02 May 2008

My Lush, Expansive Garden Vol. 2: Sprouted Grocery Store Produce

Sprouted grocery store garlic, when I plant them, almost always send up four leaves, then die. When uprooted after the four leaves have died, there's usually a brand new protohead about the same size as the original clove, which I then eat as if it were a clove.

This time around I actually gave them a real pot with real drainage in the hopes they would do better. Unfortunately I also didn't bother to separate the individual cloves. I only found two protoheads. Next time I'll separate the cloves into separate pots and water a lot less.

I tried a sprouted onion before the garlic (same pot), but it never formed roots at all. It had probably sat too long in the fridge before I got around to planting it. I had great success with a sprouted potato one time but unfortunately it drowned in a heavy rainstorm - which was just as well, as their thick stems were all kinds of scary to my plants phobia. The one time I tried planting a sprouted carrot top, something ate all the leaves just as it started thriving.

Meanwhile, my chives are doing quite well. These also came from the grocery store, but as live plants in small pots with soil. They've reached the point where they'll suck up all the water I put into the bottom of the self-watering pot in a few minutes, which means it's time to give them a bigger pot again.

Yesterday I replaced the garlic with some grocery store basil. Hopefully these will do as well as the chives.


Michelle K said...

The chives look like the may need thinned--i.e. EAT THEM!

The basil looks very nice too--not too leggy and big wide leaves.

For future reference, you may want to try oregano over basil; mine at least has grown for several years, whereas the basil lasts a couple months and then is done.

Assuming you like oregano that is. :)

kimby said...

Good timing with this post, as tomorrow I take my first step into growing my own herbs. I am tired of running to my brother-the chef to borrow every time I run out of basil. I am sure he will appreciate me having my own as well.
I am container planting, so my question is...do I need to plant them in separate containers, as it appears you have done..or can I do them all in a large box type?

MWT said...

I'll defer to Michelle as our resident gardening expert. ;) I have no idea - as you might gather from my post, I'm kind of more of a "gee I wonder what happens if I do X" type of gardener.

I'll get some oregano if the basil dies off. ;) What does "leggy" mean exactly?

Michelle K said...


You can put them in a single long container if you like, and they'll do fine.

However, some herbs overwinter and others don't (Rosemary can survive if given enough light, as can chives and oregano. Also lemon thyme and sage do okay with enough light)

So if you have enough window space and get enough light, you might not want them all in the same box if you're going to try and get some to survive inside over the winter.

Leggy is what happens when a plant doesn't get enough light. It gets long spindly stems with sparse leaves. Your basil looks to be the opposite of leggy. :)

Almost all my indoor plants get leggy in the winter, and so I trim them back hard in spring, so they grow in full over the summer.

So right now all my outside plants look extremely pathetic.

Also, think of garlic like other kinds of bulbs--it typically needs cold temperatures to grow, which is why it is typically planted in the fall, which is why I've never grown any, because I inevitably forget to plant it at the end of the summer.

Brianna said...

That is indeed a wide leaf green basil (as opposed to ones with smaller leaves, odd flavours, and/or different colours *grin*)
And michelle, basil is an annual, while oregano is a perennial. Lemon thyme and rosemary are tender perennials, i.e. pretty much what that sounds like, they will grow for multiple years, but don't take cold well. Rosemary is in fact a tree if you can manage to grow it that long. I'm not personally fond enough of sage to try and grow it. *sigh* I miss lovage though but you can't grow that in a pot; it has a tap root (very long). Most herbs should manage together in a box if there is enough room, except for mint which is inclined to take over. There are several very tasty mints though, worth the extra pot. (I have a black thumb, but I know a bit about herbs since I used to work at an internationally known herb place.)

Michelle K said...

Lemon thyme and rosemary will actually overwinter here as long as they're well covered.

Since Rosemary is not zone 5 hardy, I'll keep trimming it back so I can cover it in leaves again in the fall to help it survive.

I'm not that thrilled about sage, but it's very good in stock, and in stuffing, and it's a pretty plant, so it's worth keeping.

The problem with mint is that if you're not careful with it, it can take over, because it's pretty aggressive. I planted mint in an area we can't easily get to and mow. We can just go in with a wed eater, and then we'll have even more mint!