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Sprouts in North America
Sprouts on the balcony
Sprouts on the balcony
Recently, I have seen posts on social media from various devotees on growing plants from seeds or cuttings. Seeing their efforts and progress, I was inspired to try it out for myself.

In the past, I had a garden plot and space to grow vegetables. I usually grew vegetables from store-bought seedlings. Now, I live in an apartment with a balcony. While I do not have access to a plot of land, I do have some space and a few hours of sunlight to grow plants. Last year, I grew kale in a planter and it was nice to be able to pick leaves for meals on a regular basis. The kale did "bolt" once it got too warm as it is a cold weather plant. Bolting is a process where a central stalk will grow taller than the leaves and then produce flowers. If this happens, the leaves might get tough. Best to pick the leaves before the plant bolts.

I put a handful of mung beans on some cotton that I obtained from the inside of a supplement bottle. I covered the beans and cotton with a dark cover. Within 24 - 36 hours, the beans sprouted. Two weeks later and they had grown 6 - 8 inches long. Not all the seeds sprouted at the same time. I had to keep the cotton moist but made sure not to over water as I didn’t want them to rot. I will be planting the seedlings in soil soon. I read that mung beans grow deep roots, so I will be planting them in a tall container.

If you grow seedlings indoors, you may want to gradually "harden" them before planting them outside or exposing them to long hours of direct sunlight. If possible, the first time outside, I choose a non-windy day to put them in the shade. Then, the second day, I move them to a sunny spot for a few hours in early morning or late afternoon sunlight. I usually transplant them on the third day.

Based on the research, mung beans will eventually produce clusters of pods which take approximately 90 days to mature. The pods look like thin pea pods and contain mung beans inside. I am excited to see how they come out!

I have also seen posts about re-growing vegetables from cuttings. It seems you can grow many vegetables/herbs/roots from cuttings. In the photo above, you will see the base of scallions I put in water 4 days ago. I had cut the scallions straight across. The outer-most ring shows the length at which the scallions were cut. The 3 - 4 inches above the outer ring grew in the past 4 days simply from having the roots in water.

It seems you can re-grow bok choy, onions, celery and some herbs this way. Possibly even carrots from the tops! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Enjoy and good luck!

- An urban-dwelling 'farmer' from Boston

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