Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Green Pledge!

Each year we celebrate the Earth Day, why not this year we make a resolution with expansive consciousness and productiveness. Let's pledge to be green!
Working in harmony with nature is the most natural thing to do. Being green can be beneficial for you and for the wildlife. It might seem a bit complicated initially but with knowledge you will learn, nothing is simpler than being natural! And just imagine you will contribute to save the entire eco system while enjoying the gardening pleasure!
So let us make a Green Resolution!
From this day onwards…
* I am a Green Gardener! and I will...
* maintain and beautify my organic garden.
* accept a level of imperfection in my garden
* reuse kitchen waste and plant foliage to make my own compost.
* try not use synthetic fertilizers and will make my own natural fertilizers.
* make my garden a heaven for the wildlife.
* encourage natural pest control
* take advantage of companion planting.
* love and preserve nature!

To practice our pledge, a group of my students belonging to grade 1, 4, 5 and 8 worked on a small recycling project. Since I teach them gardening, we made a plan to collect all the trash we can from around the campus and to make a little garden out of it. Students were divided into groups and assigned different tasks. A group went to the canteen to collect empty cartons; some went to look for empty plastic bottles, wrappers, tin cans and plastic bags. Few selected herbs, vegetables and flowers that they planted earlier.

It got extremely fun when students ran here and there excitedly with all wonderful ideas. They just wanted to use anything and everything they saw. It made me feel good because that’s what I wanted; to open up their eyes to all the possible ways they can make a difference.
I would encourage everyone to see this slide show to learn what we did and to get inspired by these young people. If they can do it so easily… why not all of us?!

Appreciate nature- Be a Part of it!
Happy Earth Day !
-Zahra Ali Syed
Project Details:
School: Dawood Public School, Karachi, Pakistan.
Teacher: Zahra Ali Syed
Subject: Gardening
Topic : The Green Pledge!
Aim: To encourage students to make a garden out of recycled material.
Students participated:
1. Rahat Bashir [ Grade 1 ]2. Fatima Shabir [ Grade 4 ]3. Maidah Sohail [ Grade 5 ]4. Maidah Nadem [ Grade 5 ] 5. Zainab Zehra [ Grade 5 ]6. Ayesha Rizwan [ Grade 5 ]7. Shumaila Amjad[ Grade 8 ]

Friday, 16 April 2010

Rainbow in a Box

Yesterdays harvest!
( brinjal, tomato roma, tomato cherry, basil and mint)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Eggplant, Aubergine or Brinjal

“How can people say they don't eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name?... I don't understand." - Jeff Smith
Its may be because of the unique color of the eggplant that depicts royalty and color of Gods of ancient cultures that made Jeff Smith say, “ ..God loves the color”. And it’s not surprising why the color is a symbol of royalty as it’s the most exclusive and rarest color present in nature. The name “eggplants” comes from white eggplants that look like eggs of a goose or a hen. On the other hand eggplant color is actually the dark purple color of European eggplant vegetable. Chinese Eggplants are violet in color. In Thailand and India green and yellow verities are also cultivated. In some areas of India even orange colored eggplants are grown. Eggplants also come in bi colors. This amazing vegetable varies from white to dark purple in color; all other colors are rare and are cultivated in few regions around the world. Eggplant has a history as rich as its color. It’s been an important ingredient of Arabic, Greek, Roman, African and Asian cuisines. Americans, Australians and Canadians called it Eggplant. It is called Aburigine by the British who adopted the name from French. Indians, Persians and South Africans named it Brinjal. Eggplants have fascinating history of how the name evolved and was adopted by different regions and languages. No matter what you call it; it enjoys the distinctive characteristics among all other vegetables.

It not only varies in name and color and also in shape and size. Egg-shaped, oval, elongated, rounded, bell-shaped, baby fingers, drop, snake shaped, spiral are few of its variations. Fruit can be as small as a grape and as long as 16 inches. In some regions eggplants weighing as much as 2 pounds are also grown.

Growing Eggplants is a rewarding practice. This vegetable loves hot temperatures and is excellent choice for our region. Seeds are planted ½ inch deep and soil is kept moist. It is better to grow it as seedlings and latter transplant it once true leaves emerge. Distance between plants should be 16 inches and row spacing should be 24 inches. Eggplants are as easy to grow as tomatoes and peppers in pots as well. For growing them in container a terracotta pot of 12 inches or bigger is ideal.

Besides being an excellent source of dietary fibers, vitamin B1, B6, potassium, magnesium and folic acid, this vegetable is packed with nutrients that help in reducing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hypertension and aids in controlling diabetes. It is also interesting to note that an eggplant contains as much nicotine as a cigarette!

With countless health benefits, diversity of colors, rage of shapes and sizes, and a fascinating history, eggplants are definitely now one of my favorite crops!

We planted eggplants at our vegetable patch in our school ( Dawood Public School) to experiment growing it. It been a huge success and next year our students will definitely be growing these.

You can easily grow eggplants and taste what all these people have been enjoying since ages. Trust me; you are going to love it when those purple flowers will turn into stunning, shinny dark purple vegetables.

Happy Gardening!

- Zahra

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Today's Harvest

Scorching sun couldn't keep us away from going to our vegetable plot today. It was exciting to see our tomatoes ready to be picked !
We planted three kinds of tomatoes this time; Cherry, Roma and Tomato Giant. Here are some photos from today's harvest. I have posted earlier how to plant tomatoes... will share my experience of growing them this year soon.

Meanwhile, share your experience of growing tomatoes.
Happy Gardening!

further reading

crops in pots