Cheating My Way To An Edible Garden

Sunday, 13 July 2014

I love gardens. Their sights, scents and smells, their promises and potential. Ironically, I don’t seem to have the green fingers to contribute to growing things well. :( I’ve tried planting seeds, and always manage to kill them off just when they start to sprout .

So after many a sad, barren pot of soil, I tried a different way of planting herbs—I bought bundles of them from the supermarket vegetable shelves, and put them in the soil back home. The results have been promising! Here are some examples that have worked so far.

140713-mint

I’m quite certain that these are spearmint leaves, because of their more rounded shape compared to peppermint. I bought a relatively fresh looking bundle of them from the supermarket and literally just stuck them into a trough of soil. The larger leaves are from a batch from 1 month ago, and it has taken them this long to stabilise and flourish. And you can see that something has already found the leaves to be a good snack! :p The wilted stem you see on the right of the photo is a recent cutting I put in 3 days back. New shoots will appear from along the stem soon. One has actually sprouted new leaves already, but I didn’t manage to capture them in this shot.

140713-thai-basil

This thai basil stalk is about 5 months old. It was from one grocery run where I couldn’t finish all the thai basil I bought for a dish, so Chanrany took the remainders and tried her luck at making them take root in a pot. It has since been nearly completely eaten by pests, made an abrupt recovery after it was treated with a simple soap water and essential oil bug spray over 3 days, and is now thriving. It’s a really hardy plant that requires very little care beyond watering every other day. Shortly after this one was planted, another stalk of thai basil sprouted in another trough of soil a couple of feet away. Don’t know how that happened, but I’m not complaining! We use the leaves for stir frying with chicken and cashewnuts every now and then.

140713-spring-onions

Spring onions! These recovered from wilting very quickly (1 day) because their roots were completely intact when I bought them at the supermarket. I didn’t know they flower so prettily! When I get my point and shoot camera back from repairs I hope I’ll still have the chance to photograph the clusters of tiny white flowers at the tips of each stalk. It’s been 5 days since these were planted. You can see the yellowed stalks at the bottom of the plant - will trim them and see what happens. Would you believe that the tallest stalks are about a foot and a half tall?

140713-parsley

Flat leaf parsley. These also had their roots intact, but they haven’t been thriving. This pot is about 3 months old I think. The leaves regrew, but aren’t nearly as large nor as lush as they were originally. I think it’s because they’re still adapting to a much sunnier and warmer climate compared to where they originally sprouted (perhaps in Camerons?). The stems at the bottom are now woody instead of green. Will continue nourishing them with natural fertiliser (ours is goat dung) and see how they progress.

In hindsight, I think one of my main mistakes with this parsley was that I didn’t pat down the soil much more firmly when they were first transplanted. I learned from this, and began packing down soil for other transplanted shoots and small shrubs ever since. Those seem to have fared much better.

140713-pumpkin

Now this is an odd one out—3 pumpkin plants sprouted from the seeds of a slice of organic pumpkin bought about a month back. They look really healthy! I think it’s time to transplant them into the ground though, seeing that they’re creepers and their roots probably need a bit more room to grow now.

I’m looking forward to putting these little green things into our dishes soon, and to see how well they’ll continue growing to continue lending their flavours to our kitchen. And hopefully I’m getting better at planting things.

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