I started gardening from a young age, back in Sri Lanka. If I had a house with a back garden, I would do some gardening. When I was about 14, I loved growing cassava. I was growing vegetables when I lived in Cambridge. It was a five-minute walk to the community garden, I went and made my own plot. I grew potatoes and carrots and some chillies there also.
My garden in London is all concrete, no beds at all. From December 2018, I started with seeds and made a small nursery. I made a plot by putting about five bags of compost soil on top of the concrete. By covering the concrete nicely, I was able to make a garden bed.
Now I am growing lots of different types of vegetables, fruit too: tomatoes, bell pepper, green chillies, corn, butternut squash, avocado, lemon grass, mint, apple, watermelon, pomegranate, mango. I told my friend to bring a golden apple from Grenada and I have planted those seeds now too. I’m really trying, I want to show everyone that in God’s grace you can do anything – you just have to apply yourself.
God has given me this gift of green fingers
I don’t have the gift of listening to God and hearing God talk to me, but I feel what I do is this: I love growing food, I love sharing and I love feeding people. I don’t grow food only for my benefit; my motto is ‘Grow it for other people’. I give a lot of what I grow to anyone who is coming into my garden. It’s a small thing I can do and I’m happy that God has given me this lovely gift.
I am really happy to use my vegetables and make soup for the homeless. Every month I give one meal. People think when you are homeless you have to eat anything. No, they have likes and dislikes too. Today I cooked vegetable fried rice, vegetable curry, chickpeas, potatoes and breaded chicken drumsticks. God has created this world to share amongst everyone and I am happy to give. I don’t even see these people but I am concerned about what they eat.
Another great thing about growing food is that you don’t have to go to a shop to buy food. If you’re cooking dhal, just add the chillies and the tomato from the garden – no problem! You don’t need lots of money to grow all this. My partner recently asked me to make an omelette and he felt so thrilled and happy because I asked him to go to the garden and pluck a bell pepper.
The weather is certainly challenging. Rain, wind and sunshine are OK but if it’s frost or snow, I need to cover the plants. My greenhouse was like an oven in the summer but now it’s becoming very cold and I’ve decided to put a heat lamp in so I can nurture my garden over the winter. Next year in God’s grace, if I am still living here, I’ll be extending my garden over another concreted area. I want to put the butternut squash, watermelon and pumpkins into that area. I had okra in Sri Lanka in a smaller area than I have now and I would like to grow this too.
Experience comes by doing it
Don’t say, ‘I don’t have a big garden, I can’t do it’. Just do it! I tell everyone to just start with a pot inside the house, even with just one seed. If you always buy chilli, just keep one pot with a chilli on the window-sill in the kitchen. There is happiness in doing that. I am growing my Caribbean golden apple in a pot with the intention of taking it with me when I move into a permanent home with a garden.
We have to support nature
This world is not for us, we will be leaving it to others. The younger generation are the ones who will live the future. If we don’t show how to grow food and support nature, how are they going to learn?
God is watching each one of us whether we’re Christians or not. I believe if you have an intention of doing good for this planet, always God will bless you.
Thanks to Vishadhi for sharing about her gift of growing food for the Wild Christian ‘Nature and Christmas’’ email.
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