Saturday, April 14, 2012

Growing Green Suff

The only things I ever tried to grow, and had minor success with (in that they actually sprouted, in a porcelain dish) were beans. And that was for a school project. You know, the one everyone does at some age because they never carried around and cared for an egg.

Recently, I decided that, come hell or high water, I was going to try and grow herbs. Well, in truth, it all started off with a cactus Jen had been given at her previous job in Wellington. The little blighter, a tiny peanut cactus, got pretty mauled when we moved up to Auckland. It looked pathetic. Jen was ready to trash it. But, having heard how hardy cacti are supposed to be, I took pity on it, and decided to see if I could nurse it back to health.

Not only did the cactus pull through, but once it got itself rooted into a new pot and routine, it started growing like a champ. Being a peanut cactus, it grows little arms, which drop off when they become to heavy, and promptly take root wherever you out them. Pretty.

My green cconfidence at a new high, I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at herbs. I used to have a big herb garden in South Africa, and I do miss not being able to get them fresh when the need calls. Problem is, we live in a rental at the moment, which in some amount of months will be demolished to make way for a tunnel. Yay.

Solution: herbs had to be grown in pots. No problem! I have started off with coriander and rosemary. Typically, I seem to have chosen two of the finickiest herbs to grow, but what the hell, I love a challenge. Out of the first batch I sowed, only one of each sprouted. The coriander grows really slow, but looks healthy. Rosemary's getting up a bit quicker and looks good too. I have sown more and eagerly await to see their green little faces poke above ground.

My other challenge is growing cacti from seed. I have done some research and sown them in a small pot, covered by a plastic bag to keep in moisture. They sleep in the hot water cupboard and are out during the day to get light and airflow.

I've also started researching organic fertilisers. Egg shells are now being kept and mashed into a fine powder as a source of magnesium. Used coffee grind will be dried for several trace minerals. Next time I get to a beach I have to collect and dry some seaweed. If you know of any others, please do mention them, I'd be grateful for expert opinions!

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