Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for watering-can

I'm always looking out for fun activities to do with Xena at home, and I thought it would be fun to show her how seeds germinate. It started out simply enough. I soaked some dried beans overnight and put them in a flower vase lined with wet cotton. To both Xena's and my amazement, they germinated at once and grew very rapidly.

Our bean seedlings on day 3

I figured that I simply had no option but to take the activity one step further and actually plant the seedlings in soil. I bought two pots and some soil. The shop had two varieties of soil -- potting mix and burnt soil. The latter sounded dubious but I bought it anyway because of an important consideration -- it had the word 'soil' in it. (Yeah, that's how knowledgeable and talented I am at gardening-related matters.)

As some of you might know, my dad is the incredible hulk. Meaning, he has the greenest fingers I've ever seen in anyone. Once he picked up a coconut washed ashore the beach here, took it back to India, planted it in his backyard and watered it every day for 10 months without losing hope or patience. 10 months. And then, it germinated. Wow. He has a rapidly-expanding organic kitchen garden, which is as big as the house they live in, and my mom actually suspects that it's inching into the inside of their house now. He grows every possible thing you can think of -- pumpkins, cherries, lady's finger, brinjals, tomatoes, coconuts, chillies and 43534875034875 varieties of flowers. The yield of the fruits and vegetables is much more than what they can consume so he distributes them regularly to neighbours and the helper. (I reckon he's not very popular with the vegetable sellers in the neighbourhood.)

And the garden is the reason he refuses to come visit me. He says no one will water his plants in his absence and they will all die. So I asked him to come during the monsoon season when the plants will be naturally watered. He said it might not rain and then they will all die. I try real hard to empathise. But I really can't.

The greenery of his fingers was inherited neither by my sister nor me. In fact, if anything, I'm the kind who can kill a cactus -- known to be one of the hardiest plants of all. So it was with trembling fingers that I transferred the bean seedlings to the soil. Xena watched with utmost interest. I told her how she had to water it every day and it would grow big and strong. (On hindsight, I hope it doesn't give her the impression that just like the plants, she too would grow big and strong just on water.) Every day, we water the plants using her plastic toy watering-can and observe the leaves, which have now become quite big. The other day, I even showed the plant to my Dad on Skype. He praised me to the skies. Not. He said that the plants looked abnormally tall and needed more sunlight. Okay okay. So now they have more sunlight and are looking well. I think.

Our bean plants

Looking at Xena's interest, I've tried to expand our 'garden'. We don't have a big house or a backyard or a balcony, so my pots are small and placed on a ledge in the yard where they get enough sunlight. We've also planted some chilli seeds, and are planning to move on to tomatoes too.

Maybe, just like Dr. Doolittle's daughter, I'll suddenly discover that I have inherited his green talent. Maybe some day, dad would be really curious to see what I've done and make that visit. Or maybe I'll fail miserably and he will come over to help 'fix' things.

And some day, when Xena's doctors give the okay, I'll take her to India and she can see her grandpa's grand garden for herself. She might come back with a master's degree in gardening.

Who knows, maybe green fingers skip a generation.


Arun said...

W is for week, as in you made mine! Quite a week of blogging. :)
You're a generous person, so my guess is you probably over-watered your cactus and that killed it. Cactus isn't the toughest plant out there; if you can kill a dandelion, my hats off to you :)
Find and grow an exotic flower species or two - I guarantee your father will visit :) :) :) Such is the pull of the garden. A proper initiation of his granddaughter to gardening - surely one of the manifold ceremonies can be adapted into that - might be another incentive :) :) :)
For shady nooks, there are good houseplants that don't need much sun. Calladiums, African violets.
Another lure, this in August:

Hmm, this says late July dates:

But once in two years only, so it has got to be this year!
All the best, Sayesha, and thanks for your blog!

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

rofl.. Hey you've never posted pics of that ever expanding garden, have you already?! (hmmm where is that india trip post of yours from yrs before..)

Thisisme said...

Lovely! I can safely say u have inherited lil bit of green fingers for sure!! Look at me, mere toh seeds bhi germinate nahi note!! I have tried so many things n so much..but nothing happens! Ur much better at this!!

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