Lychees are in season and a few days ago my daughter and I had a lychee party – sitting on our floor-mat to peel and devour a dish of the sweet fruits, licking our elbows with enjoyment. As everything in life is a lesson of learning, my daughter asked me what would happen if she ate a lychee pit by accident.
“A lychee tree would grow in your belly.” I teased, “The branches would come out of your ears and next year we’d have all the lychees we want growing from right inside you!” She smiled and listened intently…imagining in her mind, I suppose, what she’d look like with lychee tree branches coming out of the sides of her head like antlers. Once she realized I was jesting, she started to laugh and I told her the truth ~ that she’d probably get a belly ache and be uncomfortable on the toilet later. Once again, she imagined and stopped giggling.
We decided, since we love lychees so much, that we’d keep the pits and try to plant them. We put them in a glass of water which I set up on the window ledge of our kitchen above the sink.
Later, while doing some afternoon dishes, I saw the lychee pits in the glass nearby and started pondering them…where we’d plant them…if they’d grow…and how many lychees each tree may yield in a few year’s time.
Suddenly I was struck by reality of seeds and their potential.
We all know about seeds. We spit out grape, watermelon and orange seeds…disregard peach and plumb pits… we toss away apple cores yet eat zucchini and cucumber seeds without even noticing. We even enjoy corn on the cob or pumpkin and sunflower seeds as snacks!
So what’s the big revelation about seeds?
Well, it just struck me how one little fruit or vegetable can have so many seeds with so much potential for further growth. It is primary school science, but like many wonders of our world that we marvel at in Kindergarten, we soon forget how fundamental to life things like “seeds” and “sharing” really are.
Think of a cucumber’s hundreds of seeds that we eat without even paying attention. Imagine if each seed was planted…how many vines would grow and subsequently how many cucumbers could be harvested. One apple could be enough to grow and entire small orchard of trees, yielding thousands of apples. Easy to then deduce that the majority of the poverty on this planet is not due to a shortage of food, but perhaps just A) an imbalance of food distribution, due to a monopolization of cultivatable land for commercial gain by some, and B) a lack of education to others of how to grow their own food or how important it is to do so if possible. I see children here in my neighborhood who are malnourished because their parents have no means of feeding them properly, while the rich land owners their parents work for are round and chubby. I also see children in a village I frequent who are malnourished, even though their parents have access to abundant land with incredible growing potential, but who, unfortunately, are simply unaware of such potential or too lazy to harness it efficiently.
At present, my family and I do not have a goat or cow, so we buy our milk. Many local farmers near us are sadly untrustworthy in their milk production (unhygienically “topping” off their milk with unclean water), so my family and I support a trusted Pakistani owned milk company and purchase our milk from a store. Sadly, the milk comes in semi-cardboard/semi-plastic milk boxes, which create a huge amount of trash. In a city with no garbage collection or waste management – that is a very big problem as I am sure you can well imagine (especially since my older daughter and I are milkoholics!)
We’ve now started washing and saving all of our milk cartons (at least 8 per week!) and are using them to plant saplings on our back terrace – sort of our own mini-plant nursery. If peppers in the fridge start to wilt, I remove the seeds, dry them and start saplings…same with cucumbers, zucchini and various fruits. We’ve also found that the many plastic containers we’ve accumulated over the past few years make great sapling pots too, and their lids make wonderful petri dishes for germinating seeds.
My hope is that we’ll have enough seeds and saplings by the end of autumn to plant a huge garden and orchard next spring…and more than enough vegetables and fruits to share with neighbours – God wiling.
Though my sunny little recording studio is now looking like a seed drying factory. 🙂