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Vegetable Gardening With Your Family

Lettuce and radishes galore!

Lettuce and radishes galore!

A tiny tomato seed is planted in the earth. It needs water and sun but slowly it grows from a seed to a tiny seedling and then to a beautiful tomato plant with branches bending under the weight of the heavy, ruby-like globes. SubhanAllah. Even as an adult, I feel humbled. I want to pass this feeling on to my children; I don’t want them to take all the vegetables piled high in the grocery store for granted. I want them to appreciate the perfection of Allah’s creation, evident to us as we watch a seed grow from a tiny little nothing into beautiful vegetables for our tables.

If they grow it – they will eat it.

I have heard this so many times and it is true!! Children are much more likely to eat a vegetable if they’ve played a hand in picking seeds, growing and harvesting. Fun varieties can make vegetables even more exciting for children. For example, purple and yellow beans instead of the normal green beans. There are yellow, white and purple carrots instead of orange. Some carrots are tiny and round while some are round and thin. Even simple radishes come in different colors and shapes. My children don’t like radishes (store bought ones) but I find them nibbling on the ones we pull out of our garden.

Lessons in Science

This will be my second year gardening, Alhamdulillah. I’ve learned a lot since last year and so have my children. Last summer, as we worked outside we watched as many of our baby zucchini and cucumbers shriveled up to nothing while others grew big and green. “Why, Mama?” That’s when they learned that bees are a vital part of any garden. Some vegetables need bees to pollinate them while others, like tomatoes and peppers, self-pollinate.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach children about the life cycle of plants and about how every living thing needs water and sun to grow and be healthy.

Patience

This is possibly the most important lesson we can take from gardening. Plants don’t just pop up overnight. They require, at the very least, 3 weeks before we can harvest anything. This can be especially difficult for children, because it is in their nature to be impatient. Choose some plants that grow quickly, such as green beans, cucumbers, strawberries, radishes and peas. Herbs are also wonderful to grow since most of them grow quickly and can easily be grown in pots.

There are many other benefits, such as bringing the family together as they work in the garden, controlling what goes into your vegetables/fruit (read: no pesticides!) and relaxation. So many people find gardens to be relaxing and I’m one of them. I find myself sitting outside, in the early morning or just before Maghrib, just looking at the vegetables and flowers, feeling peaceful. It’s a wonderful feeling, Alhamdulillah.

Zainab Abdullah

Zainab Abdullah lives in Maryland with her husband and two young children. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, trying new things in the kitchen and anything outdoors.

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  • Ummossama

    ASA Zainab,

    Loved the post. We always had a garden when I was growing up. Gardening has so many benefits/ learning opportunities and also a wonderful chance to remember Allah.(swt) A garden should be on every child’s “must have list.”

    JAK.

  • mahaezz

    I’m a little afraid of gardening. Everything, even my houseplants, ends up dying, even though I crave nature’s bloom inside the house (so I keep buying new ones)

    Every time though you talk about gardening I can feel the love and excitement of gardening with kids–I want to try!! Do you think starting with herbs is the best idea for an irresponsible, clueless gardener?

  • mahaezz

    oh, and love the pics :)

  • fatima

    There’s something about my first experience with gardening that really teaches my children and I how everything is in the Hands of Allah SWT. We started with a few simple vegetables about a month ago, and a good amount of the seeds we planted have sprouted alhamduillah. But what’s even more amazing is that a good amount of the seeds we didn’t plant sprouted as well!!!

    We methodically put our radish seeds into 9 holes and our lettuce seeds into four holes in each square foot, covered them with dirt and watered them often. A few weeks later we found some random radish and lettuce plants had grown in other spaces we hadn’t planted! Obviously they had dropped from our hands in different locations, and without our personal care, but with Allah qadar, they grew. :) No dirt, watering, TLC was needed from us for these plants subhanaAllah.

  • Zainab

    Maha – That’s how I started my first “garden”. I had a pot of mint (for tea) and a pot of strawberries. That’s it. Herbs are one of the best things to start with. :)

    Fatima – Isn’t it amazing? I found lettuce growing two feet away from where I planted it in.

  • Lena

    What a great post! I feel inspired to build my own garden. Can you recommend any good books or websites for beginner gardeners? Thanks.

  • fatima

    salaam lena. zainab recommended Mel Bartholomew’s “Square Foot Gardening” and his website for beginning/advanced garderners on the forum. I tried it out and it is nice and simple, though i don’t necessarily use a box and the exact soil mix he mentions.

  • Aishah

    MashaAllah, I feel your passion. It make me want to try my hand at gardening. I don’t have “land” for a garden where we live now but I would love to try potted things. We do have a mini-mini-balcony.

  • Maryam

    I never thought about it like that, but it’s so true how gardening can help us to learn such values like patience and appreciation! And what a wonderful way to teach young children!


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