By Andre the Farmer, aka Dr Andre Baptiste, owner and orthodontist of Baptiste Orthodontics & Dentistry for Kids
Hey guys, it’s André the farmer, and I wanted to write today to make the most of what you have. I guess you could say I’m a home forager. My wife thinks I’m a bit of a pack rat when I really am not.
I don’t like to waste things.
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than finishing a project and not having to go to the hardware store for just one item. I just think there are opportunities to save money and maximize our resources all around us every day. This is what I like to incorporate into my gardening. So today let’s talk about applying these principles to gardening and, more specifically, to food production.
There are a few foods I refuse to buy, and so do you. Whether you have 20 acres, a window or a grow light; you too can grow simple and easy foods at home. Plants need water, soil, nutrients, and light, and three of them are free. Soil can be purchased or foraged. Seed starters can be made from an empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls (for how… check out my YouTube channel); you can also use egg cartons, water bottles, soda bottles and other household containers.
Plants & Seeds
Once we have soil and containers, it’s time to plant… so where do we buy plants and seeds? That’s the best part; we can get plants and seeds directly from our kitchen. I’ll only mention a few of the things you can grow in your kitchen, but the list is quite long and don’t be afraid to experiment.
The easiest is probably peas. Yes, dried peas. Peas sitting in your pantry are viable. Soak them in water for a few hours, remove the floaters and plant the rest, they will germinate in a few days and you could have peas in as little as six weeks.
Ginger & Turmeric
Two of my favorite things to grow are ginger and turmeric, and although you might not have them at home, they are very easy to grow from bits you buy from the supermarket. Just look for organic products or make sure they haven’t been sprayed with an inhibitor. The quarter-sized pieces can be planted in a pot or in the ground and harvested in the fall once the plants begin to die back. Even the leaves can be used to make tea or season soups and curries. For videos on planting, harvesting and processing ginger and turmeric, follow me on Instagram or TikTok @andrethefarmer.
One of the best things about ginger and turmeric is that they are what I call front yard plants. In this, they are so pretty and ornamental that you could grow them in your front yard, and no one would know you were growing food. Every fall you can harvest ginger and turmeric, and if you leave chunks in the ground by accident or on purpose, they will grow back the following season.
You can also grow many of the vegetables you use at the grocery store with nothing but the scraps you normally throw away. Potatoes can be grown from potato skins. Peppers and tomatoes can be grown from the seeds of the fruit you buy. And things like lettuce, kale, and bok choy can regrow just from the ends that most of us throw away.
Dr. Baptiste – or rather Andre the Farmer – says there are endless things you can grow in Central Florida all year round. So, for more ideas and practical advice, check out #andrethefarmer on Instagram, Tiktok and YouTube.