Here’s a clever new indoor garden idea. It’s the ultimate in organic gardening at home because it lets you recycle plastic cola bottles – and grow food on your dining table. This clever system is called GrowFlutes. An indoor GrowFlute will grow you almost any small plant, edible or otherwise, decoratively and conveniently.

First, cut the bottom off a large one or two pint clear cola or squash bottle, around four inches from the bottom. Keep this little tub. It makes a nice growing pot. The rest of the bottle is your GrowFlute. Take the cap off.

Now you have a clear ‘flute’ around nine inches high. It will grow almost any salad, herb or small vegetable plant. The simplest way to show its versatility is to start with dandelions.

Dandelions are a beautiful – and edible – indoor plant

Dig a fresh dandelion root from your garden. Trim away the larger leaves and insert that spindly root into the neck of your GrowFlute. Turn the flute upside down. Into the cut-off base of the flute insert a non-rotting capillary wick such as a bootlace or strip of sash cord, nylon sock or spindled pantihose, making sure it enshrouds the root. Now add damp compost to the bottle and tamp it down firmly.

Put your GrowFlute on a tray, such as the plastic packs used by supermarkets for perishable foods.

Raise the flute a half-inch high on gravel or even cut-down corks. Don’t worry about roots growing in the gravel. As soon as they meet the air, they’ll dive back again!

Fill the saucer with water and make sure your capillary cord is well steeped too. Now expose your flute to good light, such as a south-facing window. In a week or so you’ll be rewarded with fresh lush leafy, and edible, growth. Tomato growers call this ‘ring culture’, but a GrowFlute is more decorative.

You don’t need a garden to raise delicious food

Crop a few leaves for your salads every few days and the dandelions will keep you in vitamin C for several weeks and save you the hardship of going outdoors. Your dandelions will soon yield flowers – but cut off the flowerheads before they form seeds.

For long-term food production, the GrowFlute will need feeding after a few weeks. Organic gardeners will use nettle, compost or comfrey tea, rich in phosphorous and nitrogen which promotes lush leaves. But do note: nettle and comfrey tea, in particular, smell like a cattle shed.

Dandelions are given here simply as one – often overlooked – example of a quick-grow edible plant. Any small plant can be grown in a GrowFlute, either from a seedling or the seed itself. Provided your capillary wick is set well in place, you can water the GrowFlute thereafter from the saucer.

Salads all year round

You can even raise lush yields of peas, beans, either climbers or dwarf beans, provided they have enough light – and even in winter. Water, food and light are what legumes need most, rather than space for their roots.

A great indoor gardening idea is to put tinfoil or metallic ‘holographic’ gift wrap paper under, and ideally behind, any plants you grow on your windowsill to throw back the light.

Such methods were no novelty for Victorian gardeners. They ‘forced’ peas, dwarf beans, strawberries, rhubarb and every type of unseasonable plant, indoors in winter, and thought little of it. But we don’t need a hothouse; our own homes are warm enough! One joy of GrowFlutes is that, if you have a windowsill filled with these salad machines, you can add an inch of water to the tray and go on holiday.

They’re decorative too! Paint the outside of the flutes before you fill them and rest them in a matching painted saucer. And you’ll have a very pretty room decoration.

A wicked idea for a dinner party is to place a GrowFlute beside each guest and let them cut their own fresh salads. Your dinner party will certainly be remembered!

Source by John Yeoman

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