegetable patch and have arranged their pots. Now we are all ready to welcome our young gardeners !


Published on Express Tribune :http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/868/learning-to-grow-paradise-from-a-seed/

further reading

crops in pots