Sunday, January 29, 2012

The exploits of an amateur vegetable gardener

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently started doing vegetable gardening. This was a strange thing to do, especially since I have never done gardening before and have always believed that it’s not for me. It’s not that I have a problem getting my hands dirty; I really don’t mind that at all.  It’s just that I am rather impatient in many ways and planting things, and waiting for it to grow; well that takes a lot of patience. Anyway, I figured that planting food was different, since it just seemed much more worthwhile and useful, so I joined my mother and sister and started planting vegetables.

Before I continue I must tell you that this seems like something unnecessary in the City. I mean whenever you need any vegetable all you have to do is go to the supermarket and there you will find rows and rows of vegetables and fruit. Anyway, let’s just say that this was a learning experience.

So I started planting aniseed, I’d read up about the benefits of this plant and thought it would be great to plant. It worked out well. The plant grew, I got some seeds and everything, but it wasn’t one of those everyday things that you need all the time. I was about to abandon my planting at that early stage already, but then something started growing in the sand. At first I thought it was just a weed and I was going to pull it out. Then it grew bigger and bigger. My sister who knows much more about planting vegetables and who has been doing this in her beautiful garden for some time now told me to leave it because it was a tomato tree. I was so amazed, a tomato tree! See I didn’t mean to plant tomatoes, what happened was that we had a tomato that got old and I didn’t want to throw it away so I threw it in the sand thinking that it would at least not be wasted there, and lo and behold, from that one rotten tomato an entire tree grew, with beautiful fresh tomatoes. If this isn’t testimony to the Greatness of Allah then I don’t know what is? SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) from one bad tomato Allah gave us so many more beautiful ripe ones, an entire tree grew from that one tomato. The generosity of Allah Almighty is astounding.

It was so nice to have fresh tomatoes at hand. I have never seen such fresh tomatoes. Then there was the lettuce. My sister gave me lettuce seeds and I wondered where the seeds come from because I’ve only ever seen the leaves of the lettuce. Anyway, I planted it and SubhanAllah fresh lovely lettuce grew so easily. The inside leaves were white and crispy. I had so much fun making salads. Each time all I had to do was go out to the garden and get what I needed. When the lettuce leaves were all used up, the lettuce started growing a stalk, and there on the top of the long stalk, guess what developed- the seeds. So my question about that was answered.

I have planted some other stuff which is taking a while to grow, and then there are some things which didn’t grow so well, like my potatoes. But Inshaa-Allah whatever Allah wills to grow will grow.

All this has taught me something very interesting and I know there are people who are going to regard me as someone who is always negative about “modern day life”, but the thing is that City living has taken us away from remembering Allah to a large extent. Growing these vegetables has increased my faith because it has reminded me how Allah is the Creator of everything and how from a small seed a huge plant can grow to sustain life. In watching things grow through stages I could not deny the existence and the wonder of Allah Almighty. This has forced me to focus more on my Creator. This doesn’t happen when you go into a store and buy everything. Just like I had to wonder about the seeds of lettuce, or I didn’t know that a flower grows above ground when you plant potatoes and when the flower dies that’s the time to remove your potatoes from the ground, many people don’t ponder about where vegetables come from, how they grow, what they go through in the different stages of development, how you know when they are ready for consumption, etc. Because things are spoon fed to us, we take it for granted and in the process we miss out.

We miss out on the understanding that Allah Almighty has an absolutely perfect system; not just for the lives of human beings but for every single thing on this earth. When you watch something like a vegetable grow it makes you understand that Allah is our Creator and Allah is our Sustainer. Allah creates and provides each thing with its needs, whether that’s air, water, and sunshine, whatever... It is only Allah who can create and maintain and if we ever attempt to do things on our own then the results will be very poor.

 So yeah; although my brother teases us calling us “farmers”, I have been having a lot of fun planting vegetables. Just because I’m in the City doesn’t mean I can’t farm. I would recommend this for all of you. You don’t even need a garden, you can plant stuff in pot plants and watch what happens. Inshaa-Allah this will teach you some important lessons about life as well.

Lettuce Image from here


  1. Mashaallah, I understand exactly what you are talking about. Literally, I could not have said it better myself. I want so badly to grow veggies and fruits for this very reason, or reasons, rather. Thank you so much for writing this. You have inspired me to keep pestering my husband about getting the containers and soil and seeds for my balcony (as I, too, live in the city)

  2. Um Dayo

    Thank you, I am so glad that you feel inspired. I know how it is when you want to do something but just can't seem to get down to doing it for some reason or the other. I agree, keep pestering your husband,Inshaa-Allah it will be worth it!

  3. Wow! That's such a lovely activity to take up: firstly a great reminder of Allah's Creation, handy with veggies on hand whenever you want them, and also must have been a great exercise in patience and care-giving.

  4. Jnana

    Your reflections are spot on, and what an exercise in patience it is, there's absolutely nothing you can do to speed up the process, you just have to wait patiently, and the responsibility of making sure the veggies get watered etc, definitely is an exercise in care-giving, but in the end it is worth it.

  5. I like this post very much!

    JazakAllahu khair, sis!!!

    And if I were your close neighbour, I'll not mind if my face will turn as red as the tomatoes when I ask for some of them from you!!!

    Keep up the good work, city farmers!!!

  6. Ati

    I wouldn't mind sharing those tomatoes with you, they were so fresh and lovely I'm sure you would've enjoyed them.

    If we're stuck in the city we may as well make the best of it, right;-)

  7. Sister,

    Masha-Allah, I am glad to know about your interest in planting vegetables and how this single tomato plant helped you to practically witness the creation of a plant and its fruit stage by stage.

    We can clearly see that we do nothing except preparing the soil,sowing the seeds and watering the plant etc. all praise to the Sustainer Who is the Creator.

    Finally, I wanted to share some verses of the Quran and I hope you being a "farmer" would love to read them :)

    58 Have you considered the seed?
    59 Is it you that create it or are We the creators?
    60 We have ordained death among you and We are not to be overcome,
    61 In order that We may bring in your place the likes of you and make you grow into what you know not.
    62 And certainly you know the first growth, why do you not then mind?
    63 Have you considered what you sow?
    64 Is it you that cause it to grow, or are We the causers of growth?
    65 If We pleased, We should have certainly made it broken down into pieces, then would you begin to lament:
    66 Surely we are burdened with debt:

    I hope you will share more about your garden and the lesson learned from these wonderful experiments.

    Best Wishes

  8. Ibn Hanif

    Masha'Allah brother,these verses of the Glorious Quraan are indeed amazing. Jazakallah Khayr for posting it here and reminding us it. And it also confirms everything, when you are planting and watching things grow, you have to admit that these verses are absolute truth and that Allah Almighty has all power. We can do nothing, it is Allah who is in control of everything. SubhanAllah. How often do we miss out on this because we get caught up in this life, May Allah always help us to remember Him Inshaa-Allah.

    And brother, may Allah reward you for sharing Allah's words from the most beautiful book.

  9. Salaams Sister: Found this blog through a Google search for Muslim female gardners :) Am wondering how you're making out with your gardening? Are you still doing it?

  10. Was-salaam Safiyyah

    Unfortunately I have not done any vegetable planting for a long time. It's been very difficult to keep up with this because I have limited space, things also don't grow very well during the winter months.