Kitchen Garden Provides Veggies All Year
By Lois Hoffman
For all of us die-hard gardeners, the world is just not right when something green is not growing. That’s why late fall and the winter months seem so terribly long.
Kitchen gardens provide the perfect solution to the winter doldrums. The concept is really very simple; it is growing vegetables from veggie stumps and vegetable scraps. These are usually tossed but, with just a little work, they can regenerate many times over.
Many varieties lend themselves well to this method. A few of the more popular ones are:
Celery stalks can be grown from a stump. Merely cut the bottom two inches off the bottom of a celery stalk and plant it root-side down in a saucer of water or into one or two inches of potting soil or moist sand. Leaves, then tender stalks will appear from the center. When it is well-rooted, put it in a bigger pot and enjoy fresh stems and leaves for months.
Lettuce, Bok Choy, and Cabbage
Place leaves from these plants in a bowl with just a little water. Put the bowl where it gets plenty of sunlight and mist the leaves with water a couple times a week. After a few days, when roots and new leaves appear, plant the new plants in soil.
This herb grows just like grass. Place the leftover root in a bowl or jar with enough water to cover it and leave it in the sunlight. After a week, put it in the herb garden or a pot.
Soak a tablespoon of your favorite beans in a jar with shallow water. Leave overnight and then drain the water and put the beans in a container. Cover the container with a towel overnight and rinse in the morning. Keep doing this until sprouts appear and reach the size you want.
Wash avocado seeds and use a toothpick to suspend them over water in a bowl. Water should cover the bottom inch of the seed. Keep it in a warm place but not in direct sunlight. Check the water each day and add more as needed. It can take six weeks for the stem and root to appear. Once the stem is 6 inches high, cut it back to 3 inches. When leaves appear, plant the seed in soil, leaving half an inch above ground.
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Potatoes can be started from peelings. Cut the peelings into two-inch pieces, making sure that each piece has at least 2 or 3 eyes in it. Allow them to dry overnight and then plant 4 inches deep in soil, with the eyes facing up. In a few weeks you will have new potato plants.
Cut each one in half and suspend it in the same manner as for avocados. Roots will appear in a few days and sprouts can be seen on top of the potato. Once the sprouts are 4 inches long, twist them off and put in a container of water. When the roots are an inch in length, place them in sand.
Ginger is easy to re-grow and it will provide you with a steady supply for months. Simply place a spare piece in potting soil. New shoots and roots will appear in about a week. Pull it up and use it again. Be sure to always save a piece of rhizome from each new plant so you can keep the cycle going.
Cut off the top and insert a few toothpicks to hold it above a container of water. Keep it in direct sunlight and change the water every other day, making sure to keep the container full. Roots will appear in about a week. Plant them in soil outside and in cooler climates, keep them inside.
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Just pull a clove off and plant it with the roots facing down. Place in direct sunlight and once roots appear, cut them back so you get a bulb. Part of the new bulb can be planted again.
Cut the root of the onion off, leaving half inch of onion attached. Cover lightly with potting soil and keep in a sunny area. For green onions, put the entire white base with the roots in water and set it in direct sunlight. Change the water every few days. Snip off what you need and let the rest grow.
Take your jack-o’-lantern and wash and dry the seeds. Spread the seeds in a sunny area and cover with soil. Even easier, you can plant the entire jack-o’-lantern, just fill with soil and plant the whole fruit.
Save the seeds, plant in potting soil and keep in direct light. These grow fast so you can keep saving seeds over and over.
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You can have those fresh tomatoes and BLT’s all winter. Plant seeds indoors in pots, make sure they get plenty of sunlight and water a couple times a week.
Salvage the tops of turnips and put them in a container of water. New green tops appear in a few days. Allow roots to grow until they are ready to be transplanted. This works for many root crops like beets and parsnips.
You can grow an entire new tree from a pit. Keep it in cold storage a few weeks so it will germinate. Clean it, put it in nutrient-rich soil and put it in the fridge in a lidded container. Leave it three months and then plant outside.
Remember Johnny Appleseed? Apple seeds can be planted, just allow them to dry first. However, several seeds from the same apple will yield different kinds of apple trees. You will need at least two trees for them to grow well. This technique can be used with peaches, nectarines and plums too.
Save your seeds and grow dwarf trees inside. Meyer lemons produce smaller plants so they are a better choice for indoors. Just clean and dry the seeds and plant in rich soil. Be patient though, you will have to wait a couple years for your efforts to pay off.
Hazelnuts and Chestnuts
These trees can also be grown from seed. Just dry them out well before planting and remember to plant more than one for cross pollination.
This is just a partial list of fruits and vegetables that can be grown right in your own kitchen. Now, you can’t get much fresher than this!
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