Seeds may be hard to come by in the 3 weeks of isolation we have facing us right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this mustn’t deter the prospect of growing your own vegetables, herbs and fruits!
It is the perfect time of year to get planting and utilise the outdoor space you have to get healthy, get outdoors, keep the kids entertained with productive out door lessons and keep yourself motivated during these difficult times.
I have therefore put together this article to help you get started.
How to grow:
- Turnips, Carrots and Radishes – Root plants, turnips grow well from clippings or leftover scraps. You just need to salvage the tops of the turnip and place in a container of water. You should notice new green tops growing in just a few days after you begin. Just allow the root to continue growing until it’s ready to be transplanted in the ground. This works with many root vegetables such as beets, turnips and even parsnips.
- Lettuce – Lettuce, Bok Choy and cabbage are relatively easy to grow from scraps. Instead of throwing out those leftover leaves, simply place them in a bowl with just a bit of water in the bottom. Keep the bowl somewhere that gets good sunlight and mist the leaves with water a couple of times each week. After 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens you can transplant your lettuce or cabbage in soil.
- Celery – Celery is one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Just cut off the bottom or base of your celery and lay it in a bowl with just a bit of warm water in the bottom. Keep the bowl in direct sunlight as long as possible each day and after about a week, you will begin to see the leaves thickening and growing along the base. When this happens, you can transplant your celery in soil and wait for it to grow to full length.
- Bean Sprouts – If you love cooking with bean sprouts you can grow them yourself as well. You just need to soak a tablespoon or so of the beans that you want to grow in a jar with shallow water. Leave this overnight and in the morning, drain the water off and put the beans back in the container. Cover the container with a towel overnight and rinse them the next morning. Keep doing this until you notice the sprouts begin to appear and then until they reach the size that you want. This works well with mung beans and wheat berries.
- Potatoes – Virtually everyone knows that potatoes can be grown from potato peelings. You need peelings that have eyes on them. Cut those peelings into two inch pieces, ensuring that there are at least two or three eyes on each piece. Allow them to dry out overnight and then simply plant them about four inches deep in your soil. Make sure that the eyes are facing up when planting. It will take a few weeks before you see the potato plant begin to grow
- Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes can be grown much like regular potatoes. You just have to cut the sweet potato in half and suspend it using toothpicks above a container of shallow water. Roots will begin to appear in just a few days and sprouts will be seen on top of the potato around that same time. Once those sprouts reach about four inches or so in length, just twist them off and place them in a container of water. When the roots from this container reach about an inch in length, you can plant them in soil.
- Ginger – Ginger root is very easy to grow and once you get started, you can keep your supply of ginger full. You just need to plant a spare piece of your ginger root in potting soil, making sure that the buds are facing up. You will notice new shoots and new roots in about a week or so and once this happens you can pull it up and use it again. Remember to save a piece of the rhizome so that you can replant it and grow more for the next time you need it.
- Garlic – Garlic is really easy to grow and can be done from just one clove. When you buy garlic, you get several cloves so just pull one off and plant it with the roots facing down in potting soil. Garlic likes plenty of direct sunlight so in warmer weather, keep it outdoors in the sun during the day. Once you notice that new shoots have established, cut the shoots back and your plant will produce a bulb. You can take part of this new bulb and plant again.
- Onions – Onions are very easy to grow indoors or out. You just have to cut the root of the onion off and make sure that you leave about a half an inch of onion when you do. Cover lightly with potting soil and keep in a sunny area. For green onions, simply put the white base with the roots intact in a container of water and place in direct sunlight. Change the water out every few days and the green will continue to grow. Just snip what you need and allow it to grow as long as you like.
- Peppers – You can grow a number of hot peppers from the seeds that are leftover. Just collect the seeds from your habaneros, jalapenos or any other peppers that you have on hand. Plant them in potting soil and keep in direct sunlight unless it is warm outside and then you can just plant them in your garden area. Peppers grow relatively fast and don’t require a lot of care. Once you get a new crop, just save some of the seeds for replanting again.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes can be grown just by saving those seeds that you probably throw out anyway. You just have to rinse the seeds and allow them to dry. Plant in a good, rich potting soil until you notice growth coming in. Allow the seeds to get a few inches high before transplanting them outdoors. During cold weather you can grow your tomatoes indoors. Just remember to keep them in an area that gets plenty of sunlight and water a few times each week.
- Basil – Basil is relatively easy to regrow. You just have to have a stem about four inches high. Place this stem in a glass of water with the leaves well above the water line. Leave the glass sitting in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Roots should begin to form in a few days and when those roots reach a couple of inches long, you can transplant them in soil.
- Coriander – Coriander can be grown from scraps as well. Just place the bottom of the stem in a glass of water and leave in a bright area, near a windowsill perhaps. When the roots grow a couple of inches long, you can transplant the coriander into a pot and you will notice new sprigs in just a few weeks.
I hope you have found this useful and enjoy being productive and growing your own vegetables to enjoy later in the year. Once you have tasted your own home grown veg, the shop bought versions just wont be the same!
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