Kitchen Scrap Gardening
Remember back to January—did you make a resolution to eat more vegetables? Did you simply hope to eat better this year? Well, here is a reminder and invitation to recommit for the spring and do so while saving money and making cooking much more personal and meaningful.
Grow your own!
It will take a bit of extra energy, but will save you time and money in the long run, while adding purpose and connection to cooking and eating.
There are essentially two ways of re-growing produce in your own home: place the base of the plant in water, letting roots grow again, and transplant to soil, or plant a piece of the vegetable or the seed directly in soil. For all, unless otherwise noted, be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and sunlight.
- Lettuce, Bok Choy, Cabbage: Place the base of leftover leaves in water; spray the leaves a couple times per week.
- Celery and Lemongrass: Place the root in water.
- Bean Sprouts: Place about a tablespoon of the beans you wish to grow in water.
- Basil and Cilantro: Put a stem in water in a partially-shaded area. Be sure leaves are above water line.
- Fennel: Place the root base, about an inch tall in water.
- Avocado: Suspend the seed over water pointy side up using toothpicks in a warm and shady area. Have the water cover most, but not all of the seed. Maintain this water level until the roots and stem sprout from both top and bottom, respectively. (Takes about 6 weeks, but it is worth it!) Once the stem grows 6 inches, trim back and wait for leaves to appear. Plant with top of seed exposed.
- Pineapple: Cut off the top, suspend over water with toothpicks, and place in a sunny area. The water should reach the base of the greens. Place outside if warm. Transplant once roots appear.
- Tomatoes and Peppers: Rinse some seeds, let dry, and place in soil.
- Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: Once a potato has sat for too long, it begins growing ‘eyes’ or little buds jutting out of the skin. Once you find some of these, you can slice that area off (1 inch around the eye) and plant it. At the end of the summer, pull up the plant and dig around—you will find many new potatoes in the soil (a fun treasure hunt for kids!)
- Mushrooms: Cut the top off and place the stalk in soil, leaving the very top exposed. These need a fair amount of humidity, so best try later in the summer.
- Garlic: Place a clove of two in soil with the base down. Once shoots appear, trim them back so the plant’s energy goes into the bulb rather than the greens.
- Onions: When you cut the base with roots off, leave about an inch of onion and plant, roots down. (For green onions, place root base in water, replacing water every few days.)
- Pumpkins: Plant some seeds, or the whole pumpkin once Halloween is past!
- Cherries, Apples, Peaches, Lemons: Rinse and dry seeds and plant. These take a few years to bear fruit, but it is worth it!