I grew up recycling and reusing things out of necessity and later on, I realized that eventhought, there was not a need to “save” and recycle anymore, by doing so, I was actually saving a lot of money I could use for other things I might really want, so I continued to be thrifty, to re-invent, to re-used, and to save anything I could re-invent, re-used and saved.
And here we are, going through some of the most hard, difficult and unprecented times of our lives. (Well, at least for many, it may be this way.)
And we have become creative, resourceful and self relient. We have been placed in a situation where many of us have been forced to think outside of the box and find solutions to a lot of problems, and we have been forced to find those solutions from a very different perspective we were not used to look at before.
About 3 or 4 months ago, I started to re-plant fruits, seeds, vegetables and herbs. I started with a basil plant I bought at my local grocery store. The plant cost me about $6.00 to $7.00, which I used to make, about 2 cups of fresh-home made pesto.
Since the plant came on its own pot and it had roots and a generous amount of soil, it was easy to plant it in one of my garden pots that already was full of dirt.
Later on I did the same thing with green onions and bell peppers. I cut the ends of the green onions and I just planted the heads on a pot of soil. I used the left over cuts from the top of the greem peppers where the seeds are, and I planted that part on another pot full of dirt. (For the bell peppers I just found a nice posting by Volcan Veggie Shop, which is always sharing great ideas on vegetables and fruits and how to use them)
I have been baby sitting those plants from day one. Watering them, making sure they received plenty of sun and taking them in and out of the apartment, due to the constant and extreme change of weather temperatures, we have experienced in these past 3 or 4 months.
The plants have been growing very healthy and I have been able to get rid of insects, just by boiling avocado seeds, letting the water cool down and mixing that with pure water and spraying the plants with that solution. (I have to give credit to one of my Instagram friends, Eric Martinez, for sharing this simple, natural, home-made remedy, to get rid of ants and insects that may eat the little plant leaves)
I am so proud of my little plants and the fact that I will be enjoying them soon. I cannot wait for those peppers to be ready to harvest and to eat them raw. I may throw a barbecue party and enjoy it right there, on my balcony, where those plants grew. (Thank you little plants)
As you guys can see, there is not a good excuse, not to be able to have a garden, even if you have a reduce space or if you live in an apartment. When you really want something, you make it happen, right? And if you want to complement your grocery shopping with home grown veggies and spices, you can certaintly have a garden, even if you live in an apartment.
Besides the vegetables and spices I will be talking about here, we are also preparing to plant corn and some other vegetables and fruits, to partake of next winter.
The basil smells heavenly already, and I am just waiting until it grows taller to harvest it and then, I will be replanting the roots again.
The green onions as you can see have a good size, however, they can also grow a bit more, and the bell peppers need to be re-planted into a bigger pot and most likely individually, because I know, bell peppers require a lot of nutrients and while some of them will grow strong, some of the other plants will be weaker and may not bear fruit at all.
Some of my family members live in the country side and in the fertile lands known as “Tierras Altas” of Panama, where the volcanic soil and the Rain Forest makes it possible for crops of a great variety, to grow in abundance and in large sizes, all year long.
In the rest of the country, in the city and in low lands, because of its humidity and because of the heat, everything grows, so it is possible to have a vegetable garden in any house or in any apartment, and since some of my family members live in the city, they can benefit greatly, by having a small, urban, vegetable garden.
I think it is important to be self-relient and it is important to be thrifty and to recycle and re-use things, not only to contribute with less garbage, but most importanly, to be able to save money we may need for emergencies or in situations such as the one we are going through right now.
If you do not have the means to buy extra seeds to plant, then you can use just a few of the dried grains you have and you can do what I just did, or you can also ask your neighboors or people that you know, to give you a piece of a plant. (My mother always asked and she always came back home with bags full of seeds, roots and cuttings. And up until this day, she is still coming back to her house, with seeds, plant cuttings and roots, someone have given her as presents)
My mom has a somewhat smaller garden, full of unique plants, trees, flowers, fruits and spices, most of which are edible and most which are ornamental plants. There are pots of different sizes and varieties of plants, around my mother’s house. She is able to grow everything and she takes good care of the plants and those plants keep multiplying so much, to the point that my mother has been able to share them with a lot of people. (Generosity is a wonderful thing and what goes around, certaintly comes around!!)
I have to go now, and I hope you are enjoying this day and I hope you find some sort of inspiration today and if you have not started a small garden in your apartment, you do it soon. (This is a fun activity where you can get the whole family invloved during this Quarentine period and it will keep the little ones busy, occupied and concerned about the well being of their own pot of plants, instead of being concern about other things.
Attending a garden, seing the seeds that were planting aroun Spring grow, as well as plant scraps, and little buds become a bush, right before your eyes, its amazing and so rewarding, soothing, and relaxing, and that can make a big difference right now, for all of us, as we need to feel good.