Guest post and illustrations by Ilana Stein, author and illustrator of ShanaBagina
Writing this post didn’t require leaving home, and starting your own garden doesn’t either. Abundance exists everywhere, even in these strange days.
This blog post will tell you how you can sprout spices, legumes, fruit seeds, and more! Do a kitchen round-up: open your fridge, rummage through your cabinets, and pull out seeds, legumes, roots, and more to see how they can grow!
1 – Legumes
Lentils, beans, and basically any whole seeds still in their husk are suitable for sprouting sprouts that you can eat right away (like with lentils), or planting to grow into potted plants (like with larger beans), where they will become a plant and yield pods, including new seeds.
Most legumes are easy to grow, sprout quickly, and grow in an instant (remember Jack and the Beanstalk? The story is based on the wonderful growth capabilities of the peas or beans).
The Spring is a great season to start growing beans of all kinds.
To get the best results, we recommend planting good-looking seeds (smooth skin, full-bodied), less than 1-2 years old that have been stored in a closed container. Soak them in a wet paper towel for a few days, and when a small sprout starts to form, place them in a deep planter (30 cm or more). When the stalk breaks through the soil and starts to grow tall, support your new plant with sticks. Bean plants like to climb.
Corn, which also belongs to the legume family, is often found in your cabinet as the main ingredient for making popcorn. Corn also belongs to the grain family and germinated quickly and beautifully, like grass. The corn plants grown from dried ‘popcorn’ seeds will yield corn plants with hard kernels suitable for making … popcorn!
2 – Spices
Many of the spices we use in the kitchen are also seeds: mustard seeds, fenugreek, chia, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, cumin, and more.
They are all beautiful and suitable for growing. Germinate them and within a few days you can enjoy the health and culinary benefits of sprouts, or you can grow them in pots and enjoy another generation of spices.
These small seeds are also great for growing as micro leaves.
3 – Fruit and Fruit Seeds
The fruit is the part of the plant that contains within it the seeds for the next generation. Even the fruit that we buy from the supermarket that we find in our kitchen.
Apples, lemons, avocados, tomatoes and pumpkins – all contain the seeds that can produce a new generation of trees or plants, and—eventually—new fruit.
Dried fruits or frozen fruits also have seeds! If your dried fruits are naturally dried and not sweetened (or lightly sweetened) – they are suitable for germinating into new plants: Goji Berry, Golden Berry, Raspberry, Blueberry.
And of course, natural nuts and almonds still in the pod can be planted for new trees.
4 – Onions
The onion is the energy storage of the plant, where it holds water and nutrients. This is also what allows the plant to develop even in the dry season. That’s why the onions in the kitchen often start to grow without you having to do anything.
The leaves that grow out of the onion (whether it’s a dry onion or a green onion) are edible, tasty and nutritious.
The method for growing an “ever-green onion” is very simple: take the bottom of the onion, the side with the roots, and place it in in water. Take care to change the water every few days, and the onion will do the rest – within a few days green leaves will appear. As the leaves start to grow they can be pruned, cut, and used. Meanwhile, the onion will continue to grow more and more new leaves.
The same can be done with garlic and leeks, and of course the bottom of “green onions” (which is basically a young onion), onions that have passed their peak, and even with half the onion that is leftover from cooking.
It is advisable to grow the onions in a pot with soil.
5 – Roots
Ginger and turmeric are undoubtedly on the list of “plants you will love to grow.”
They are large, durable (as long as the weather is hot), grow spectacular plants, and most importantly – yield more and more roots, which are themselves extremely healthy and delicious.
All you have to do is put them in a pot (preferably a medium-sized pot – large. With a depth of 30 cm or more), place in a warm, light but not too sunny place, and soon they will bring out big beautiful leaves and at the end of the summer – roots too.
Other roots that can be grown (but will need a pretty large bedding plant to yield roots) include potato, sweet potato, and Jerusalem artichoke.
Edible vegetables can also be replenished after they have been harvested or bought. Instead of throwing the leftover vegetables in the trash – keep the stubs – you can continue to grow them, and enjoy a fresh green kitchen. Below is an illustration that explains the process in a simple way.
We invite you to notice the abundance that exists everywhere, in any situation, to plant it, let it grow, and increase it. If you have vegetable scraps, eggs shells, or compostable packaging that you can’t turn into new plants, learn how to start your own home compost and create healthy soil for your new garden!