I know, I know, most of us have memories of our mothers telling us to stop playing with our food. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to throw that out the window, or actually, stop just short of out the window at the windowsill.
Although we have a serious shortage in the snow department this year, the temperatures, although tropical for a Minnesota winter, are hardly “growing season” temps. That, however, should not stop you from growing plants, herbs and veggies! No, I’m not crazy. Okay, well, maybe a little, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, during the winter months when I can’t be outside in the garden I tend to focus on what I can grow inside. Typically my kitchen windowsill is loaded with any glass, bottle or jar I can get my hands on, and inside them I’m growing whatever strikes my fancy.
Windowsill Garden 1
Windowsill Garden 2
In addition to the Garlic Experiment, my current windowsill experiments include: green onions/scallions, basil, a Christmas cactus, spearmint, leeks, a maple tree, aloe vera and an avocado pit. I also have herbs growing in the bathroom, but since that’s technically not on the windowsill, I’ll save that for later.
Let’s start with the green onions or scallions, whatever you’d like to call them. A couple of weeks ago I was perusing Pinterest and ran across an image of scallions growing in a glass of water. Ha! Why didn’t I think of that? I thought. I need to try this! It makes perfect sense that it would work… onions are a bulb and you can force/grow most flowering bulbs in water, so why not onions?!? So I set out to do it. That night I just happened to need green onions in a recipe I was making for dinner…
The beginning of the Green Onion Experiment
As I was prepping the onions, instead of discarding the ends, I set them aside to prepare for the Green Onion Experiment. After finishing my dinner prep, I grabbed a glass and set my onions in the bottom. Ha, I make it sound so easy. Actually I fought with the little buggers quite a bit to get them to stand upright. They already have little roots attached when you buy the onions in the store and since they aren’t all the same length it made them a little tippy (next time I’ll trim the trouble makers). Anyway, once upright, I added a tiny bit of water, just enough to cover the roots, but not so much as to cover the onion itself or I would end up with a glass of foul-smelling rotting plant material, which is not my goal.
I was a little concerned that this experiment might not work so well because after I started this experiment I checked into the source of the Pinterest photo. Turns out, they only used the greens for their cooking and had the entire base of the onion left over so they had really fast results. Since I cook with nearly everything but the roots it made me a little nervous, because I really didn’t have a lot of plant material to work with, but I trusted in my plant biology knowledge, sent good sprouting vibes to the little guys and set them on my kitchen windowsill. I should mention that my windowsill experiments only receive part-sun exposure because it’s an East facing window, but it’s where I do a lot of my propagating because I can watch it every day. They tend to do fine, at least until they get a little larger and need more light in which case I’ll either transfer them to a window with better exposure (South or West facing) or under plant lights.
Day 4 - Shoots forming & root growth
Amazingly, it didn’t take too long for the roots to start growing and shoots to form. By the first day, I could see little green specs on the top of one onion. And by Day 2, 3 and 4 it became more and more visible (but not so much with the camera.) By Day 5, however, shoots can be seen on more than one onion.
Day 10 - Growth on all onions
Day 10 - Top View
And now, about 10 days out, it looks like the experiment is a success. In a few weeks we’ll have a nice crop of green onions. As a side note, I change the water every couple of days to everything fresh.
I’ll continue to post on the Green Onion Experiment as it progresses. In the mean time, stay tuned for leeks, basil, avocado, Christmas cactus, Maple tree, aloe vera and spearmint and… whatever else might strike my fancy along the way!
Now, go play with your food, would you?!