There are days I just want to prove to myself that I can grow things – whether it is from kitchen scraps or a greenhouse, there is always that nagging sensation that my grandmother is looking down sternly upon me and making sure I don’t kill the plant.
Living in Germany is expensive in terms of filling your home with plants, so I live by what a friend advised many years ago: buy small and be patient. This attitude has also fostered my love for gardening, because it has encouraged me to try my hand at growing plants from seeds and seedlings, or learning how to propagate plants so that I have more of the same kind. More often than not it is a hit-and-miss, especially when it comes to succulents. In this respect there have been more misses and deaths than hits.
On the other hand, it is with great pride that I share with you today one of my three little avocado trees that have sprouted from ordinary avocados bought in the supermarket. I didn’t go the traditional way (when do I ever) of rooting them in a jar with toothpicks. Wrap the seed in moist paper towels, keep in a plastic bag in the dark and forget about it for about three weeks. The roots will emerge and you can plant the seed directly into the pot.
My mint is flourishing (incredibly resilient plants), my butternut squash is out of control and creeping down to the neighbours balcony just like my cats, the lemon grass is as depressed as I am, and the ginger plant is disgustingly happy! I told my therapist recently that the butternut squash plant is me in the jungle of life – you cannot contain it or tell it where not to go and grow. It just does, and before you know it, the plant has weathered the elements and is flowering, giving back to life.
Here is proof, however, that love and patience can blossom into something tangible. Some months ago I planted orange and lemon seeds in little pots and forgot to label them. I have this wonderful citrus growing now, and absolutely no clue whether it is an orange tree or a lemon tree (actually I have three more on the way). This is a valuable life lesson: nurture and nourish the seeds you plant, without any labels or standards, and allow yourself to be surprised.
The greatest surprise this week, however, is the proud emergence of my first tamarind plant! My daughter brought me fresh tamarind fruit pods from Mexico and I read somewhere on Pinterest that if you soak the seeds overnight in warm water you can plant them the next day. I was extremely sceptical about this suggestion because I had already boiled the seeks for hours to make juice. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hurt to try… lo and behold, the first one emerges!