I love looking at my garden while I sip on my coffee. I found it interesting that not everything that grows in my garden comes from commercially available seeds or plants. Although I’m seldom one to turn down a friend’s gift of cuttings or extra plants, there are times when store bought plants, handled properly, can grow extra vegetables. Here is a list to help you create your own garden.
Many can be container grown throughout the summer and winter. Since they can be container plants, they can also be grown in apartments. No one ever said apartment residents cannot have fresh produce. Proper lighting, temperature, plant food, soil all need to be provided for the best results.
Onions, Leeks, Fennel
Both green onions, otherwise known as scallions or bunching onions and bulb onions can be grown from roots.
When cutting off the root end, leave about an inch and the roots. Place in well drained, moist potting soil with the cut end above the soil and locate it on a sunny windowsill. Keep the soil moist, and watch as the plant grows new stalks.
Bunching onions will divide naturally and create new stalks; simply pull them apart and plant one of the stalks to start a new bunch.
Leeks need to be blanched before harvest; this improves the flavor. Grow the leeks in potting soil mixed with fine sand, as the plants need a lot of drainage.
As with onions, cut the root end off and leave about an inch of stalk. Place the root side in a shallow dish of water on a sunny windowsill; the water should not be allowed to dry out. When roots are seen, add a little liquid fertilizer and gradually add potting soil. Transplant the plant into a pot and grow for a spectacular, edible display.
Cut a slip, or piece of potato and gently press into moist potting soil. Keep on a sunny windowsill, and as with other plants, do not let the soil dry out. When the green shoots are about four to six inches long, transplant into the ground or large container. Containers should have well-drained soil, as sweet potatoes do not like wet feet. Excess moisture encourages rot.
The vines will be expansive, and a curing area should be planned ahead of time for harvest. Curing allows the potatoes to become sweeter and cook easier.
Sweet potatoes are not related to other potatoes; they are cousins to Morning Glories; flowers on the vines will be similar. This is a striking plant to grow just for its foliage.
Place cuttings of the root containing a knob end into well-moistened potting soil. The knob end should stick up out of the soil. Place on a windowsill, but not in direct sunlight; the plant does best with filtered sunlight or shade. Keep the soil moist; when the plant is a few inches tall, transplant gently into a larger container. When fresh root is needed, carefully dig around the plant, exposing the root and cut off the appropriate amount. If the container becomes crowded with roots, divide the plant and share with friends.
Leave one to two inches above the root when cutting. Place the roots in a dish with a half inch of water and set in filtered sunlight; do not allow the water to dry out. When green shoots appear above and roots begin to emerge, transplant into a container at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter and six inches deep. Keep the potting soil moist and lightly fertilize once or twice during the season. Harvest all the leaves at once, or cut and use outer leaves as needed.
Cut or twist the top off. Peel back leaves until a one-inch long knob is revealed. Plant the knob in well-drained, moist potting soil and place in a semi-sunny spot. Keep the soil lightly moist and feed sparingly by spraying the leaves with diluted fertilizer; the plant feeds through the leaves, not the roots.
Be patient when growing pineapples, as they can take up to 24 months to fruit. It will appear above the plant on a stalk. The plant itself can be three feet tall and wide, with spiky, sharp leaves.
Garlic is almost too easy to grow. In the refrigerator, unused garlic may sprout green shoots. This is perfectly normal. Carefully break off the clove without damaging the shoot. Plant the clove in moist potting soil with the shoot above ground and keep watered. Although the roots are relatively shallow, the plant is impressive. After the spectacular flower dies back, pull up the plant to reveal an entirely new garlic bulb. Allow the plant stalk to dry out, then cut off and add to a compost heap. Use the bulb as you would any other garlic.
If your grocery store potatoes (any variety or color) develop green shoots or “eyes,” don’t throw them away. Cut the eyes off with about an inch of potato and allow the cut part to “scab” or turn hard. Plant in moist, rich potting soil in a container with a few inches of soil. When the plant reaches six to 10 inches tall, add more soil to the container, leaving a couple of inches of plant sticking up. New potatoes will form along these shoots. Harvest by carefully digging down with your hands and pulling what you need.
I have grown potatoes in 18-gallon containers filled with well-drained soil. My favorite mix is an all-in-one potting soil and equal parts of fine compost.
Lemon grass is a sweet-smelling and delicious herb. Cut the root end off two inches long and allow to root in a container of shallow water, or place directly in moist potting soil.
Bok Choy And Cabbage
Grow these as you would celery or lettuce, keeping the plants in filtered sun and watering only as needed. The soil should not be allowed to dry out between watering. Cut and use just like Romaine lettuce.
You can also try this with Swiss Chard, but I make no guarantees.
Prepare a moist, warm and dark place for your mushrooms and use fine compost. It will need to be kept moist. Plant the stalk part, not the head in the soil. This is a hit-or-miss planting, it will either work or not. Do not be discouraged, however. A number of mushroom growing kits is available on the market. You will reap a harvest as long as you provide the perfect conditions throughout the growing period.
One major drawback to growing mushrooms indoors is the odor of compost. For this reason, many people simply purchase them at the store.
- · Radish And Carrot Tops will produce green tops, but will not produce new taproots. These are taproot plants; once cut, the root will not regrow.
- · Avocado and yams in water will produce pretty vines, but not food. Avocados grow on trees and yams are tubers, that is roots like potatoes.
- · All of the above listed plants can be grown in containers or in garden soil. Research each plant to learn about diseases and insect problems so that you can protect your harvest.
- · The chlorine in tap water may prove detrimental to your cuttings; fill a milk jug or other container with tap water and allow it to sit, uncapped, for 24-72 hours before using; the chlorine will dissipate. Alternatively, use distilled water from the store to start plants.
- · My favorite rooting mixes are 50/50 all-in-one potting soil/fine compost, or for plants that like acidic soil, pure peat or a peat/compost mix.
Windowsill or patio herb gardens are becoming popular again as food prices rise. It makes sense to get the most out of every piece of produce. Growing new plants from existing ones is a great way to accomplish this.
Your friends and family will want to know how you’re saving on your grocery bill- show them your garden and teach them how you did it.
Source: Jordyn Cormier, “5 Plants You Can Grow from Your Garbage!” Care 2 website, 13 June 2014
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.
Source: Andy Whiteley, “16 Foods That’ll Re-Grow From Kitchen Scraps,” Wake-Up world website, no date given
Source: Birgit Bradtke, “Growing Pineapples,” Tropical Permaculture website, no date given