I posted this picture on my Instagram account the other day and a comment from one of my followers who wanted to know more about FREE FOOD prompted this blog post.
You see I love free food! I practice the frugal art of seed saving from every vegetable that I prepare for dinner that has seeds hidden inside. They are meticulously scraped out, dried in the sun and packed into labeled envelopes or planted out in cartons, pots or trays on the window sill.
And you should also see my Amazing Poo Plant! Firstly you need to know that I have not had any luck growing tomatoes, the regular kind that you chop up for salsa, slice for a sandwich and fry up with bacon and eggs, although the cherry kind grow all over the place with gay abandon. Those big, juicy, ruby, orbs of deliciousness start out strong and one by one the leave go yellow and drop off, just about right when the first yellow flowers start to open signalling the promise of fruit to come. BUT, I have the most healthy, beanstalk-esk tomato plant that just “happened” all by itself from what I imagine was the defecation of a passing winged delivery bird. This plant defies the gardening laws of care and attention, regular watering and fertilising. It exists because it wants to, and has so far approximately thirty, large and still slightly underripe tomatoes dangling from its limbs. That’s the sort of free food I love!
Another free food that we can all get our hands on, comes from the re-sprouting of many store or market bought produce that come complete with its own set of roots attached. Veggies like hydroponically grown lettuce, celery, shallots/spring onions, leeks, fresh herbs once harvested and used for cooking their nether regions still in tact can be stuck in a shallow glass of water and left for a week on the window sill to see if they will regrow. Once that fact is established and there are at least some leaves or stalks left to aid photosynthesis, they can be planted out in the garden to go on producing more precious free food!.
Bulbs like garlic and ginger, once they start to sprout can be placed in shallow soil and if tended to will produce prolifically.
Rosemary in particular can grow from a cutting and boy if you want some of that then give me a call because I have the largest healthiest rosemary growing in my herb garden that is just about due for a haircut. Instead of going out and buying expensive rooting compound to dunk the cut ends in, try organic honey! Apparently (surely because of some scientific principle) some miraculous transformation happens and the rosemary will sprout roots once dunked and planted in soil.
In the same space as my Amazing Poo Plant, is a pineapple top that I placed there about 18 months ago and is a massive specimen of sharp, pointed leaves, although slowly being overtaken by the huge tomato it is poised to deliver a FREE pineapple over the next six months. I would suggest that if you want a pineapple to grow from the discarded spiky top of a store bought one, two years does seem like an inordinate amount of time to tend for it and wait, don’t you think?
Onions that have been left in a dark recess of your pantry, perhaps rolled behind a box of cereal and got themselves lost, once discovered with green stalk sprouting can be planted in the ground and will produce a fluffy white flower at the end of a metre long stalk that if you wait until it dries can be cut off, wrapped in a paper bag and shaken to produce hundreds of seeds which are potentially hundreds of FREE onion plants.
So there you have it, perhaps you have stories of some free food experiments of your own. If so then please share in the comments so we can all learn something. If not then give some of these ones I’ve listed a try. Anything lovingly homegrown tastes far more sweeter than those that come from the store and you get to get down and dirty in the garden, one of my favourite pastimes.