Ba and Bapu are looking to re do the blinds in the home and one of the rooms, the reading room, faces the swimming pool and the sun as it sets in the West. It is hot for 8 hours and they are thinking of getting motorized blinds for it.
Ba is also looking for a place to grow her vegetable garden, and have a shaded play area for the little ones. She has a Eureka moment: she could grow the tomatoes, cucumber and pole green beans in front of the sliding doors to the study and that could accomplish all three: shade in the room, play area and vegetable garden.
Her sister, Masi, encouraged her to start even though it was July. She bought tomato, cucumber and bell pepper plants to start. Ba then bought “grow bags” online and boughsciencet potting soil for growing plants in planters.
Nitali and Nihir are excited. They help Ba put soil in the grow bags as well as plant the plants.
Nihir and Nitali have fun watering the plants everyday. It is too wet in the shaded area for them to play after watering. Ba realized that watering itself turned out to be a fun activity for them outdoors.
Then comes a week, they forget to water for a few days and the plants start showing yellow brown leaves. When they finally notice it, they are sad. They think the plants are dying. Ba acknowledges their sadness ” I see you are sad, what happened? ”
Nihir explains ” We forgot to water the plants with all our other playing activities. The plants are now showing yellow brown leaves, one of the bell pepper plants has a yellow stem.”
Ba explains “Plants need food, water and sun daily just like our bodies need food and water. Plants get it from the soil and by being outdoors. Some plants need a lot of water and others not so much. Some plants do better in sun and others in shade.”
Nitali asks ” What can we do? ”
Nihir says” Let’s take turns to water the plants daily and put it on our calendars to do so.”
Both kids, started watering the plants regularly, once in a while when one forgot, the other reminded or helped out.
Now, one summer morning, when they wake up, they see a green tomato! They are happy, they wake up Ba and Bapuji to show them the tomato. They name it ” Lilu”, meaning green in Gujarati.
2 weeks later, the tomato turns red, they now name it “Lal’ meaning red in Gujarati. As Nihir is watering the plants, he notices some yellow flowers not he pepper plant. He calls out to Nitali who is busy sitting in the garden drawing with chalk on the floor. Nitali is excited to see the flowers and gets busy drawing them on the floor. Just then Nihir calls out to her ” look the cucumber plant has some yellow flowers too”. They call Ba to se the flowers. Ba explains “With time, these flowers will turn into peppers and cucumbers.”
Nitali and Nihir learn that plants need water, soil and sunlight to grow. And that the flowers turn into vegetables which they love to eat.
Nitali wants to make a garden of her own to play in. Nihir suggests they make a fairy garden. They find a container made from the old bookshelf and decide to use it.
Both start collecting rocks, pebbles, dried center of Southern Magnolias, twigs, leaves, pine cones, and acorns on their nature walks for the fairy garden. And then Nitali remembers she had painted a bird house and wants to use that as the fairies’ home. Nihir puts a little saucer with water for both the birds and the fairies. Ba finds the fairies to paint that are part of a snow globe set for the two for them.
Next they need to select plants of their fairy garden. What can they put?
Nitali and Nihir want to put some herbs like Sweet Bay, some succulents: and a few cuttings of the Jade plant that they have, maybe some alyssum. Ba does some research and shares some more plants they could put like a mini pomegranate tree and a mimosa plant.
As for the shade in the reading room, the tomato plants are expected to grow 9 feet by end of summer and are 3 feet tall and not yet providing any shade!
Maybe the pole green beans would have been best, Ba thinks to herself.
So far the all plants are heathy and with no disease…..