There is nothing more satisfying than growing your own produce and eating it. Small-scale urban farming can happen on your balcony or in your garden using food scraps. Check out our tips and tricks below to get you started!
Lettuce, cabbage, bok choy and other leafy greens
Leafy greens are typically one of the easiest and fastest types of veggies to grow. There are two main ways to regrow them from scraps.
For the first method, collect leaves from these vegetables that would typically be discarded because of their appearance or texture. Place these in a bowl with enough water to cover the bottom of the leaves. Move this bowl to an area that receives lots of sunlight and be sure to mist the leaves with water every two to three days. Within the span of a week or so, you will observe that new roots and leaves have begun to sprout. Once this occurs, you can transplant them into soil and allow the leafy greens to grow.
Another way to regrow greens is by placing the root section in water. Once you see new leaves and roots sprouting, this means it is ready to be moved into some soil for growth.
Take a chunk of potato or piece of the peel and make sure it includes at least one “eye.” Potato eyes are small depressions where roots sprout from. These are what will be replanted to form new potato plants.
The piece of potato or peel you have chosen should be left to dry slightly overnight. Then, it can be planted into the soil with the eye(s) facing upwards.
Sweet potatoes are grown differently from regular potatoes. Regrowing them from scraps is typically best using old sweet potatoes that have been cut in half. Suspend each half of the sweet potato over a shallow bowl or container of water using toothpicks.
Within a few days, you will notice roots growing out from the bottom and sprouts growing out from the top. Once the sprouts reach four inches (10 cm) in height, they can be cut off and placed with their bases in a container of water. Once the bases of these sprouts grow shoots, the sweet potato is ready to be replanted in a pot to grow.
Carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and other root veggies
Root vegetables all follow the same process for regrowth from scraps. Save the tops of your root vegetable of choice and place them in a container of water (cut side down) in a space with lots of sunlight. From this, you will notice that the green tops will begin to grow first. This will be followed by the growth of roots. The green tops can be harvested and eaten or, once the roots form, the veggies can be transplanted into the soil.
Though we typically consider ginger to be a spice, it actually comes from the rhizome (underground stem) of a plant. It also happens to be one of the easiest veggies in this list to regrow from scraps. Simply take a small (thumb-sized) piece of ginger and plant it in damp soil with the buds facing upwards. This will grow quickly and within a week, will be ready for harvest.
Garlic, onions, shallots and leeks
Some of the most versatile veggies in cooking are aromatics. They are also easy to regrow from scraps. Use a small portion of the rooting base of the bulb or stem and place it in a shallow dish of water. Soon enough, green material will grow from the base. This can either be harvested right away or replanted. By replanting them, onions and garlic will form new single bulbs. Meanwhile, the shallots are likely to divide into clumps. This will multiply your harvestable produce.
Lemongrass and scallions
Scallions and lemongrass both use the same method to regrow them from kitchen scraps. The root end of the stalk should be placed in a container of water that covers the roots completely. This container should be placed in a sunny area and be sure to change the water every day or two. Within five to seven days, new growth will have occurred. Once this happens, the plant can be moved to the soil. Once it reaches approximately 12 inches in length, it can be harvested by cutting off the desired length of the stalk. By using this harvesting method, the vegetable continues to grow without disrupting the growth of the entire plant.
Celery is another vegetable that grows quickly and easily. To start, cut off the base of a stalk of celery and place this in a bowl of lukewarm water with the cut part facing up. Place this bowl in an area with ample sunlight and be sure to change the water every other day. Within a week, new leaves will grow and the base will have sprouted and be ready to be transplanted into soil. However, do ensure that the new leaves are uncovered and that the plant is watered generously.
Fennel bulbs can be regrown similar to celery. Place one inch (2.5 cm) of the base of the bulb (which should be attached to its root system) in a shallow bowl of water. Once new shoots emerge from the middle of the base, the fennel bulb can be replanted in a pot or soil bed.
Bonus! Herbs: basil, cilantro, mint and more
Yes, we know, these are not veggies! We just wanted to give you a bonus tip on how to plant some of the most flavor-enhancing ingredients at home. The easiest way to regrow herbs from scratch is by using cuttings. Take a four-inch (10cm) stem of your herb of choice and put it into a glass of water. When doing this, ensure that the leaves are well above water level, so they do not rot. Once the roots grow and become robust, the herbs can be transplanted into small pots or beds of soil in the garden.
via Rural Sprout
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