Supermarket Gardening

I’ve been on a clear out.

Of the pantry.

Through necessity.

One of the cars has broken down. To be fair it’s nearly twenty years old and gave the previous owner little trouble for years. It has taken some hardship since we acquired it but has managed well. So we will forgive it this hiccup. But it means that Mr. Fairweather has taken the other car to work and college. So I have been somewhat restricted in getting in to town to get to Mass or do any jobs in town, such as the grocery shopping. So I am becoming very acquainted with the shelves of my pantry and the odds and ends in the bottom of the fridge. Soups, curries and stews are my best friends lately. And a quiche. A quiche makes a little go a long way.

tiny little sprouts (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
tiny little sprouts
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

Sweet potato and coconut soup. That was going to be dinner the other day. That solitary sweet potato had been languishing on the shelf while other more attractive (easier peeled) vegetables were picked ahead of it. When I finally decided to tackle it, I found a tiny bud on the end. Now ordinary potatoes I had seen sprout a million times, but never a sweet potato. The inside when I cut into it was hollow and fibrous. I cut out the good bits and eyed up the odds and ends. And then I thought to myself, why not – sure who doesn’t like a good garden experiment?

Everything I read tells me that you shouldn’t grow things from supermarket cuttings; you don’t know where it’s coming from or how it’s been treated or even what variety you might actually be dealing with. And the general consensus seemed to be that sweet potatoes bought in supermarkets tend to be a variety that is too delicate for these climes. (If you want to read what people who know what they are doing say, try this.) But I reckon, that’s where my windows and polytunnel come in to play. Besides, if I expect total failure then I would be pleasantly surprised if all went well.

it's starting to take off (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
it’s starting to take off
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)

So I sliced off a lump of sweet potato with the sprout and placed it in a shallow tray of water for a day or two. The sorry little leaves perked up. I began to feel optimistic. So I placed it half buried in to a small pot of compost and popped it on to my windowsill. I water it well every second day. It seems to like that. It has been putting out new leaves. I love the purple veins running through the leaves. It’s something a bit different if nothing else.

When will I transplant it to the tunnel? Haven’t the foggiest. Maybe when it threatens to strangle me at the kitchen sink. But that looks like it will be a while off. Till then, I shall revel in my blind experiment and remind myself to expect disaster down the line. If it fruits, you’ll be the first to hear about it, I promise.

i think it's strangely beautiful (photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)
i think it’s strangely beautiful
(photo credit: fairweatherpaddler)



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