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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sprouting a Kitchen Garden.

Our kitchen windowsill becomes a makeshift greenhouse every spring as the kids and I attempt to grow various fruits and vegetables to see what happens. We have had lots of successes, and more than a few failures, but we always have fun! Here is what you will need to start your own:

Various vegetable and fruit (seeds and cuttings or whole pieces)—Drinking glasses, recycled glass jars, plastic sandwich bags, or small plant containers—Paper towels—Toothpicks—Potting soil

Sprouting beans
Lima beans are probably my favorites because they sprout very fast and grow rapidly. In order to watch them sprout, (which is always a lot of fun) wet a paper towel and slip it into a plastic sandwich baggie. Slip one lima bean in between the side of the baggie and the paper towel and close. Hang somewhere out of direct sunlight, or the bean will get too hot and cook. Check the paper towel daily and water if it appears to be drying out. In about a week, you’ll see it start to sprout!

Carrots or Parsnips
In order to get these veggies to grow into a beautiful plant, you need to cut off the top (about ½ an inch) and place the flat side down into a shallow bowl. Pour enough water to almost cover and place in a dark area for a few days until it sprouts. Move the plant into the light. Replant into larger pots with potting soil when it becomes large enough.

White or Sweet Potato
Potatoes are always fun to plant because their roots are just as interesting to watch as their leaves. Put three toothpicks into the center of your potato (medium sized works well) and hang on the opening of a drinking glass. Make sure you fill the glass with enough water so that it covers the bottom of the potato. Add fresh water each day and you should see sprouts in about a week.

Orange or Apple Seeds and Peach Pits
These kinds of seeds can be tricky to sprout and it has always been hit or miss with us, but with a little experimenting, we have found that the trick to it is to keep things consistently moist. To plant, rinse and pat dry. Fill a container with potting soil and bury seeds or pit about ½ inch into the soil. Pour in enough water to dampen the soil—be careful not to soak it.

The trick to get them to sprout is to put the entire pot into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap. Place the pot in a dark place until you see sprouts. Once the plant sprouts, water and place in a sunny spot. Water when dry and enjoy!  
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