Free Money In The Garden: 4/4/15

Today we talked about going into your kitchen and finding scraps and turning them into free food in your garden. It's always amazing to me how much we already have in our homes and don't even realize it. Starting a garden from your kitchen scraps is not only easy, but can be fun. Get the kids involved. The more they know where their food comes from the more they will want to eat the healthy fruits and vegetables that come from your yard and not eat those unhealthy long shelf life overly processed artery clogging heart stopping "foods" found at the grocery stores.

I call these Free Foods because you are taking something that is normally thrown out into the composter and giving it new life again. I grow Organically and try and keep my garden as Organic as I can. I feel that you get out what you put into it. If you add any kind of uncertain scraps, you may do enough to actually "taint" your soil. In some cases, the pesticides that they spray on plants while in the field are not washed off all the way can transfer into your garden. This will
add those pesticides into your soil and when you grow delicate plants like lettuce, you will actually kill them and have horrible luck. I don't know how true this is, these are just stories I heard online, read here and there, videos, documentaries, different places. I take all my knowledge in with a grain of salt only because you never really do know. With that being said, I will move on.

We can easily take some of the spices in your cupboard, add them to a bit of soil, keep it damp and watch it grow. It is that easy. As long as they haven't been sitting too long (like 100 years) and they haven't been treated in some way (heated, wet then dried, used in sauces or pickling brine) you should be able to take them right from your kitchen and go into the garden.  Some seeds you can try to grow are:

Coriander (which is Cilantro)
Mustard - I grow mine for the seeds not the greens. I think they are different plants.
Dried Beans
- I use the Organic Beans

What's that? You don't want to grow just herbs? There are other items in your kitchen that you can recreate. It's as easy as 1, 2 3. Step one, obtain your scrap. Step two, place in a shallow dish (or cup) of water (green parts above water). Step three, When you see roots, plant it in soil. Now all you do is watch it grow from there. Some scraps you can do this with include:
Onion nubs
(just the root.. the onion was used for dinner)
Fresh Basil stems
(no leaves in the water, remove them)
Fresh Cilantro stems
(see above)
Pineapple tops
(remove all the meat or it will rot)
Bok Choi
Cabbage leaves

What's that??? You want more free options from your kitchen?? How about starting the plants directly in the planter. I tend to forget about my plants sometimes when they are hidden on a counter. It happens. I am human. So rather than forget about scraps that are in a dish of water drying out, I will plant them directly into the soil to grow. I put them in a spot of my garden that I KNOW will get watered but is still protected. Check out the "In the Garden" section to see some of the ways I plant. I figure that it is all playing in the garden and if you don't have fun with it, there is no sense in doing it. Try taking some of these and plant them.. tell me what happens:
Onion roots (not too big, silver dollar size)
Garlic clove
Elephant Garlic clove

Potatoes (Organic or from Farmers Markets do best)
Sweet Potatoes (see above)
Ginger Root
Tumeric Root

Ok, ok, that's it.. right?? There couldn't possibly be more.. right?!?!?! NO!?!?!?! There is MORE.. REALLY?!?!?

So you have space. You own your home. You want to grow a tree since you are planning on being there a while. Lets grow a tree. I start all my trees the same way. I love this way. It let's you know right away if your seeds are going to grow or not. Start with clean seeds/pits. Make sure there is not too much fruit on it, some is okay. Take a zippie bag (I use snack size) write on the bag what you are putting into it and date it. Take a paper towel and dampen it (not soggy/dripping, just wet) place it in the bag and make a pocket for your seed. Place your seed into the pocket, and seal it up. I put mine on my fridge under one of the many magnets on there and wait. I check it after a week or two to see what is happening. If anything starts growing, I take it out and put it in some soil and keep damp until it gets bigger. There ya go, you just grew a tree from a seed. Pretty cool huh? Oh yeah, here are some seeds that you can play with...

Apple this will NOT produce the same apple that you ate, but what you do get will be a mystery. If you want to know what you are growing, graft onto it.
(I carefully remove the outer white membrane)
- Yes they have seeds. More on this later.

Ok, I think I am done for now. This should have given you enough ideas to get out there and get growing. I would love to hear what you have done and what works for you. Send me an email at and let me know. I would love to see pictures as well. As always, if you would like any FREE SEEDS, text the word SEEDS to 480-694-9239.

Garden Journal

Posted by Margie Aldrich on Tuesday, December 24, 2013

These are my garden beds. We have 4 of them and each season we try something different. Travis just rebuilt the one on the upper left, as you can see, he used posts for the corners (hoping to add strength and also to help in covering it. It is nice, but personally, I think it is too deep at 16" tall. Each of the garden beds are all 4' X 8'. They are great to play in and see what works and doesn't. The closest one on the left has a compost bin that was provided by the city for free. We dig a hole in the garden and place it in, surround it with soil and fill as you get kitchen scraps or yard waste. Before you know it you have compost for your trees and plants... yay... The garden bed in the upper right is my playground,... I have staked claim in this plot.... First when I was ready to plant, I put in 2 Keyhole compost tubes. Let me explain this one for a minute. I took Chicken Wire and made 2 tubes that were about 2' in diameter and about 2 1/2' high, dug a hole and stuck it in, then I filled it with kitchen scraps, yard waste, leaves, straw or whatever I had laying around to fill the hole. I then brought the soil around so when I planted in the bed, when the compost broke down it would feed the plants, as well as heat the area around it... see... I think sometimes.. I then put 1/2" tubing around the bed and then put 4 mil plastic over it being held down either by being sewn onto the tube (ends) or clipping with large clips (see picture). I love this bed.. and can't wait to see all that it will produce for us.

Thanks for stopping by and reading a bit on my garden. I look forward to giving more info on what I have learned so far. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Tags: myorganicagent "my organic agent" margie aldrich "margie aldrich" "in the garden" garden journal "garden journal" arizona "arizona garden" 


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