by Emma Crameri
Seeds from the kitchen cupboard
As an experiment, I wondered if I could grow any plants for free from our kitchen cupboards.
I raided the spice rack and found anise stars, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and two types of mustard seeds. If you have them, you could also use caraway, celery, chilli, dill, and fenugreek.
Of course the seeds need to be whole rather than ground. The fennels in the fennel seed tea had started to decompose and were powdery due to their age.
In the back of the cupboard I collected chia seeds and flaxseeds – remnants of my recent health kick. I already know the organic flaxseeds are fertile. I sometimes make flaxseed tea; you pour hot water over a tablespoon of seeds and leave it in the fridge overnight. Drain the seeds off and throw them in the garden. Drink the remaining ‘tea’. It contains essential fatty acids and is great for your skin and settling an upset tummy.
You could also try sowing sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Sunflower seed is ideal as a cover crop — look for it in bulk at the grocery shop as bird seed. Sunflowers have long tap roots and they are great for breaking up compacted soil prior to planting. You can feed the flower heads to the chickens when you are finished.
I mixed all the seeds up and added some expired packets of herbs and flowers into an empty cardboard tea box. I was aiming for a beneficial bug – spice – herb mix, which I then planted in various bare patches around the garden.
Indian and Asian grocery stores could be a good source of seeds as you can buy the spices in bulk bags. We buy our cumin (and cinnamon) like this to save money.
If you are going to buy seeds from the grocery store to sow, then I would look for organic ones. You want to avoid storing your spice seeds near the oven as the heat will destroy them. Seeds which are stored out of sunlight in a dry place will be the most viable. Herb and spice seeds do best planted where you want them to remain.
Have you had any luck with free seeds from your kitchen cupboard?