Starting Seeds and Indoor Plants

With all the cold weather keeping us down, let’s talk about something that can brighten the inside of your house, increase oxygen, and lift your spirits in the wasteland that is winter. Growing things!

-As an aside, we’ve decided that our Game of Thrones house words would be “If you plant it, it will grow” I’ll be working on crafts with these words in the future.-

To start the seeds I used solo cups that I have already in my house from past garden parties.  The cups are ok to plant if they’re ok for food. First I punched holes into the bottom using a steak knife (probably should have used the box cutter). Just one or two small holes are needed for drainage. Then I filled the cups with a mixture of 1/2 last year’s soil and 1/2 compost. Since we do not monitor if seeds make it into our compost there is always a small chance that I’m growing compost seeds instead of the seeds I want.  It is important to fill the cups all the way to the top so that there is not stagnant air trying to cause mold on my soil.

Did I jump the gun on starting my seeds? Very possible as snow is heavy on the ground and it is freezing outside. Do I care? Maybe.

wpid-20150219_072452.jpg

Then, according to planting instructions on my seed packets I put in the seeds to the correct depth, sprayed a bit of water and set in our indoor growing area. Shown below is the start of some of the seeds doing well.

wpid-20150219_072503.jpg

The indoor planting area has all the plants that cannot last the winter plus my indoor green onions that I cover here: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/regrow-green-onions-at-home/ and an indoor parsley plant that we use in our juice (which is supposed to remove heavy metals from your system, and tastes fresh.)

The tall plant to the left is an avocado that started growing in our compost. This is the second, larger pot that it’s been in. Let it act as a friendly reminder to cut avocado seeds in half before adding them to compost. The avocado is more of an experiment to see if we can actually grow the avocado in our climate. It will likely remain only in pots so that we can bring it indoors each winter. The plant has also had pests twice so far that we removed with a wet paper towel, the pests did not move to the other plants.

On the back right is what my grandparents call a “night blooming sierra” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night-blooming_cereus, this is grown from a clipping from their plant. It does NOT last in cold weather which we learned from killing our last one when we left it out a bit too late in fall.

I actually forget what the plant is called in the front right is called, but it is another gift from my grandparent’s indoor garden.

wpid-20150219_072515.jpg

The lights are a combination of grow lamps that can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes. They are on a wall plug timer which starts at 7am and turns off at 8pm. We feed the plants with a combination of indoor plant food and coffee grounds.

wpid-20150219_072526.jpg

I also have several plants that only use regular daylight next to windows throughout the house: three hanging vine plants in the kitchen, a few succulents in the living room, plus my aloe and bamboo plant that are shown here: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/revamp-a-stool/. Indoor plants really make a difference in the flow of a household. Be sure all plants are cat/dog friendly if your animals like to chew.

Regrow Green Onions at Home

Green Onions!!!!! are one of my favorite foods. Did you know that you can grow the grocery store green onions in your own home? Simply buy a bunch or two, cut from 1-1/2 inch from the roots, and plant.

First option is to grow in a glass (or wine glass for aesthetic reasons) with less than 1/2 inch of water. If you do not add any plant food, you will get 1-2 sets of new growth before it wilts. I have used indoor plant food (just a tiny bit) or coffee grounds (a pinch) to feed my onions and results are better.  I’ve also used left over flower food that they attach to bouquets.  It is easy to flood the onions and cause mold. If you’re just trying it out, I’d go with minimal water and monitor closely to refill. If you are lazy and will forget, just make sure only the roots are covered with water. The image shown below is the first growth after the initial cut.

wpid-20150218_190720.jpg

Another option is to plant the green onions into a pot. I used a mix of potting soil left over from the summer and some of our compost, with a few extra coffee grounds on top. I then punched a hole with my finger, put in the onion with the top exposed and pushed dirt around the plant so that the onion was tucked in nicely. Shown below are the onions after first new growth from the original cut. Half of the onions were harvested for last night’s burritos.

I have also planted the onions outside with GREAT success in cooler weather; they last a few weeks past first frost. Green onions do not do so well in the humidity of summer though, and will wilt quickly. Over time the base of the onion will form into a bulb and these are easy to replant anywhere needed.

wpid-20150219_072441.jpg

More information on the green onion: http://www.food.com/library/green-onion-363

I’ve also had mediocre success with replanting romaine lettuce.  Cut the bottom 1-inch up and plant in a glass until new growth is 3-4 inches, then plant outside. It wasn’t quite as satisfying as the green onions because results are slower.

Also check out this post on growing your own garlic from store bought: http://aquaberrybliss.com/2015/01/10/sprouting-garlic/