Container Gardening is Fun and Rewarding
Easy to Grow: Sweet Potato Vines
I love plants and flowers. They are beautiful and bring joy to my everyday life! Recently, I am experimenting with container gardening in my home. One of my favorites is sweet potato vine. Sweet potato vines are easy to grow. They require very little attention and care. I started growing my sweet potato vines by planting a sweet potato in a container and water it regularly, once a day in the summer time. About 3-4 weeks later, I spotted the first leaves. Then, they continued to grow vigorously. They will grow in any soil type. I used regular potting soil, and my sweet potato vines are growing very healthy and strong. Not long ago, there was a thunderstorm. Strong winds swept across the area where I live. Helplessly, I watched my sweet potato vines knocked down by the gusty winds, and the downpour of heavy rain created holes in the leaves. It was impossible for me to move them inside due to the severe thunderstorm so they were left outside on my balcony. I was convinced that I have lost them. The next morning, when the rain and wind finally stopped, I went outside to take a look at them. They were badly damaged, which made me feel so sad. I didn't want to just throw them away. A few days later, new leaves started shooting out, and my sweet potato vines were restored to their original beauty in a matter of a week's time. I was amazed by its strength.
Some people grow sweet potatoes in the hope of harvesting more sweet potatoes. I simply grow them for their spectacular vines. They add natural beauty to any space you have. Do you know that you can eat their leaves? Yes, I love to eat them sauteed with garlic....yummy! Many Asian supermarkets sell sweet potato leaves. Better yet, why not grow your own sweet potato vines? This way, you can enjoy this leafy green all year round.
I also planted papaya from seeds and ginger from ginger root. Container gardening is such a fun thing to do. What should I experiment with next?
Sweet Potato Vines
Becoming a Little Nutty......
Accidentally, I was growing peanuts. How did that happen? Well, I was sprouting peanuts...call me crazy; maybe I was. Anyway, I planted the peanut sprouts in yogurt containers, which worked very well for seed germination. It was surprising to see leaves coming out so fast (about a week later). One of the two peanut plants actually produced flowers after a month of transplanting to a bigger container. The tiny, yellow flowers are so delicate and beautiful. Just a few days ago, flowers are showing up on the other plant as well. Let's see whether there will be any peanuts when I harvest them in the fall.
Becoming More Nutty....
Thai Basil and Lemon
Growing My Very First Herb and Lemon From Seeds
I bought a packet of Thai Basil seeds from my local supermarket and started germinating them indoors. To my surprise, seedlings started to come out after a week. The funny thing was that I didn't even know it was Thai Basil because I forgot to label the container. One day, I was standing next to my windowsill where the Thai Basil was and a strong scent caught my attention. I sniffed and sniffed and the scent was so familiar; however, I couldn't remember what it was. Then, I took out the packet of Thai Basil seeds and saw the picture. Bingo, it's Thai Basil! If you like herbs, I strongly recommend growing Thai Basil because it is simple to grow. For those who have a passion to cook and a love of Thai cuisine, you can make Basil Chicken!
I still remember my childhood lemon tree. This lemon tree belonged to an elder lady who was our next door neighbor. She had a nice house surrounded by a huge yard, where she grew mangoes, lemons, and so on. The fruits look so beautiful as they were suspended from the tree branches. I love the smell of lemon trees. Lemons have a high content of vitamin C. A cup of lemon juice with honey makes it a very refreshing drink for the summer. One sunny day, I bought some lemons from my local fruit/vegetable market to make some lemonade. Wow, there was a ton of seeds inside those lemons so I saved some of the seeds. Then, I put a few of them in the soil. A few weeks past, I didn't spot any seedlings and was convinced that I will not get anything at all. It was at a time of total disappointment (I was about to throw it away) when the very first leaves sprouted. Now, my lemon plant is growing more leaves and looks healthier each day! Will it produce any fruits? Maybe. If it does, that will be 15 years later (heard from experts). I guess I need to be patient then.
Growing Papayas from Seed
Growing papayas from seed is super easy. I was baffled when something green sprouted out from the soil. The seedling did not look familiar to me at all and I had no recollection of what I planted. This is what happens when I planted too many things at one time and sometimes, forgot to label them.
Once the first leaves came out, the plants doubled their sizes in a matter of days. As the plants get bigger, I became more curious so I did some research. Not knowing where to begin, I just googled anything that I ate around that timeframe to get a picture of for example, apple seedling, orange seedling, etc. I almost gave up searching. Then papaya popped up in my head because I just had it the other day. Could it be papaya then? I love Google. There it goes my papaya plant. Mystery solved at last! Just to share my excitement with you, check out this link and compare them to my papaya plants.(http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/images/scp_exp_demo_pics/papayas/papaya_seedlings2.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.specialtycrops.colostate.edu/scp_exp_demo/papayas.htm&h=151&w=216&sz=67&tbnid=VvtVOdJwGirKmM:&tbnh=75&tbnw=107&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpapaya%2Bseedlings%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=papaya+seedlings&hl=en&usg=__8mUlLEAhps97zIJg1V3RKwGJkyM=&sa=X&ei=y8Q5ToCFA4rZgQfr4-3OBg&ved=0CBsQ9QEwAQ).
The above two pictures are the most current pictures of my two papaya plants.
A very good website on: Facts About Papaya
- WHFoods: Papaya
Non-profit foundation providing reliable, scientifically accurate, personalized information for convenient and enjoyable healthy eating.
Delicious and Nutritious
Papayas are delicious. I like to eat them as fruits. They make good soup and desserts as well. Papaya is one of the healthiest foods in the world. Christopher Columbus once called it "fruit of the angels." It's great to grow papays in your backyard, providing good shade for you.
Some Health Benefits of Papayas:
- Proctection against heart disease
- Promotes digestive health
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Immune support (good source of vitamin C and A)
- Promote lung health
Growing Ginger from Root
I have always wanted to grow ginger as a plant rather than to harvest for their roots. Ginger flowers, which comes in many colors, are very pretty. When you lightly brush against their leaves, an aromatic scent is released. I love the smell of ginger. Ginger root is widely used in many Asian cuisines, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. A cup of hot honey with ginger will cure a common cold. In the summer, I like to make iced honey lemon drink. Sometimes, I add a pinch of ginger juice to add some spice to it.
You can purchase ginger root from any Asian supermarket. Nowadays, you can easily find them in local supermarkets. Growing ginger is quite simple. Just place the ginger root in a container and cover with about an inch of soil. It takes 3-4 weeks for the ginger tip to sprout.