Looking for a fun activity that can easily be done with what you already have in your kitchen? Turn those kitchen scraps into a vegetable garden! While you’re not going to be able to grow a huge bumper crop with these methods, it is still a fun way to reduce waste, get some sunlight, and enjoy some tasty home-grown food at the end of it all. Here’s how to grow some of the vegetables you likely already have on-hand:
Celery is a cool-weather crop, so keep in mind that it will grow better in spring than in the hot summer months. To regrow celery, cut off stalks about 2 inches from the bottom of the bunch. Put the white base into a shallow bowl or plate of water, but do not submerge, and place in a sunny area. After about a week, roots should emerge and new leaves will be growing from the top. At this point, you can plant the celery in the garden, leaving just the new leaves above the surface, and wait for it to grow to full length.
Green onions are perhaps one of the easiest vegetables to re-grow, as often the roots are still present when you buy them from the store. Simply plant the rooty end, root side down, in potting soil and set in a sunny window. Water regularly, and within two weeks there should be enough green growth to trim and use.
Similar to celery, to re-grow romaine lettuce simply place the cut-off stem into a bowl of water, root-side down. Change the water daily and keep in a sunny area. Once new leaves have emerged, transplant into soil.
Likewise, the method for growing bok choy is the same! Place cut-off end into a bowl of water, and plant in soil once leaves have emerged.
Garlic requires patience and is best planted in the fall. Simply plant one clove, root side down, outdoors in the fall. Next spring or summer, you will be able to harvest a full bulb. You will know that it is ready for harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow and sag.
Leeks can be grown the exact same way as green onions! Simply plant the root end into potting soil and watch as new leafy greens emerge in just one to two weeks.
To start onions, cut off the root end of the onion, leaving about an inch and a half of white flesh. Plant in soil, covering with about 1-2″ of soil. Once multiple leaves have emerged, remove from the soil and take off any remaining old onion scales. If multiple stems have emerged, separate the plants by cutting between the stems, leaving the roots attached. Replant in soil, and trim the leaves back to promote bulb growth.
Most fresh herb stems such as basil, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro can easily be regrown. Remove any bottom leaves (but leave the top ones!) and place them into a cup of water. Once roots have sprouted, plant in soil and trim off fresh growth as needed.
Plant leftover ginger root in moist soil, with buds facing up. As ginger is a tropical plant, it prefers a warm environment, so outdoor planting is recommended. Over time, green shoots will sprout and roots will spread. After a few months, you can harvest additional sections of the root, re-planting what you don’t use.
Chances are you’ve had a potato or two sprout all on their own after sitting in the pantry too long. For small potatoes, you can plant them whole. For larger potatoes, it is recommended to cut them into smaller pieces, ensuring that each piece still has a few eyes on it. Allow the pieces to dry for a few days to help prevent rot, and then plant in soil. Within a few months, you should be able to harvest a new bunch of potatoes.
While it may take a few years to grow a whole pineapple due to their slow growth and long harvest cycle, it is still possible to turn your pineapple scraps into an eye-catching houseplant that’s sure to start some conversations. Cut off the top of a pineapple, about half an inch below the leaves. Remove a few of the lowest leaves, and then cut away the outer portion of the flesh until you see the root buds which look like small brown bumps. Allow the top to dry for a few days to a week to discourage rot, and then plant in soil. Keep the soil moist, and place in an area that receives at least six hours of bright sun each day.
Many peppers can easily be grown from leftover seeds. They also tend to be quick growers that require little maintenance. Simply collect the seeds and plant in soil in a warm area that receives plenty of sunlight.
To prepare tomato seeds for planting, simply rinse them well with water and then allow them to dry. You can start them indoors and then transplant outside once they have grown a few inches tall, or if the outdoor temperature is reasonably warm with no risk of frost, you can start them outdoors. Plant in an area that receives plenty of sunlight, and water a few times each week.
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