My Garden: planting from compost sprouts

It’s spring again in Texas, and I’ve clearly learned nothing from the failure of my garden last year. The only thing I grew successfully was a few good bell pepper plants and a whole lot of mint. Mint, mint, mint. I mean, I love mint in my green tea in the summer (it’s one of the natural coolants that I recommend if you are giving up antiperspirant), but the amount of mint I have had in the last year is ridiculous. After I planted it initially, I had a lot of people warn me that I never should have planted it in a garden because it would take over. They were not kidding. That stuff pops up in the weirdest places. Like growing out of the side of the raised bed:

Mint growing from side of raised bedWeird.

Most of my herbs came back: parsley and two kinds of mint, as well as the strawberries from last year which are now putting out little flowers.

The minute it got warm outside about a month ago, I was out there planting seeds and watering things again just like I hadn’t killed nearly a dozen plants last year. Some time last November I planted kale and swiss chard seeds by haphazardly throwing them into the ground willy-nilly, because they were supposed to bloom in the cooler weather (it doesn’t get cold here until late December/early January — this year it was February). I thought the seeds had died, but suddenly sprouts appeared a few weeks ago and now I have some pretty decent sized plants!

Swiss Chard April 2013
The thin little shoots are leek sproutlings that I got from a neighbor, they were initially sprouted for our elementary school’s community garden and there were extras.

Leeks April 2013

The rest of the garden has evolved from another odd spot: compost sprouts.

First of all, my compost bin is not so much a bin as it is a circle of chicken wire at the side of the house that I dump things into and turn with a shovel every 10 days or 2 weeks. More accurately: I do it when I remember.

I add things to it, but it’s more of a random compilation than a science. Because I do tend to, um, leave it alone a bit too long, when I do turn it I often find little sprouts in the mishmash. For example, some kind of root vegetable that had gone bad and was tossed into the compost bin had a full 6-7 inch plant growing from it. A head of garlic that sprouted was also almost 4 inches tall in there. My mother was visiting one day and found a huge collection of squash sprouts. Unfortunately, the squash died when I tried to transplant it to the garden. But the mysterious root vegetable is now nearly a foot tall!

Sprout from compost

And the garlic is looking pretty healthy too:

Garlic from compost

Just yesterday I found some other tiny thing in the compost and planted it as well.

I have no idea what that thing is either. I guess we’ll see when it starts sprouting something!

If I don’t kill it first.

How about you? Have you planted anything yet? Do you also raid your compost for sprouts, or is that just me?

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