Grow a Mini Herb Garden on Sponges

Gardening can be a great stress reliever if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, literally! But then, not everyone feels the same. If you’re one of those people who loves plants but can’t handle the mess, you’ll definitely love this project. This time, try growing a small herb garden in your kitchen on an alternative medium – a sponge. Clean ones, of course!

The trick is to keep the sponge damp. But you must have understood that by now. Planting seeds on a sponge is also a handy way for kids to learn how plants grow with just water, air and sunlight. Continue reading…

HOW TO START

Do not use recycled sponge, as it may absorb more water and rot faster. Buy fresh, inexpensive ones that are free of the bacteria usually found in recycled parts. You can of course choose multicolored kitchen sponges for a brighter look.

CONTAINERS

Choosing the right container for your herb garden is important. Planters, window trays or shallow serving dishes can be good choices. But it’s up to you, totally! If you want to grow herbs in your grandma’s old teapot, you can go ahead. As long as the container is airtight and contains the sponge, there are no set rules. It could also be a plastic cup.

PREPARE

Thoroughly rinse the sponge for several minutes to remove any residue it may contain. If you are using a piece of recycled sponge, soak it in boiling water for 15 minutes to kill bacteria. Now place the sponge in the container, cutting it so that it fits properly.

WATER WELL

Soak sponge in water until saturated, then wring out excess water. The sponge should have plenty of moisture, but should not be runny before planting your seeds. To avoid overwatering, add only a tablespoon of water at a time or simply use a spray bottle.

PLANTING

You can easily grow garlic, leek, shallot and others on a sponge. Simply sprinkle the herb seeds on the surface and press them into the sponge with your fingers. Most grasses have tiny seeds that easily penetrate the surface of the sponge. Depending on the size of the room, you may want to leave some space between the seeds to allow room for growth. For larger seeds like chives, broccoli or mustard, push the seeds a little deeper into the holes until they are secure and don’t spill out. Cover the top of the container with plastic cling film. Poke several holes in the plastic with the tip of a pin to allow air to circulate and prevent excessive moisture buildup. Place the herb garden in a warm place until the seeds germinate.

GROWTH

Remove the plastic cover once the seedlings begin to sprout, then place the herb garden on a sunny windowsill. Herbs prefer bright light. If the light is not enough, place them under a plant lamp or a fluorescent lamp. Keep the sponge damp at all times. If it becomes dry, the seeds will not germinate or the sprouts will die.

GATHER

Harvest fresh herbs when the plants are about three to four inches tall. Harvesting the leaves from the growing tip forces new branches to form along the stem and creates a bushy plant. Not just herbs, these sponge gardens also work well for planting some flower seeds. Once the seeds start to germinate, you can put them in mini pots to keep them growing on your garden or rooftop balcony. So what are you waiting for? Go for it…

Terri S. Tomasini