Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Edible plants that are easy to grow at home

For those who love to cook and would like to exercise their green thumb, growing your own herbs and vegetables at home is a great idea. It’s easy and fun, and you don’t have to worry about what pesticides have been used on your food. 

Contrary to what many think, growing your own herbs and vegetables is not expensive and doesn’t require a lot of space as you can easily grow them in containers that can fit in your kitchen or the garden. 

Here are some edible plants that can be grown easily in your kitchen or your backyard. 
1. Chili – Usually bought already as a seedling, chili plants grow easily in warm, sunny climates. You can also use the seeds removed from store bought chilis and plant them directly into the soil.  Chilis do not need much water so just make sure to dampen the soil every day. Also, chilis come in a variety of colors and spice-levels so don’t hesitate to ask for more information from your local gardener or flower nursery. 

2. Calamansi – A citrus fruit native to the Philippines, calamansi is not only used in many local dishes but it is believed to bring good luck which is why many calamansi trees are cultivated indoors. Homeowners enjoy having them inside as well because the blossoms emit a nice, fresh fragrance.  

For this type of plant, it is easier to grow a seedling bought from the nursery. And once they grow a little bigger in size, transfer them to a more spacious location in the garden. Depending on the variety, calamansi trees can grow up to five feet. 

3. Mung beans– Many remember growing these in plastic cups for a science project in high school, but you can actually grow them for home use. Fill one third of a mason jar of dried beans and the rest with water.  Let it soak overnight and then remove the water the next day. Place the mason jar with the pre-soaked beans in a dark, gloomy area; not under direct sunlight. Remove any excess water that you see every night as leaving it will encourage mold. Within 3 to 5 days, enjoy  the freshly grown sprouts. Aside from mung beans you can use other sprouting seeds like alfalfa. 

4. Fragrant herbs – Peppermint, dill, coriander, basil. The list is endless. There are so many fragrant herbs to use for your meals. Herbs can be purchased as seeds in packets or as seedlings already potted in containers. Place them by a sunny window or under direct sunlight. 

5. Mushrooms – Buy prepared bags of compost that are mixed with mushroom spawn. Place in a pan with a few inches of soil and leave in a dark, draft-free place such as a cupboard or tool shed. Mushrooms sprout quickly and can be grown year round. Enjoy these flavorful morsels with many of your dishes. 


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