April 14 is National Gardening Day and that means it’s a great time to escape to your gardens and grow something. This spring we have some fresh ideas for all of you wanting to make your outdoor space colorful and fruitful! Sabrina and I have been talking a lot about lemon and lavender these past few months. We both agree that the color, health benefits and aroma from these two heavenly plants cannot be loved enough and we enjoy surrounding ourselves with them.
Then we’re all about easy ways to enjoy the garden and feel the pleasure of seeing a plant grow. Did you know there are quite a few vegetables and herbs that can regenerate and grow roots with just a few simple steps? Many of us discovered this in our childhood by planting avocado pits or bits of potatoes. Below we will revisit that small miracle with romaine lettuce.
From lemons to lettuce, we can grow our own.
Planting a lemon tree can be fairly simple. You can even grow them from the seeds straight out of that lemon you used today. Lemons are rich in vitamin C, aid digestion, boost the immune system, increase concentration and energy, and reduce fever. Probably the best way for most of us, who don’t have an acre or two to spare for full-sized trees, is to try growing one of the dwarf varieties. Many of these work well when grown in a large pot. Here is a great post on The Old Farmers Almanac that explains how to grow a lemon tree and provides a few favorite types.
A 2018 clinical trial showed that PMS symptoms were eased with the use of lavender essential oil aromatherapy. Lavender is an ancient herb, cousin to the mint family, that has been used therapeutically for centuries. Its pretty color and clean floral/herbal fragrance is a perfect addition to the home garden. Lavender does best in more Mediterranean climates but there are many variations, including English lavender “Hidcote” and French lavender “Phenomenal,” that will tolerate cooler and/or humid conditions if well cared for. In fact the easiest way to grow lavender is in pots where you can control soil and drainage.
Besides its effectiveness in relieving PMS symptoms, lavender oil is also used for insomnia, pain management, anxiety/depression, skin conditions like dandruff and bug bites.
Remember “re-growing” potatoes from their eyes and avocado plants from a pit? It’s so exciting to watch the growth and not just for kids, either. Here’s a fun one to try: Re-grow a bit more lettuce out of the part of the romaine head that is usually simply thrown away. Simply cut the romaine head about two inches from the bottom. Set the bottom piece in a cup of shallow water, and change the water every couple of days. In less than two weeks you’ll have tender leaves ready to eat. (Don’t wait too long or the leaves will want to flower and they’ll be bitter.) Check out Getty Stewart’s romaine re-grow in the photos below.
The Growing Lab
Nothing in the garden is a “one and done” deal; think of it more as a gorgeous laboratory, where failures along with successes are enjoyed as part of the learning experience. We would love to know about your garden experiments this spring; share your stories in the comments below.