Alhamdulillah, we began our first garden last year: tomatoes, celery, basil, bell peppers, and one cucumber made up our crop. The tomatoes were the first to sprout, and Wallahi, I can attest to the truth of what gardeners say: “There is NO comparison between your own homegrown produce and store bought vegetables.” When I bit into it, it was like tasting tomato for the first time. It had no resemblance to the watered down, bland mush that I had come to know as ‘tomato.’ It was flavorful, rich, sweet and juicy, like the fruit they are meant to be. Mash’Allah.I thought, ‘This, right here, is what a tomato is supposed to taste like.’ If you’d witnessed my children and nieces scampering to savor just a small piece of each little tomato that we plucked off the vine, you’d laugh out loud. I then fully realized, I–all of us–have been denied eating real food all of our lives. As time goes on, and our efforts continue, we are truly enjoying our new found (shoulda never been lost) gardening skills.Recently, Allah gave me the idea to initiate a ’Garden Challenge’ in order to encourage others to discover, again or for the first time, growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs. After all, just 3 generations ago, everyone had to know how to garden in order to eat! Now, gardening has become a mere novelty or hobby. I hope, Insha’Allah, in the near future, more folks will reclaim this forgotten skill for the sake of their health, wealth and well being. In fact, given the uncertain state of the economy and food supply it’s already happening.
So, are you ready to take the first annual 2012 Gardening Challenge?The first step is to figure out where your garden will be: front yard? back yard? window sill? Make sure there is plenty of sunlight. Secondly, research the plants you want to grow and what’s needed to make it happen. Buy or borrow your supplies and get busy. Don’t expect perfection, it’s a learn as you go kind of activity with plenty of delightful rewards along the way. The internet has so much information about beginning gardening—youtube has tutorials. Consider buying organic seeds or starters. Find out where you neighborhood gardeners are and ask questions. Where is your neighborhood nursery (not Home Depot!)? Solicit advice from them—take classes they may offer, or not. Truly, gardening is a lot more simple than it seems.Remember to document your experience. Take pictures, write, and/or have your children draw pictures. And lastly, share it with us!
Please email your resources, drawings, pictures, videos and writings about your experience to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post all submissions on my blog once a month. Spread the word!
Ok, who’s in?