Contents of a kitchen cupboard

It seems that some of the contents of the kitchen cupboard has escaped into the garden over the past few weeks. Whilst rummaging through some old packets of spice seeds, I decided to look to see what I could grow to get some fresh greens with more of a kick. I knew that a packet of fenugreek (or methi) seeds, some dried peas and a packet of mustard seeds, would all grow pretty quickly.
I took some old mushroom trays, punctured some holes in the bottom with the nearest sharp object I could find (which happened to be a corkscrew), almost filled with compost, watered it then sowed seed generously over the surface, before covering with a thin layer of compost and watering again. The great thing is that if you buy these spices as the 100g packets from the Asian section of your supermarket or corner shop (in more urban areas), for less than £1, you will, have enough seed to cover your whole garden in microgreens, if that’s what you want to do.
Black mustard, will be ready in 2 – 3 weeks, and tastes like spicy rocket. You could also sow the seed directly outside in rows and you will get a rapidly growing green leaf that tastes like mustardy kale. Go for the black mustard seeds which produce infinitely preferable smooth leaves rather than the brown mustard seeds which give coarse hairy leaves.
Fenugreek is very versatile. It can be sprouted and will produce food within 5 days. It can be grown as a spicy tasting microgreen, ready in 2 – 3 weeks. Or you can sow it directly in the ground where it will grow into a curry tasting green leaf – great mixed with chard or spinach.
Peas don’t need any introduction, you have probably seen plenty of information on how to produce pea shoots from a packet of dried peas. They are ready in about 3 weeks, and if you snip them above the first leaf, a second crop will grow back again.
The other item we are growing from the kitchen cupboard is a rather longer term project. A carrot, of the variety Autumn King (which is a dependable variety with a good flavour), was found sprouting in a bag – usually the core has turned tough and woody by this stage, so it is not nice for eating. So, not to waste anything, it was planted out in a pot to see if we could get it to flower and produce seed. Carrots are a biennial: they produce carrot roots as a storage organ in the first year, then flower in their second year. So if you grow a carrot from a root, it has already spent one year growing, and should produce a flower and seed. The idea is that if we get a supply of fresh home-saved seed, the germination should be excellent. Although I know the theory behind this, I have never tried it in practice before, so I look forward to seeing what happens. I always like to experiment – although I enjoy growing the tried and tested veg, I have to learn something new to keep my interest alive.
More about Anton...
Anton is a Knowledge Officer at Garden Organic, where he has worked for 16 years. He is looking forward to writing a series of blogs on how to garden using little resources.
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