Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 27 January 2014

Salad Days: Roots n Shoots


Winter's continued to be mild here at VP Gardens, so technically setting up my new seed sprouter (courtesy of Victoria) hasn't really been necessary as we have plenty of fresh salad leaves to hand already.

Force of habit from 2 years of salad challenging has kept me doing this; besides you never know when the weather might take a turn for the worst and turn the outdoor stuff to mush. I was also keen to try out a sprouter with dividers. It means I can easily sprout 4 different seeds at a time in the same space, so the flavours available are doubled :)


It's also meant I'm able to get up close and personal with the seeds' roots. I love how growing differently at this time of the year adds a new perspective to what we do. I usually line the trays with kitchen paper, so I'm glad I forgot this time.

The instructions which came with this sprouter advised rinsing the seeds with a 1% bleach solution first. I've only come across this when preparing tomato seed for saving, and I was a little surprised to see it given for sprouting seed, even though they'd be washed thoroughly with fresh water many times before eating. Has anyone else come across this advice? What did you do? I simply ignored it and ensured our seed was washed with fresh water twice a day as usual. NAH and I have survived!


Another discovery this month is an article about re-growing food from kitchen scraps that's right up my street. Here's one of my carrot tops on day 3. They won't provide heaps of salad, but it's a fresh way of finding something suitable for the bowl at this lean growing time of year.

Fancy joining in the 52 Week Salad Challenge this year? Here's the key post to get you started :)

Like last month, I'll put up a list of your salad posts for January, if you leave your URL to your post (not your blog) in the comments below.

How's your salad faring this month?

Your posts and my findings


13 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post VP, you've galvanised me into action. Last year was a total salad failure. I put so much effort into the allotment, that things closer to home didn't get done. Must Try Harder. I have a seed sprouter somewhere. And incidentally I've never washed them in bleach - that sounds like something that Tesco would do. I'm off to see what I can find lurking in the back of the kitchen cupboards or in the seed box. It will be my first planting of the year, hurray!

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    1. Hi CJ - this is a great way of occupying those fingers itching to et gardening again :)

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  2. Really interesting post. I'm a big fan of making meals from leftovers but hadn't thought of producing salads from carrot tops, how brilliant.

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    1. It's great isn't it - I love the idea of something from (almost) nothing :)

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  3. lovely post and I also never heard of washing anything in bleach before will have to give this a go

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    1. Nooooo - there's no need Linda if you're sprouting seeds. The bleach used for saving tomato seeds is to ensure there's no fungus saved along with them.

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  4. I saw an illustration of a home-made seed sprouter in a gardening book . They used an shallow pie plate, set a metal kitchen colander (that will set upright by itself) in it, then put the whole thing inside a large plastic bag closed with a twist-tie. I have not tried it, but is sure sounds simple and easy, with all equipment needed already at hand.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea

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    1. Hi Lea - that sounds great! I usually use an old coffee jar with a cloth and elastic band fixed over the top. Simple and free, but when a friend gives you a swanky new seed sprouter, it deserves to be used :)

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  5. I think the washing in bleach advice isn't about protecting the human consumer but to kill of any potential seed-damaging fungus that can cause them to suddenly die - usually called 'damping off'.

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    1. Hi catherine - I agree with you re using the bleach for seed saving. I suspect the advice re seed sprouting is more to do with recent health scares with bean sprouts and just regular rinsing with clean water and eating absolutely fresh should be sufficient.

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  6. We have one of the seed sprouters with trays which hasn't seen the light of day for a while, so thanks for the reminder! I've never come across the weak-bleach-solution-soaking advice before but, like you, think I'll stick to regular rinsing with plain water.

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  7. Been under the weather so I was not able to grow any lettuce this winter indoors right now. I have this exact seed sprouter and it works great. I did do the 1% bleach solution and it worked fine.

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  8. Eugh, bleach? Really? I'd have left it out too... I have some tiny rocket and Pak Choi plants in the greenhouse bed, but certainly not enough to post about. When sorting my seed I found my stache of "sow in late summer for a winter harvest" packets. Really wish I had been more on the ball, I really crave freshly picked green leaves right now!

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