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.

Transplanting From The Garden December 31, 2013

Posted by Margie Aldrich on Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Today I decided to take on the task of tending to an over seeded lettuce bed. More seeds grew than I realized and with keeping the birds out with both netting and now a hoop cover... so time to thin the plants. First off, one main reason to do this is to give the plants room to grow. Another good thing is, it will allow the plants to grow much larger and more leaves means more harvest... yay us. So how do I start?

This picture shows the plants are too close together and not getting enough light and nutrients, time to thin. I chose about a 2" section and pulled up, kinda wiggling while pulling being careful not to break the leaves.

I ended up with 8 plants. I know it doesn't look like many roots are attached, but thankfully the plant will recover, and sooner than you think. I now take my lettuce to a shaded area to work (they will wilt quickly in the heat or sun). Using a cup of water for rinsing, I cut my leaves off and placed them in a pile and placed my roots in another pile.

Here is what I ended up with 8 roots and enough lettuce for a sandwich. Put the lettuce in side to be used and get ready to plant. This will take much better if transplanted in the evenings (it gives the roots time to relax and understand what you just did to it). Fluff your bed that you are moving the lettuce to. Dig a hole and place the root as deep as it was originally in the ground... I hope you understood that... If not... take a look at this...

Here is what mine looks like. On the left I have a few transplants from 10 days ago, already growing new leaves. The middle shows 4 Beet and 1 Watermelon Radish transplants from the same time. on to the right of that are today's transplants... You know what this means right? It means that you can not only grow what you love, but when you go to thin them out, you can grow more of what you love... Just sayin... Happy Gardening all...

Tags: transplants  growing in phoenix  lettuce  beets  watermelon radish  lettuce transplants  myorganicagent  my organic agent  margie aldrich  my agent margie   


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