It is incredibly easy to grow your own vegetables at home by using scraps, and it’s a great way to save your money and practice sustainability.
Whether it be from cut off ends, or from the seeds they bear, regrowing your favourite veggies from scraps is going to be a game changer for many of us. Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly used vegetables, and find out how to grow them at home with ease.
You may have a couple cloves of garlic laying around – why not grow them? The key to successfully growing garlic to to plant them in full sun, and to remember to chop off the tall stalk that sprouts from the bulb. Once you cut this piece off, the garlic bulb will instead put all of it’s energy into growing large bulbs for tasty consumption. Or, if you enjoy the garlic greens, which are delicious added to soups and salads, place a budding clove (or even a whole bulb) in a small cup, bowl, or jar. Add water until it covers the bottom of the container and touches the bottom of the cloves. Be careful not to submerge the cloves in order to avoid rot. Change the water every other day and place in a sunny area.
2. Green Cabbage
Grow your very own cabbage patch for cheap. Place leftover leaves in a bowl and add a small amount of water in the bottom. Set the bowl in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Every couple of days, replace the water and mist the leaves with water.
When roots and new leaves begin to appear, transplant the cabbage into a garden. Harvest when fully grown, then repeat with the new leaves.
Cut off the last inch of each onion, so that you still have the bulb and roots (lower white part). Put these ends in mud, making sure to leave a portion of each stem sticking out above the soil. Water regularly, and your onions will start growing. You can take cuttings from the green portion of the plant, and it will still continue to regrow more greens. You can do this about 3 times before you will need to plant more bulbs.
4. Carrots and Carrot Greens
Instead of defaulting to the compost, use carrot tops to grow healthy carrot greens. Place a carrot top or tops in a bowl, cut side down. Fill the bowl with about an inch of water so the top is halfway covered. Place the dish in a sunny windowsill and change the water every day.
The tops will eventually sprout shoots. When they do, plant the tops in soil, careful not to cover the shoots. Harvest the greens to taste. (Some people prefer the baby greens; others prefer them fully grown.)
Soak your ginger root overnight and then cut it into pieces. Make sure that there are a couple growth buds on each piece (the little bumps on the end of each “finger”), and plant the ginger with these growth buds pointing up or to the side (do not have them facing down). Then, water regularly, but not so much that the soil becomes soggy. Harvesting your ginger is easy, since all you need to do is dig up pieces of the root, and cut off what you need, leaving what you don’t. It will continue to grow.
Rinse off the base of a bunch of celery and place it in a small bowl or similar container (any wide-mouthed, glass, or ceramic container should do). Fill the container with warm water, cut stalks facing upright. Place the bowl in a sunny area. Leave the base as-is for about one week and change the water every other day. Use a spray bottle to gently mist the plant every other day. The tiny yellow leaves around the center of the base will grow thicker and turn dark green.
After five to seven days, move the celery base to a planter or garden and cover it with soil, leaving the leaf tips uncovered. Keep the plant well watered. You’ll soon notice celery leaves regenerate from the base, as well as a few small stalks. Harvest when fully grown, then repeat the process.
7. Romaine or Cos Lettuce
Growing romaine is the same as celery. Cut off about an inch from the bottom of the romaine stalk, let it sit in water to wait for roots and slightly longer growing leaves from the top, and then re-plant in mud! Any time you want to harvest leaf lettuce from your garden, just pick the outer leaves but leave the inner leaves untouched. This will ensure that your lettuce continues to produce new leaves all season long.
8. Chili Peppers
Harvest the seeds from your favorite spicy peppers and plant them in soil in a sunny area. Peppers tend to grow fast, so get your pickling materials ready. Once you have a new crop, save the seeds so you can repeat the process and grow your own heirloom peppers.
Yes, you can grow your own mushrooms from scraps. Start by removing the mushroom’s cap; you only need the stalk. Plant the stalks in well aerated soil and cover everything except for the very top of the stalks. Harvest your mushrooms when fully grown.
To grow your own potatoes from scraps, cut the potato(s) into two pieces, making sure each half has at least one to two eyes. Let the pieces sit at room temperature overnight or for a few days until they’re dry to the touch. Once the potato halves are dry, plant them about one foot apart in 8 inches of soil. When they’re fully grown, potatoes can be harvested for several months—even after the plants die.
Once you have your veggie scrap garden set up, you will be able to harvest fresh food, whenever you want it.