Learning to grow paradise from a seed

Published: August 1, 2010

A Grade 8 student and her corn plant

A Grade 8 student and her corn plant First grade students get introduced to the pleasures of gardening Grade 3 at the vegetable patch besides an iceberg lettuce plant.

Vacations are coming to an end and that means another year of productive farming can begin!

Teaching gardening to young people is rewarding on many levels.The best part is that you get paid to practice your hobby.

I can proudly say that I belong to a team that are the pioneers of teaching gardening at the school level. It was the combined effort of Ms Sabrina Dawood and Mr Tofiq Pasha Mooraj to introduce gardening as a subject and to spread the awareness about the environment.  For me, it was a dream come true! Dawood Public School took this initiative last year in July, and now we are beginning our second year.

Teaching more than 800 students who belonged to grade 1-8 has taught me many lessons. The most important one is that a love of nature is in every heart – all we need to do is make children realize that there is nothing more human than being close to nature. The other lesson was that a love of nature is contagious!

When my students started planting crops in their pots, everyone was amazed to see the results and soon, farming fever began to  spread. Management, teachers, parents and domestics all fell in love with gardening activities and passionately participated as well. Guests who visited us couldn’t stop themselves from jumping into the vegetable patch! They couldn’t resist touching our dazzling eggplants and tasting our tomatoes. The feeling you get when you see people falling in love with farming and becoming one with nature is divine!

I still remember the day I entered the school and saw my students watering their pots before the assembly and later saw them having lunch beside their pots. They did not want their plants to be out of their sight! It filled my heart with an unexplainable joy. At one point other teachers started to hate me because students were always thinking and talking about their plants. They were concerned if they sprouted or not. After each class they wanted to run to the windowsill to see their progress. Eventually, even those teachers got addicted to gardening.

Now I am beginning to miss my students and their repeated questions, ” Ma’am, when will my seed sprout?” ” Can I take my plant home for the weekend, please?” ” Ma’am! There is one more leaf in my basil plant!” That is the best reward a teacher can get.

I can already foresee my students making their gardens beautiful and taking care of the environment long after they will leave the school. I am glad they are coming back.

This morning was spent preparing the gardens for them. We weeded a vegetable patch and have arranged their pots. Now we are all ready to welcome our young gardeners!


Zahra Ali

A freelance writer, gardening teacher and environmentalist. She has been spreading the message of natural living through her blog 'Crops in Pots' since 2008

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • sadia siddiqui

    excellent thought!!! great work zahra keep it up!!! gardening rocks;)Recommend

  • Sarah Zaidi

    We need more people like you in our schools. Not just for gardening. For teaching all and everything. Good job! Recommend

  • Tofiq Pasha Mooraj

    Well done….. Proud of your efforts and YOUR results. Keep it up!!!!!Recommend

  • http://yousufrafi.wordpress.com Yousuf Rafi

    subhanAllah!!! simplicity at its best… nature will surely repay those who serve them. :)Recommend

  • irfan mahmood sultan

    bravo,,,,,,,zahra bibiRecommend

  • http://www.cropsinpots.blogspot.com Zahra Ali

    Thank you everyone.
    I must also appreciate constant participation of Mr. Fahim Zuberi, my colleague and a skilled gardener who managed to take out time for gardening activities. He also launched DIGS ( Dawoodian Inspirational Gardeners’ Society) last November which quickly got famous and almost all the students registered for that.Recommend

  • Awais

    A green revolution … Much Needed specially in this era!Recommend

  • http://www.marafiecitylinks.com Rizwan

    I appreciate the way you atleast cover you head.
    You did a good job.Recommend

  • Sohail Saleem


    The joy in the eyes of your students is obvious in the photographs. Inshallah, along with you, this is an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Congratulations and keep up the wonderful work.Recommend

  • Afia Mansoor

    The enthusiasm you see also shows what an amazing teacher you are. We definitely need more people like you. Keep it going!Recommend

  • Favad

    Keep up the great work Zahra.. Suggest you focus more on conservation in your 2nd year curriculum – conservation of water, soil, water and organic matter recycling etc.. Getting close to nature along with a message to protect it should hopefully make your students better citizens of this planet than our generation.Recommend

  • http://www.cropsinpots.blogspot.com Zahra Ali

    Thanks :)

    Favad you are right. We did practice water conservation last year and will continue to do that this year as well thanks to our friends from Engro Chemicals who provided us with drip irrigation systems for our vegetable patch. Hisar foundation also conducted a work shop on water conservation as the first gardening class. We did learn to recycle plastic bags, containers and turn them into planters.

    What we need to do this time is to recycle organic waste. We have already started making compost at school. Thanks for the suggestions. Keep them coming!Recommend

  • http://www.milk-n-cookies.blogspot.com Cookie

    This is the most adorable article I have read in a while.Inspiring and full of sunshine.I greatly commend and admire all the effort you are putting in, specially since I love gardening so much myself. Starting composting in school – that it even more amazing.Keep up the good work!Recommend

  • Arish Tehzeeb

    Cute Name(Zahra Ali), Cute work and Cute Khatoon,,,,,,Great work keep it up Ali,,,,,May Almighty keep your soul satisfied Recommend

  • Mahnoor Fatima

    Redundant work. It feels awkward! Since you people bluff and how much profit did you get?Recommend

  • Zahra

    @ mahnoor,

    Since when spreading the love of nature got profitable in terms of money making money if that is what you mean? Its more of using all your resources and knowledge and passing it on to others.

    Its sad that instead of doing the same we cant keep the negativity away.Recommend

  • dawoodian

    my school is doing a greaaat job!Recommend

  • http://google Fabiha Moin

    I’am proud to be a dowoodian ! love Dawood Public School!Recommend

  • dawoodian

    this is really a gr8 job!! Recommend

  • javeria asif

    its gr8 job!…i like it so mchRecommend

  • seema nazir

    very interesting job it also help students to fresh their minds and work harder as much as they canRecommend