Mrs Flowerpots Roots & Shoots

This month – Gardening from scraps!

It’s a difficult time right now and lots of gardeners are taking solace in their plot. But we’re seeing a whole new group of people coming to gardening by an unusual route. With more people quarantined at home right now, trips out to garden centres falling under ‘unnecessary journeys’, and empty shelves at the supermarket, people are wondering if there’s anything they can grow easily at home with limited specialist supplies.

The answer is yes, and it’s possible with minimal equipment to set up some home-grown produce on a windowsill or balcony. It’s something fun to with the kids too. You don’t need flowerpots; yogurt pots and ice-cream tubs will do. For something deeper chop the tops of 2 litre milk cartons. Be as creative as you like – just punch a couple of drainage holes in the bases.

Garlic – If you can spare a couple of cloves of garlic you can plant them and grow your own garlic bulbs! Put the pots of planted garlic in full sun. They will sprout and send up a stalk. Chop this off and the bulb will then put all of its energy into growing large bulbs.

Potatoes – Cut about one-inch of a chunk from a potato that includes 1-2 eyes. Let it dry out for a day or two then plant with the eyes facing upwards. 

Pumpkins and squashes – these grow fairly easily from seeds found in the centre of the gourd. 

Scallions / Spring onions – Cut off the last couple of centimetres of each onion leaving the bulb and roots. Plant in a pot, leaving a portion of each stem sticking out above the soil. Water regularly, and the onions will start growing. Harvest the green portion of the plant, and it will continue to regrow more greens. You can do this 2-3 times before needing to plant more bulbs.

Carrots – Carrot tops can be placed in shallow water in a saucer and will sprout tasty greens. You can use these to make a carrot-top green pesto. You can also regrow the plant by cutting a couple of centimetres from the top of a carrot. Stick a toothpick into either side of the carrot stump and balance it on top of a small glass. Fill the glass with water so that the liquid barely touches the bottom edge of the stump. Set this glass on a windowsill out of direct sunlight. Add water as it evaporates, and roots will sprout from the carrot edge. Plant it out in a pot.

Romaine – This lettuce has narrow leaves that form a tall head. Cut off a couple of centimetres from the bottom of the romaine stalk, place it in water and after a week or so roots will form. When they are slightly longer than the leaves growing from the top you and plant it out. To harvest, pick the outer leaves leaving the inner leaves. It should keep producing for months.

Happy scrappy gardening!