Introduction: Healthy and Organic Garden From Store Bought Produce
Growing an organic garden sounds overwhelming and sometimes can be, but it doesn't have to be. By using the left over waste of store produce you can quickly and easily make make your own garden that will be virtually free.
Step 1: Getting the Right Pots and Soil
The first thing to worry about is having enough space to grow your garden. I move around a lot because of my dads work, so we are usually in rentals. In order to be able to take my garden where ever I go and to reduce the amount of space needed, I chose to do my garden in pots. Pots can be expensive, so to get around this I went to my local Dollar Store to gather containers and pots for my garden.
If your budget doesn't allow you to goto to the Dollar Store then you can simply make your own pots with empty containers found around the house such as milk jugs, soda bottles, cans or even glass jars. I prefer to use the cans and plastic containers for planting because it allows me to drill drainage holes in the bottom which helps ensure your plants aren't constantly sitting in water and helps reduce molding issues.
Now that we have pots, we need soil. Most produce plants aren't too picky about their soil conditions in my experience, as long as it drains well and has lots of nutrients, it should be fine. I just picked up a bag of planting compost blend from my local hardware store and that has served me well for many different applications.
Step 2: Planting From Seed
If the produce you want to grow has seeds, then that is gonna be the fastest and easiest way to start a plant. For things like cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, or even melons like cantaloupe or watermelon, all you have to do is harvest the seeds. Take your produce of choice and cut it up like you usually would. Then find the biggest and most developed seeds you can, these will usually be closer to the center. Take the chosen seeds out and wipe any food that is still on them off. Throw away any damaged seed, you don't want any seeds that have been cut or broken. You want to dry them out in a paper towel over night.
A really good way to get your seeds to sprout fast is the paper towel method. All you need is a paper towel, sandwich bag, and a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. To make the solution take a cap of hydrogen peroxide and pour it in to a 500 ml (16.9 oz) bottle of purified water and then shake to mix. Fold your paper towel into fourths buy folding it in half and then in half again. Place your seeds in between the second half fold and dampen it with your solution (you can fold the paper towel again and place the seeds in-between that if it fits in the bag better). Put the dampened paper towel in the sandwich bag and gently press the air out of the bag as you seal it shut. Then place it in a dark warm place for about a week. At times you may notice molding on the paper towel but don't panic. As long as the seeds have sprouted and the seeds themselves are not moldy then you should still be okay and able to plant. I had this happen with some lemon seeds and they turned out amazing.
Step 3: Propagating
To propagate something is to grow it from part of it that already is growing and established. If you don't have the seeds of something but have a plant somewhere else this is a perfect way. I have found that herbs are the easiest to propagate.
For example, to propagate rosemary all you have to do is cut off a piece about two to three inches long. Then take the bottom half of the leaves off. Doing this helps prevent mold and every spot that there was a leaf is a spot for the new roots to grow. Next just place it in a cup of water and in a couple weeks you"ll start seeing roots. After that you can bury it in the ground making sure that the roots are completely covered. If your roots haven't started growing within two weeks, don't give up on them since the propagation period varies from plant to plant, it will eventually happen. Green onions are a very quick and easy plant to begin with since they already have roots, just cut the top green off so you're left with just the white ends and roots. Next you would place them in water for a couple days or until you see new green growth, then simply plant them in the ground/pot/container. Besides rosemary I have done this with basil, mint, lemon balm, a vine plant and even wisteria. Also if you want to do something like ginger or potatoes, where the harvest is the root then all you have to do is plant it in the soil. It does take some time though.
Step 4: Enjoy
After you have all your plants growing and in the ground then its just normal care from here on out. And besides watering them you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.