The weather is warming up, and that always makes me think of gardening. I love spring, if for no other reason than the opportunity it allows me to dig in the dirt! “But I live in an apartment!” you say? Lament not, my small space dwelling friend. I too have very little space to plant, but I make good use of our tiny deck.
Something new I planted this year was lemongrass. That’s right, the lovely-tasting lemony reed that you usually see in Thai food. Annoyed with the fact that I was always stuck with the dried out twigs from the asian grocery down the street, I set about growing my own. It’s actually really simple:
1. Buy some cut lemongrass in your local Asian market. Make sure that it’s not too dried out, with at least some sign of life visible in the woody base. Buy six to twelve stalks of the stuff.
2. Cut off the top of the stalk, leaving about seven inches from the base to where you cut it. Stick your now-shorter lemony twigs in fresh, clean water and allow them to sit there for a while. Make sure not to let them dry out! Always make sure that at least two and a half inches of the stalk is submerged in water.
It should look something like this (the greenery won’t look like this for a few weeks):
Next, you should see little green shoots beginning to extend from the top of the stalk. This will probably happen very quickly, and long before you see any roots:
After a few weeks, your lemongrass will be quite long and begin to take over your kitchen (see first photo above!). You should begin to see roots, looking like this:
Once you’ve got a solid root base going, as it shows in the photo, it’s time to transplant them. You can plant them in regular potting soil, and you want to plant them in circles, five or six around. Make sure to be gentle with the roots, as they’re really brittle and will break off. It’s a good idea to plant them before the roots go crazy to avoid damaging them.
Lemongrass likes hot, sunny spots (remember – they’re tropical). Water frequently. Soon you will start to see little babies popping up all over, looking like little green leafy straws… in the right climate, these things can reach up to nine feet, but here in the states, they’ll probably not get any taller than four or five.
When they’re big enough to eat, cut them and enjoy the fruits (or grass) of your labor.