I bet you’ve heard the term ‘true leaves’ tossed around in the gardening community like common every day jargon. But if you’re new to gardening, the term may not be as obvious as experienced gardeners may think. Recognizing true leaves on your tiny seedlings and understanding what to do when they appear is critical to the success of your seed starting efforts.
I gain a lot of inspiration from my fellow gardeners on Instagram and Facebook. Over the summer, I saw so many fellow gardeners on Instagram re-growing veggies like celery, onions and leafy greens from kitchen scraps. Yep, the base of the stalk that normally gets tossed into the compost bin can be regrown into another plant. It looked so simple, yet such a fun experiment!
Recently, I picked up a bunch of komatsuna greens from the farmer’s market. I had never even heard of komatsuna before, but their deep green color and sturdy looking leaves caught my eye as I walked by. A large bunch was only $3, so I couldn’t resist giving this newbie a try.
Typically, I sauté my leafy greens in a little extra virgin olive oil, with sea salt, garlic and few spices. So naturally I did the same for the komatsuna. OMG! These were the most delicious greens I had ever prepared. Sadly I only bought one bunch. But, I knew I could try to grow more using the steps I had seen others follow to regrow veggies from scraps.
How to regrow kitchen scraps
- Save the base of the stalk from celery, green onions, or leafy greens.
- Sit the base in a shallow container filled with clean water.
- Place the container in a windowsill or an area that gets plenty of sunlight.
- Change the water every other day.
- Watch leaves emerge from the center of the stalk.
- Watch roots grow from the base of the stalk.
- Once roots are long and healthy looking, transplant to organic soil.
This was experiment was really amazing to watch unfold. Save your kitchen veggie scraps and give it a try!
Peace and zen,
Basil is one of my favorite herbs to grow. It’s an easy plant to grow indoors and out. I have a pot of basil growing right outside my kitchen and it requires very little maintenance which is perfect for my busy schedule. The most I have to do, other than an occasional watering when Mother Nature needs help, is to pinch off the tiny flowers that bloom every few days.
I usually look in on my herb garden in the morning before work while sipping my coffee. Generally only 2-3 flowers need pruning, which only takes a couple of minutes, and adds a few minutes of calm before the start of my day.
When plants flower, they use up energy to produce seeds that would otherwise be used to grow leaves. So if left alone, the stems with flowers will grow tall and leggy with sparse leaves. But if you snip off the flowers, the stems branch off and the plants grows fuller and bushier because it’s now refocused on producing more leaves.
It’s amazing to see the new shoots grow and transform your plant into a bushy, delicious version of itself. I find all kinds of ways to use my basil leaves. Of course, there’s pesto and pasta sauce. I also add fresh basil on top of my homemade pizzas and sprinkled along with garlic on oven roasted tomatoes.
On hot summer days, I love to prepare infused water. I simply fill a large Mason jar with water, add cucumbers and fresh basil leaves and refrigerate for a couple of hours. It’s so refreshing – and reminds me of beverages I’ve had at a spa. When I finish drinking the whole jar, I refill it with water and refrigerate again. It’s just as good the second time around!
When I grow more basil than I can eat, I either give it to my mom, freeze it or dry it. I hate waste, so throwing out excess basil is a last resort. But on the occasion that I do need to toss out some, it goes into my compost bin to make “black gold” for next year’s garden.
What tips do YOU have for growing basil? Do tell….
Peace and zen,