Monday, March 31, 2014

Four Edible Plants You Can "Recycle" By Growing Again

So I had some trouble with the title of this post. I mean, what was I supposed to call it? 
1. "Four Plants You Can Grow From Nubs"
2. "Four Plants You Can Buy at the Grocery Store and Then Grow from the Leftover Remains" 
3. "Four Plants You Can Grow Not From Seed Because You're Going to Buy the plants from the Store and Then Sort of Recycle Them by Growing Another Plant" (yeah, that was a good one)
4. "Save Money by Growing Plants You Already Bought" (kind of like that one actually)
5. "Science Monday: Regrow Your Herbs and Vegetables"

You can see the problem here, but the point really is rather beautiful. You can buy these vegetables and herbs and then you can plant part of their remains and get more plants. Of course this saves money (sometimes those herbs can be really expensive). It also provides a good snow day activity to do with your kids. It also provides the starter for that nice little window sill herb garden you've been dreaming of. And finally, it's the perfect solution if you, like me, cannot seem to grow green onions from seed even though it should be crazy easy, but you simply cannot do it even in the spring/summer so you just keep trying and failing and then you have to buy a big bunch at the store so you can use, like, half a green onion for your soup and then... (Now that is what I should have titled this piece.) So it was finally a great way for me to get my green onions. And, although I've never had trouble growing basil from seed in the spring, I haven't ever been able to do it in the winter, but if you use a leftover bit of herb, you can grow basil in the winter and plant it in an indoor pot. 

Maybe this doesn't appeal to you. Maybe you consider this the type of crazy-talk that Pinterest posts are so famous for. Well, then, I can only hope that this gets re-pinned two jillion times like so many of those crazy-talk pins. 

1. Green Onions

Use the green onion. Save the bottom part--the white part with the root (or where the root once was).

(You'll use this top part in some cooking of course.)

Put this root end down in a pot with very wet potting soil (keep that soil really wet until this starts to sprout up).

You won't completely bury it--the top will show.

Soon it will sprout up. (Unless it rots, which did happen with one or two of mine, but I still got further than I've ever gotten with seed.) You can see a sprouted onion there in the back corner.

When it's grown, clip off the green onion and use it and it will regrow again from the nub left in the pot. It will do this a time or two, but be thinner each time. And then it will eventually poop out. Or at least mine always have. Still, this trick keeps me in onions for a while.

2. Basil.

Save a sprig of your basil. Put this in a vase like you would if it was a cut flower.

After a while it will start to sprout roots. When it's good and rooty, put it in a pot on the windowsill. Naturally I have never remembered to take a picture of my basil when it was good and rooty, so here is one from the internet. This blogger (thanks amykathryn) used a bunch of basil, but just a stem is necessary. Someday I will actually remember to take a picture...

3. Celery. My friend recently did celery. It's another plant I can't dream of growing from seed, but look what happens when you put a stump in a bowl of shallow water:

This is how it looks after two weeks. I'm totally trying this one.

4. Romaine Lettuce. This one's a bonus. I've never tried this or had a friend try it, but was enchanted by the idea and will try it next time I get a head of romaine (another thing I just can't seem to grow from seed). So go here if you want to try romaine. Thank you P's and Q's. Just like the celery, you put the nub from the romaine in a bowl of shallow water, set it by a sunny window and it will regrow. It's like magic.

As for my window sill pots (pictured up top), they were a gift from my sister. They are made from rice hulls and very pretty. I'm not sure where she got them (psst--she just told me she got them from West Elm), but I found some on Amazon. They were not intensely cheap on Amazon, but are awesomely cool since they last several years and then biodegrade. However a perfectly good window sill garden could be done with cheap terra cotta pots or whatever you've got. For indoor plants, you should use an indoor potting soil.

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