Your Own WHAT!?

Something that’s easier to do than you think is to have your own garden. I may live in sunny Miami with a lengthy growing season but my apartment is high above the ground where the growing usually happens. This is an awesome project if you have kids or something that can improve your cooking just because you’ve got a fresh ingredient. I’ve got two 24 inch planters on my balcony each with basil (Thai and traditional) bell pepper, eggplant, and cherry tomato plants (cherry is an easier to manage size).

This is a good combo for spaces with lots of sun but there’s something for every kitchen window (plus there’s nothing wrong with a basil scented kitchen, am I right?). If you don’t have the dedication or sun to spend months growing whole plants, consider growing your own sprouts.

All you need is some screen or cheesecloth, a jar and some organic seeds. This is my adzuki beans 7 days ago (above). These babies (below) will end up on a salad I’ll eat tomorrow for lunch but they can also end up in a sandwich or in stir fry. You can’t have pad thai without mung bean sprouts as long as I’m around. This was 7 days of emptying the water from this jar (without removing the screen), rinsing 3 or 4 times with distilled water, and then devouring the freshest greens you’ll find without dirt! Be careful to keep them clean: if your hands are dirty you risk contaminating them with E. coli or worse. They should smell sweet and herbal (especially if you grow mustard greens or broccoli for spicy sprouts) as they sprout, not sour or musty.

Fun fact: you haven’t tasted a tomato until you’ve tasted one that has never been refrigerated. They lose a lot of flavor when they get cold. I hope this is an incentive for you who have never tried a really fresh tomato. Additional fun fact: sprouted seeds are rich in essential amino acids. These are the amino acids that your body can’t make itself and you have to get from your food. These are high nutrient, cholesterol free, low calorie and great to cook with or just as a snack. Good luck with that green thumb!

This is Christie, signing off!

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8 thoughts on “Your Own WHAT!?

  1. This is the second time I read today that tomatoes should not be refrigerated. I feel like a moron! I’ve always kept them in the crisper drawer. D’oh!

  2. Izzy says:

    So. You live in Miami, I live in Tampa… how the freak do you make it so the sun doesn’t freaking burn EVERYTHING? I’ve tried growing half a dozen times and no matter what I do I come home to dry soil and burnt leaves.

    Do you grow over the winter?

    • Kinenchen says:

      I do grow over the winter. My current planters are a pale gray plastic, I leave about 6 inches of room between the top of the planter and the soil, mostly for wind protection on my little seedlings. I fill the very bottom with crumpled newspaper sandwiched in cardboard for better moisture retention. Seeds start indoors (over Labor day weekend works well) in a soil filled ice cube tray and when they’ve got 3-4 well developed leaves (not including the cotyledons) I put them outside for a day to ‘harden off’ and then transplant. Things definitely start to get (as you describe) crispy when the temperature starts to rise. Established basil usually survives/revives even if I’m not careful about watering it daily, bell pepper and tomato plants require morning and evening water but will keep producing if I move them out of the sun… ummm. I hope that helps.

  3. I love the planter idea. I might try that before I dig up my backyard to put in a full garden. I really want to garden, it will be my project this spring.

  4. I love growing sprouts! I’ve never tried adzuki beans though, just alfalfa and smaller beans. Those look lovely!

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