Sow There! – Grow new food plants in water, July 21, 2016

Sow There! – Grow new food plants in water

July 21, 2016

If you have basil and tomatoes in the garden, all you need is some fresh mozzarella to make a summer caprese salad.

Fresh mozzarella is different than the big balls of white cheese we use for pizza. The fresh stuff is sold in the fancy cheese section and comes in a tub of water.

The salad is simple; slice a ripe tomato into thin circles and do the same with a ball of soft mozzarella. Layer with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with just a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Some people add olive oil, crushed garlic or salt and pepper.

You can serve with soft break or toasted baguette slices, but why bother with the carbs?

The key is to pick the tomato fresh.

Basil lives again

A few weeks ago I bought a big bunch of basil at the farmers market, intending to make pesto. The basil sat around in the fridge and turned to mush. I asked the farmer for his advice. He recommended placing the green bunch in a glass of water on the counter.

The experiment was inspiring.

After several days, the plant produced white flowers. I changed the water, nipped leaves for caprese and went about my business. One day I noticed the plant had produced roots.


I love to make new plants through cuttings, but I had completely forgotten that basil works as well.

The same is true of tomato stems, by the way, Place in water and you can grow a new plants.

While many of us are familiar with reproducing house plants by placing a stem in water, we seldom think about multiplying herbs and veggies this same way.

“Live lettuce,” can be transplanted to the yard if its sold with a root ball. Try this when the weather turns cool.

Green onions are a great bargain at the farmers market. To grow a new plant, simply keep about 1/4 inch of the white part of the onion and all of the roots intact.

Next, make a hole in the soil with your index finger, and pop the root and partial onion into the soil, about an inch deep.

As the onion grows you can trim off the green leaves for salads and seasoning.

The onions I planted about a year ago are now so large they sent up big onion flower balls.

Outdoor/in jar plants

We had one long chill last winter and I thought vaguely about saving the outdoor philodendron plant. However, it’s crazy big and would have blocked the TV.

Instead, I took some cuttings. I placed these in a vase of water on a tall bookshelf. At night, the light from the desk lamp reaches the leaves and makes majestic patterns on the ceiling.

Now the plant is long overdue for placing in soil.

To wrap up this topic, other plants that are easy to root in water include geranium, creeping Charley, coleus, mint, lemon verbena and pothos.

One website I explored also recommended regrowth from romaine lettuce, by submerging the roots in water. This is also theoretically true for celery. Let me know if this works for you. I already have enough clutter on my countertop.

In general, here’s the super-easy tips for growing houseplants from a cutting:

Cut the plant stem at an angle and trim off the lower leaves. Allow a few leaves to remain at the top, sticking out of your vase or jar.

Change the water frequently and place in indirect sunlight. When you’re confident you have enough roots in your jar, transplant to a pot of soil.

If you fail the first time, don’t fret. Your investment was nothing.

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