Saturday, May 09, 2009

Food turned into decorative plants

The next time you are at your green grocer, you might as well think of your garden or your apartment when buying vegetables. From seeds or root vegetables you may create an interesting flower bed as well as getting ingredients for your next dish. Here are a few ideas for decorative plants and flowers that may be supplied by your local green grocer.


Taro (right and top), is a starchy bulb found in many oriental shops. It originates from East Asia and both the bulb, stems, and leaves may be used in cooking.

My good friend Dagfinn Skoglund told me that buying a taro bulb or two would be a good idea if I would get a decorative plant for my window.

I just took the bulb, placed in a shallow container (that used to hold 500 grams of mushrooms), covered it with soil and watered moderately.

It took three weeks for it to sprout. Now it has four large leaves, and to or three other shoots are peeping up through the soil. If you afraid of over watering, this is probably one of the plants not to worry about. It is growing in very wet conditions where it is cultivated.

Sweet potatoes

When I visited my cousin in the US last fall, I discovered that sweet potatoes are not only good to eat, but are decorative as well, when placed in a pot.

Sweet potatoes were thriving in pots everywhere, some had purple leaves and beautiful flowers, and were cultivated more for its value as ornamental plant than for food.

So this year, I decided to buy a medium sized sweet potato to plant in my garden on the south eastern coast of Norway. It is now placed in a small pot in my window in Oslo, but will be placed out in full sunshine when I see the first leaves.

'll keep you posted.

Capsicum or pepper

My mother used to sow seeds from Spanish peppers or capsicum in her window. I bought a capsicum the other day, to get seeds, as I remember her success with these plants. They were surprisingly easy to grow and she even got large red peppers on them, without any effort.

I planted them a week ago, under cling film, to keep them hot and moist. We'll discover whether only my mother had that magic touch or if they really are easy to grow. If I succeed, they well be planted out in my lovely garden by the coast. (Photo: Matti Paavonen)


I once planted a small ginger, and I was surprised to find that it peeked up. It took a long time to grow, and I had nearly forgotten the plant when I saw the first green shoots.

It was a rather boring and unattractive plant, it looked like grass. I think this disappointing appearance, made me neglect it, as it did not have a long life in my window.

Other plants to grow from seeds and bulbs
  • Orange - from seeds. I did that as a kid, and it thrived for many years growing into a decorative little tree.
  • Grapes - a friend of mine grew a grape vine, by just placing seeds in soil.
  • Kiwifruit - my cousin on the south eastern part of Norway, once sowed seeds taken from a kiwi. Now it grows over her roof.
  • Lemon grass - place one or two in water until roots appear - then place in pot.

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