I’ve decided to undertake a big project this year, I want to grow a whole lot of vegetables! I have plenty of gardening space at our new house, and it will help keep me occupied while my husband is on the road.
Most people think of organic gardening and immediately envision huge costs and a high level of maintenance. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m getting most of my seeds from food that I purchase to consume. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right, I’m taking the seeds out of food bought straight from the store! Organic, heirloom fruits would be best, but any old fruit with seeds will do. (Quick definition…a “vegetable” is a leaf or stem that you eat, a “fruit” is any part of the plant that flowers and then turns into the food you eat…think tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, etc. I know, it’s confusing, because they’re marketed as vegetables!)
So anyway, as I said, I’m taking the seeds from the fruit I buy to plant. But that’s only where the money saving begins! You know what I’m going to plant those seeds in? Potting soil? Seed starter mix? Pearlite? Peat moss? Nope, nope, nope, and nope! I’m using regular old dirt from the garden I will be eventually planting them in! And no, I won’t be baking it first to kill the bacteria. Why? I’ll tell you! What has nature been doing since the existence of plants on this planet? Dropping seeds to the ground, so they can take root and grow into new plants that will flower, fruit, and drop more seeds. They don’t need potting soil or specially formulated plant food, so why should I? Yes, some seeds won’t germinate. Some seedlings will die. But that’s survival of the fittest. That will ensure that the plants that do make it will not only survive, but thrive. They will be stronger and healthier and produce more fruit.
Oh yes, and don’t forget potatoes. Did your grandma ever put a potato on her windowsill in the kitchen? If so, she was probably letting it sprout. Yes, you can sprout a new potato plant from a single potato, bought from the store. If you put it in water, like this, it’ll sprout even faster:
Once it sprouts, you can plant it straight in the ground and it’ll grow into a big plant. One potato plant can grow many potatoes, and if you keep the root system intact as you dig out the potatoes you want to harvest, the plant will keep producing more potatoes.
As you can see, I’m also sprouting celery. After you’ve cut off the celery you’re going to use, you can put the whole end in water and it will grow roots and begin to grow new celery! This can then be transplanted to the garden as well. The same can be done with various lettuce, if you have the whole head. You can also sprout individual garlic cloves and onions! When you have established your garden, all you do is take individual lettuce leaves or celery stalks as needed, and remember to always sprout at least one garlic clove for each bulb you take out of the ground. And you can save seeds from all your fruit. Just scrape them out, put them on a paper towel to dry, then place them in a freezer baggie or container (don’t forget to label them!), and store them in the freezer. Think of all the plants you would have if you did this for an entire season? You would probably never have to buy certain vegetables or fruit ever again!
If you plant certain things together in your garden, you will radically reduce or eliminate common garden pests. And weeds can be easily pulled when they are babies if you are diligent about checking while watering. There really is no need for any pesticide or herbicides.
Now that you know how easy and inexpensive an organic garden can be, don’t you want to try, too? I will be planting some seeds today with my kids, so stay tuned for the sequel to this post. We are going to experiment with various recycled seed starters, some biodegradable.