My green thumb finally!

August 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm 26 comments

I can now finally claim that I too have a green thumb (may be light green at least). After several seasons of failed attempts, this year, thanks to the steadfast encouragement of my friend Fa, and the constant taunting of my husband, I have managed to keep all my plants alive and also enjoy some of the harvest.

My mother used to have a kitchen garden when I was in my teens. At that time, I would grudgingly water the garden if my mother kept nagging me to. I did enjoy food cooked with fresh vegetables, the smell of jadhimalli as it was strung every evening, but really I was more an onlooker there than anything else.

During my first summer in the US, I was awed by how the lawns were so well-maintained, and how every community made sure their landscape was colorful as soon as the weather got warmer. So, to be a part of it, I thought, the easiest way was to buy one of those ready-to-hang and enjoy flower pots. Much against the wishes of my husband, who doesn’t think much of my sense of responsibility towards such things as gardening, I went ahead and quietly bought a hanging flower pot, watering can and all. I made sure I watered it the first week or so, and then the interest of a new hobby had already worn out, and I no longer felt responsible for keeping the poor thing alive let alone flowering. My father in law who was with us at the time, would show some pity on it and gave it a shot at living. However, once he left, the poor thing died a very sorry death. Winter came by soon, and everyone forgot about it (or so I thought).

Few months later, I found a nice glass jar at a garage sale. I thought it would make a good jar to grow a money plant in. Fa promptly brings me a cutting to grow in my glass jar. So I fill it up with water, throw the money plant in, and since it has it’s water and sunlight, I have nothing further to do, but ignore it till well past it’s death when water has dried out for a few months, and it has become all withered and brown, even though I walk past it like ‘hazaar’ times a day.

Now everyone who knows me takes serious note of it. My husbands goes – “How can you kill a MONEY plant? All it needs is water and sunlight!”. Fa decided she would not let me do this. So she gives me a lucky bamboo plant. Now I don’t think it was really lucky, because I was made responsible for it and sure enought that died out of neglect too.

So, after all this, I decided may be gardening was not my thing. So last summer, I quietly let the summer go past, just admired Fa’s garden, enjoyed some of her produce etc. This year I was tempted again, but I was too scared to utter a word about it, for I knew that I would hear a earful about all the poor plants that I had killed. But as luck would have it, my brother in law and his newly married wife decided to do some serious gardening and it became one of their couple things (you know the kind of stuff newly married people do when they are newly married). So we were constantly hearing about their planting, watering, re-planting, etc etc. One fine day, Fa said she had some samplings of green chilli plants that were going waste, that I should try to grow. So, you see I was left with no choice but to give it a try. I had my husband replant it into bigger pots – I even ‘maska marrofied’ him saying may be if he does it, it will live. Now that got him a bit more interested, he went out and bought more pots and more seeds and more soil. Fa added two half grown plants (tomato and green peppers), that I was supposed to keep alive. And before we knew it, we already had about 4 or 5 pots with vegetables growing.

So, yesterday I harvested the first ever batch of plants that successfully lived under my care. Phew! it’s easier to feed my daughter than to keep these alive, I have to say.

It was most satisfying to pluck them off the plant and cook them and eat them – even though they were just a few green chillies and one tomato. I can imagine how farmers must feel to start off sowing rice seeds and then harvesting them and eating them the whole year through – must be more satisfying than picking polished wax coated veggies from the super market and ringing them at the cash register.

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26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laksh  |  August 17, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Yayy!! Looking nice. I totally understand what you say. Here’s to many more bountiful summers.

    Rekha: Thank you!! I am just happy that I turned from a tyrannical plant killer to green thumber.

    Reply
  • 2. rads  |  August 17, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Good for you! :)

    My husband’s nicked me “his favorite plant nazi” .. Go Figure.

    Rekha: lol @ your husband’s nickname. :D

    Reply
  • 3. maami  |  August 17, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    My god, those capsicums ( green peppers-a?) are looking just ready to be plucked.
    Great going gardener!

    Rekha: Haven’t plucked them yet – wondering if they will grow bigger. Also not yet sure what I could make with capsciums so as to not completely lose the taste in ginger-garlic, onion and tomato.

    Reply
  • 4. Pradeep  |  August 17, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    wow… I love capsicum! (and I hate calling it green pepper :x )
    kalakkungo!!

    Rekha: You wouldn’t believe it if I told you I actually typed capscicum then backspaced and changed it to green peppers.

    Reply
  • 5. Girish  |  August 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    First time here….Loved all ur posts so far..especially ‘Desi consultants’ one..

    BTW I got to know for the first time that capsicum is actually called ‘Green Pepper’ too..

    Looking for more..

    Rekha: Welcome here.

    Reply
  • 6. A-kay  |  August 17, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    From these pictures you don’t look like a plant-killer at all – way to go!

    Rekha: Oh thank you… you’re too nice!

    Reply
  • 7. padmajav  |  August 18, 2008 at 1:42 am

    I know the feeling… Last year I’d planted some okra & green chillies. Vendakka kari has never been so tasty! But I gave up after that!! Ever so often, I have big dreams of an organic vegetable garden… I know I’ll never get around to it!

    Rekha: Oh nothing more refreshing than breaking the tip of a fresh vendakkai. I thought gardening in India would be easier with gardeners and all, but I guess now with everyone living in apartments, that’s a long shot.

    Reply
  • 8. Zanychild  |  August 18, 2008 at 2:56 am

    U have GREEN GREEN fingers :)

    Rekha: Ooh.. Thank you.

    Reply
  • 9. maxdavinci  |  August 18, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Yor last line reminds me that I should do a post on waxed apples! Orey green peppers anol! super.. i don’t have the patience for garden anol, bu then thats more of a married ppl thingy!

    Rekha: Ya ya.. I was thinking of you when I typed that line about gardening being a couples thing. May be one more non-adventurous thing you could do with your wife.

    Reply
  • 10. Nandini  |  August 18, 2008 at 7:40 am

    LOL I know what you mean by newly married couple do some things together :D We have a cooking blog. He cooks, I blog ;)

    The garden looks fun! I’d love to do that too. Just no space :(

    Rekha: Nice…. Cooking can be a lot of fun when done together. Of course not having to do it, but writing about it can be less stressful. Good for you! :D

    Reply
  • 11. Adithya  |  August 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Nice. I know what eating fresh is like, having recently improved from frozen to fresh stuff.

    Rekha: Ya.. big promotion I say!

    Reply
  • 12. maami  |  August 18, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Boil potatoes (2) and mash them tender, add ginger paste in oil ( olive the better) and add a spot of tomato puree and the mashed potatoes, add turmeric, cumin powder and salt and a spoon of sugar and kothamali ( ah cilantro for you umrikans)and make it into a gooey curry.

    take three capsicums ( pluck em off your garden) wash and run a brush of oil ( olive, gingelly whatever) over them like you do over a mottai mandai and let them sit on open fire on your stove or use the barbecue in the oven until they look black and bruised. Cool them, rub your fingers over them and slacken all the black off them ( don’t alambufy, konjam karuppu irundaal onum agaadu), slice the top of the capscium and deseed it and stuff this urulai thingie into it. roast it for a minute one last time and you can have it with rotis, rice and dal.

    Rekha: Ayyo maami, kalakkitel pongo! So you not only write well, you cook well too?

    Reply
  • 13. maxdavinci  |  August 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    @ maami: tried it! added some mashed chick peas and instead cooked the stufed capsicum in an open dish wid very lil water…

    Rekha: Good Good. By the time I harvest my capscicums everyone who has experimented and made modifications will give me a final recipe that might end up tasting either way better or way worse than what it started off being.

    Reply
  • 14. Pradeep  |  August 18, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    @ Maami,
    recipe pramaadham..oru 3 hours ku munnadi naan idhai padichirundha, dinner ku try panniyiruppen. Seri, adhellam irukkattum.. eppo enge ellarayum dinner ku koopida porel? ;-)

    PS: innikku engaathula baingan masala and bhindi fry…slurp!! :P

    Rekha: Your wife should be ‘kuduthu vechified’

    Reply
  • 15. Idling in Top Gear  |  August 18, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Ok, this will seem pretentious, but I’ll say it anyway. I honestly believe that organic veggies taste better. For a few years in my late teens, my mom had a mini garden that grew tomatoes. They were the best tomatoes I’ve eaten ever.

    Rekha: Ok. Got to agree with that. I’ve not eaten as much organic stuff, but I feel veggies in India have a lot more flavor than the plumper, more colorful varieties available in these markets, esp Brinjal, murungakka etc

    Reply
  • 16. maami  |  August 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Rekha/P, M:I’m an indifferent cook. But I can give better company! So if you are all wiling to bear with my bland cooking, please please come by!

    Rekha: Maami… Thank you for your kind invitation. I hope I have opportunity to take up your offer.

    Reply
  • 17. sangu  |  August 19, 2008 at 3:54 am

    actually growing plants like tomatoes and chillies is the easiest. i have done it using seeds i took from a tomato and chilli. and for watering, u could just fit pipes and vessels so that u have a basic drip irrigation system. all you need to do to water the plants is just turn on the tap. or you could look for commercially available watering systems.

    Rekha: The problem is in this country, you have such a short growing span, that you need to start really early if you start with the seeds. Next season, I might do just that.

    Reply
  • 18. Me  |  August 19, 2008 at 9:27 am

    wow ….i have never grown vegetables…me orey inspired now to grow something…will give it a try next summer…

    Rekha: oh good good. Since you havent yet started, I should recommend Bajji molagai (Banana peppers). Fresh plucked molagais turned in bajjis are slurp slurp.. hmmm…

    Reply
  • 19. Me  |  August 19, 2008 at 10:00 am

    it is raining today…and you reminded me of molaga bajjis…nanna irungo maami..

    Rekha: Ayayo.. Sorry pa!

    Reply
  • 20. Pradeep  |  August 19, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Rekha: Your wife should be ‘kuduthu vechified’

    Ha ha..appadiye indha matter a parappi vittel na, marriage market la ennoda prospects improve aagum… :D

    Rekha: haha.. It’s on the world wide web – ithukku maela parappanuma?

    Reply
  • 21. Raj  |  August 21, 2008 at 2:37 am

    Always nice to cook/eat from our own garden.. athan sugame/suvaye thani… Just last week we harvested vendhaya keerai (methi) and it was lovely seeing it grow and ofcourse eat. If you dont know, all you need to do is soak handful of vendhayam for an hour or so and thoovufy in the pot.. Daily watering and some sunlight would suffice….3 or 4 days.. ur keerai is ready…

    Rekha: Ohh.. Mendhaya keerai sounds interesting. If it takes only 3 or 4 days, it’s definitely worth a try. I will do it once I’ve exhausted the store-bought batch I have in the fridge.

    Reply
  • 22. Raj  |  August 21, 2008 at 2:41 am

    @maami : unga receipea ennoda athukariku forward panninen.. fav. response vandhadhu. i may get to eat it as early as this weekend i guess. Thx :)

    Rekha: Pradeep ku publicity kadachidho illayo, capscicum ku nariya kadachirku :D

    Reply
  • 23. Pradeep  |  August 21, 2008 at 9:31 am

    @Rekha:
    Capsicum oda serndhu naanum manandha nalla irukkum. :D

    Rekha: Hehe..

    Reply
  • 24. Jagadalapradhapan  |  August 21, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Gardening looks like a boring chore. I would never take that up even after marriage. Why would any couple do gardening is a mystery to me!!

    Rekha: Well, you’d have to get married to know the answer to that I guess ;-)

    Reply
  • 25. Zanychild  |  August 22, 2008 at 11:30 am

    hey if u get tim it wud be lovely if u cud visit my blog :)

    Rekha: Nice blog! Keep going!

    Reply
  • 26. Zanychild  |  August 24, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Thnks!

    Reply

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