Thursday, January 22, 2009

Winter Gardening Fun Starts Now

It's January, and with the days getting longer and the sun streaming in and warming my windowsill the urge to grow something is strong. . . I began to look around for ideas. . . What could I grow indoors at this time of year other than the usual leafy tropical plant or cactus? The answer came in the form of a book titled "Don't Throw It, Grow It! 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps" (2008) by Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam, from Storey, America's Garden Publisher. (all books bought through Water Once A Week go to supporting the website)

Curious about growing plants from my kitchen scraps, I peeked inside.

Last year I tried to sprout an avocado pit by suspending it in a glass of water, but it refused to co-operate. . .(You have to be persistent for success with plants and if your first attempts don't bear fruit, find out where you went wrong. Learn from the experts.)

With this in mind I turned to page 46-47 to AVOCADO persea species, Lauraceae, which they've labelled as Easy. "The avocado can become one of the most beautiful plants in your home." The book suggests planting several pits in a large container--a 36" barrel-- to produce a refreshing grove at the end of your living room. Flipping the pages for more ideas, I began to feel inspired. The author's illustrated instructions were straightforward and easy to follow. All I needed to do to get started was save the pits and seeds from everyday produce I buy from the supermarket. The 68 ideas for growing fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices. . .all from kitchen scraps looked like a fun project to occupy me. . .satisfy my winter urge to plant something. . .and it offered a nice distraction from the snow outside. . . So I added avocado to my shopping list and resolved to try again.

Using the Sphagnum Bag Method, the author was able to germinate her avocado pit in a few weeks time. . . (Now this is her "Secret Method" so get her book for explanation, plus other easy-to-do growing methods).
"When the roots are 3 to 4 inches long, transfer the avocado to a pot 1 inch larger than the pit. Fill the pot one-third full with potting soil. Gently place the pit on the soil and fill enough soil around it so that half the pit is exposed at the top."

Well, are you inspired yet? Do avocados turn you off? . . .How about a nice quick-growing Peanut Bush from seed? It grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet and blooms yellow flowers that look like small peas and its leaves fold up into a sleeping position at night. To grow this one you'll need a sunny window and fresh, unroasted peanuts. Please see TOP OF PAGE for more about this book.

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