How To Grow A Garden From Your Leftovers
It is a satisfying intellectual challenge to see how many ways you can find to use your food leftovers in a productive way, rather than throwing them in the trash. (If you want to learn more ways, check out my post on fruit, veggie, and spice dyes.) Rather than create more trash in this world and create more beauty in this world, I decided to create a garden from my food leftovers. Discovery came from the process. Here is all you need to know to create your own garden from the grocery store (saves the cost of nursery seeds too!):
Cut cross-sections about an inch wide that includes at least one eye of the potato. Place each slice, eye facing up, about an eight of an inch into potting soil. Potatoes that have been left too long in the pantry and have withered or sprouted are good to use. The potato can be any variety you wish: fingerlings, purples, red, russet. For information on the benefits of each variety in cooking, check out this post on gardeners.com. My dad’s family would cut one-half of a potato with the eye on the top, stick 3 toothpicks in the fleshy, cut bottom and sink it into water that goes up to half of the potato. Let it sit in your kitchen windowsill for a couple weeks, and you’ll have a vibrant, beautiful potato with sprouts and roots that fill the container.
I baked acorn squash with brown sugar and butter in the oven for dessert one night, and when I do that I usually take out the seeds, wash them, dry them, sprinkle olive oil and salt over them, and spread them on a cookie sheet in the oven to roast them. But this time, I decided to do something a little more lasting, I saved the seeds (with some of the squash flesh still attached, presumably for nutrients while the seeds germinated) in a small, closed tupperware, where they filled 3/4ths of the container. Unfortunately, I stored them in a corner of my house and completely forgot about them for about three weeks. When I uncovered them, they had been hidden under a shirt (creative minds are messy, I like to tell myself) and the top half of the seeds had germinated, growing stems quite nicely, while the bottom half had slightly broken down into a softer, fibrous mat, as if the upper seeds had created soil from its own kind. The container was muggy. I immediately planted them into potters and the plants have flourished. I watched the appearance of two, facing round smooth and white veined cotyledon leaves, and the later appearance of a heart shaped leaves on the plants. You can graft the cotyledon leaves if you do not have enough seeds.
Stay-tuned for more plants grown from your leftovers.
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