Many things we enjoyed doing with our sons when they were growing up are being revisited as we have fun with granddaughters. One project with almost endless possibilities is "after dinner gardening." Yes, we can grow pineapples in our own back yard here on the Gulf Coast of South Texas. Once the pineapple top has been sliced off before paring and slicing the fruit for eating, it can be placed into soil mixed with a few coffee grounds. Kept moist, it will root and make a new pineapple plant. We have sprouted avocado seeds, apple, peach, and grapefruit seeds, also lemon and orange. Celery root ends kept in a shallow dish with water will grow new celery leaves, and carrot tops done the same way are wonderful little ferns to use in a fairy garden. We have successfully grown ginger from ginger root and garlic from garlic pods. Of course, potato eyes can be fun to plant and grow, too. Another part of this project is becoming seed savers which leads to sharing seeds, just like my grandmother did.
One of the great advantages of living on the South Texas Gulf Coast is that we have two growing seasons! It is true that Spring gardens often get burned with summer heat that comes on fast, but Fall gardens can be so rewarding. I planted new tomato plants about a month ago in containers that were shaded part of the day. Now that cooler temperatures have arrived, they are setting fruit. Squash and cucumbers went in a few weeks ago as well. This weekend, I will plant some Kale, collards, bok choy, and lettuces. If we have a typical mild winter, they will still be thriving until next Spring. One year we had an unusual snow day early in December and I have photos of the greens frosted with snow which only seemed to give them second wind! I love planting seeds. When my granddaughters are here, they like to plant their own rows. Our garden may be small, but it adds so much pleasure and of course, good nutritious food for our table. I will add a plug for Baker Creek Heirloom seeeds, my favorite seed catalog. www.rareseeds.com