The Not-So Starving Student—Grow Your Food in the Kitchen

It’s spring time, the time for gardening, the time for getting outdoors will be soon upon us (give or take a month for Canadians).  Fortunately, for those with allergies or who are less outdoorsy, such as myself, gardening can be less taxing when done in the comfort of your kitchen.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m talking about home gardens.  For AU students, this could be especially useful if you’re looking to save yourself a trip to the grocery store or the rising cost of some produce.

Many who might be interested at the idea of starting a home garden are held back by barriers such as preparing your own supplies or the hassle of maintaining cleanliness.  But once an effective ecosystem is created, the maintenance is quite minor, requiring only the occasional watering.  The second biggest question that might be asked is “what should I grow?”.  There are so many possibilities! You might be worried flowering plants create pollen or that plants require trimming.  Fear no more! We have a perfect list of essential homegrown herbs and produce that are fuss-free and even more delicious on your plate.  It’s thyme to start growing!

Herbs

Garlic Sprouts

Garlic sprouts are one of the easiest to grow for beginners in the kitchen.  Having grown garlic sprouts in the kitchen since I was a child, I can say that there’s very little chance of error.  You simply plot a few cloves of garlic in a yogurt container as seen here, sprinkle some water and wait for it to sprout.  I like using the sprouts for stir fry.

Basil

For those of you who have had authentic Italian pasta, you know that basil and pasta cannot be apart.  Basil adds a fragrant touch to anything served in a salad bowl or on a pasta plate.  Start by adding some top soil to an empty jam jar or yogurt container and burying 1-2 seeds under the soil.  Next, place the jar near a window.  Basil is relatively easy to grow and to use.  After a month or two, remove a few leaves to add to your favorite dish.

Green onions

If you’ve being ordering too many green onion cakes from the local Chinese restaurant like me, this DIY is for you.  Green onions are delicious in Chinese crepes, stir fries, salads and soups.  I like to use an empty jar or cup and add water before placing a few stalks of green onion in the cup.  Always place the plant near a window, preferably facing east or west so it can absorb plenty of sunshine.

Produce

Lettuce

After using almost an entire lettuce, save the root portion with a few small leaves and place in a container with water as shown below.  In a week, you should see some new sprouts.  I find lettuce to be a bit trickier than some of the other herbs, but if done correctly (assuming you saved the right portions), it could become a fruitful addition to your kitchen.  To grow enough lettuce for a salad, try duplicating the containers and have multiple containers full of lettuce roots.  I find Romaine lettuce to be easier to grow.

Celery

Similar to lettuce, save the stump of a full stalk of celery.  The celery will sprout in about 5-8 days.  Make sure to transfer your celery to a jar with topsoil in about a week’s time to allow it to grow fully.  If you want a healthy snack without running to the supermarket, here is the best alternative.

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