What Hope Looks Like: A Short Photo Essay

by Maria Theresa Maggi on March 26, 2014

baby bok choi start

About a week ago one of my friends on facebook shared a link about how to sprout greens from the crowns of the organic produce we buy in the store. I was enchanted, and in need of cheering up. The prospect of a growing season without Eric in the neighborhood is taking some adjustment.  I am always a sucker for what I call “science experiments,” especially if it might get me some homegrown produce a little bit earlier in the season. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to “repurpose” the volumes of organic produce I buy, beyond putting the scraps in my compost bucket. Perhaps I’d even be lucky enough to eat it all over again. This method promised small leaves of lettuce in days, with nothing more than the leftover crown, water and sunlight. I just had to try it.

So here, in honor of Spring, are the results of my experiment so far. I think my late neighbor Eric would have enjoyed these. And they sure seem like a great image for the promise of Susan’s speedy recovery now that her surgery is successfully behind her. So these are for you, Susan. Here’s to new life and happy healing!

This is what everything looked like on about day 2, after potting up the baby tomatoes:

baby tomatoes and resprouting greens

And this is the romaine a couple of days later:

baby tomato and sprouted romaine

And here are a couple of closeups of baby bok choi and red cabbage coming along:

baby bok choy start 2

red cabbage sprouting in water

And finally the 3 romaine crowns in a row:

romaine sprouting in water

Whether they make it into the dirt of the garden or not, these little leaves are delicious. And bright green, like Anahata, the color of the heart chakra. The edible plumage coming out of these old crowns reminds me of the mythical phoenix, and its power to rise out of its own ashes.  Something new being born of something old: a story I love to hear–and live by–over and over and over.

Maria (moonwatcher)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Veronica March 26, 2014 at 10:10 am

That’s awesome! I’ve done that with the roots of green onions, but not with romaine or cabbage! I will have to experiment as well.
Losing someone is never easy, and I’m glad you’re finding small things to make you smile as you remember Eric and the bond with nature and food you shared.


2 moonwatcher March 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Thanks so much for your kind words, Veronica, so eloquently expressed. I just poked two green onion into some moist potting soil in a pot and they are already sprouting. 🙂


3 The Savvy Sister March 27, 2014 at 7:29 am

I’ve seen this too but never thought of it as such a fitting metaphor for those who need some hope…and who can’t use more of that? I’m so glad I can share with my peeps on FB! Thanks!


4 moonwatcher March 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Thanks so much, Savvy Sister!!


5 Marcia March 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

What a wonderful idea…nothing wasted, followed by tasted, once again! It’s another form of rebirth. Thank you for including the link to the process with all of us; I can hardly wait to try it myself.

Perhaps you could dedicate a section (or the whole thing) of your garden to Eric. It’s another way to remember him and remind neighbors that his name should be kept alive. Just an idea. Wishing you peace and endless greens, Marcia


6 moonwatcher March 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

You are welcome, Marcia!! I love your phrase, “nothing wasted, followed by tasted”!! And yes, the lovage and the tomatoes in my yard will definitely honor Eric’s memory. And anyone who comes to visit or help in the garden will hear about it. 🙂 I can’t say how much I love the sign off “wishing you peace and endless greens”–thanks so much!!


7 Susan Voisin March 30, 2014 at 9:16 am

Maria, thank you so much for dedicating such hopeful thoughts and photos to my recovery. I wish I had noticed it sooner, but I’ve been kind of loopy the last few days. 🙂

I’ve grown the romaine ends before with limited success–they grow, but then I wait too long, expecting them to get bigger, and they rot before I eat them. So maybe they have become my metaphor for seizing the moment and not putting things off, hoping that there will be a better time. The best time is now–something new rising up every minute that we live.


8 moonwatcher March 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

Dear Susan, you are welcome–no worries about responding–you are perfectly entitled to your loopy state of being!! 🙂 I really love what you say here about the romaine teaching you that “the best time is now–something new rising up every minute that we live.” Beautifully said. And so true. I’ve had to make myself eat some of those little lettuce leaves and not get all involved in how much bigger they might get or how long they will last–so I’m with you on that. Today I noticed some of the root crowns of the baby bok choi are disintegrating, so I may do yet another science experiment and see if they’ll pot up. It’s all about embracing the choices we can make in the moment with the circumstances we are given. Thanks for giving us all such wonderful virtual circumstances in which to meet and support each other. All the best loving and healing thoughts as you recover!!


9 Jude March 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Can’t wait to try this. I’ve already decided to try to grow greens as seen on facebook – a bag of Miracle Grow laying down with plastic cut away on top. Sow seeds on top of soil.



10 moonwatcher March 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Hi Jude, what a cool idea about the miracle grow. I wonder if it would also work with organic potting soil. You got my wheels turning!! Thanks!


11 Sally March 31, 2014 at 7:10 am

Maria – this is awesome. I might go get some romaine just to try it!

I have to tell you that I have some long slow projects going in my life and your “better every day” keeps me going. Thank you as always.


12 moonwatcher March 31, 2014 at 8:11 am

Hi Sally, thanks so much! That’s what I did when I found out about this–went out and bought some organic romaine hearts in a package that happened to be 30 percent off. They are still going and the little leaves taste great. Just very fun and funny to me. I feel happy in my heart to know that my “better than it was” philosophyy is helping you make your way through some long slow projects. All best!


13 Charleen April 21, 2014 at 5:40 am

Very good idea, I will be trying this!


14 moonwatcher April 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

Thanks, Charleen! 🙂


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