I’ve been pushing the envelop when it comes to spring, despite the cold, bitter winds, snow and ice that has enveloped us. I’ve been shunning winter by boldly buying fresh greens, cucumbers, melons and arugula and making colorful salads each night for dinner, and eating them on these cold, dark winter night and pretending it is just a late, hot summer night.
Pretending it’s summer when it’s not is hard. I’ve been scanning Pinterest for ideas for a spring table centerpiece, and while they are nice, they seem so contrived. After spending so much time de-cluttering, who wants to go out and buy some bunnies that you’ll only use for a few weeks?
Decor, seasonal or not, needs a function. After thinking for awhile, I came up with a practical solution. After saving the bottom cores from the romaine and artisanal lettuces we’ve been eating, so that they will sprout, in little dishes in my kitchen, I was a bit inspired by Aimee’s idea of placing the vegetables together on a tray, so that they look more like a centerpiece. At the same time, I was also inspired by the amount of book page/newsprint ideas I had seen for Easter decor.
One of the problems of growing vegetables scraps is that the water can get slimy — you have to change it every day. But, I know from the aquaphonics/hydroponics research I’ve been doing, (another story), that one of the causes of algae growth is light. You must keep the roots covered, and away from the light. I wonder if this concept would work with vegetable scraps? Also — adding cinnamon to the water prevents mold! (And e.Coli!) Why not try both ideas? (NOTE: even though the vegetable water is slimy, the leaves on top do not get that way… always keep them above the water, and the shoots are fine and edible.
So, a practical, decorative spring centerpiece was born. I repurposed some empty spice bottles by filling them with water and a shake of cinnamon. Then, after inserting the roots, I covered each bottle with book pages and secured with twine. Nothing to buy, and everything is re-purposed from something else.
I think the green sprouts sitting on the table are far more evocative of spring than a Styrofoam bunny any day, don’t you think?
As a bonus, I think I’ve found a more maintenance free way to grow my veggies. Now that the roots are hidden from light, maybe water changes won’t be necessary? So far, after five days, I have not changed the water, and there is no smell or slime. The water is brown — because of the cinnamon.
What do I do with my scraps? I snip and eat them as they grow — especially the onion stalks. I keep them growing long enough for the thaw to come so that I can plant them outside in my garden. Last year, some of them developed into healthy full-sized lettuce plants. The onions always produce more onions. The longer I leave them in the ground, the bigger the onion.