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.