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Did you know there are loads of veggies you can grow at home from the scraps and leftovers? This is great because it not only saves money, it also helps reduce waste! Here are 9 ways you can turn those food scraps into delicious food.
Celery is one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Place the base of a bunch of celery with cut stalks facing upright in a small bowl or container in a sunny spot. Fill with water and change every other day for about 1 week. Gently mist the plant every other day. Tiny yellow leaves at the centre of the base will thicken and turn dark green.
After a week, plant the celery in the garden leaving the new leaves uncovered. Keep it well watered. Harvest as needed.
You don’t even need seed potatoes – did you know you can grow potatoes from potato peelings? All you need are the bits with the ‘eyes’ on them. Cut those into 4-5cm pieces or pieces with 2-3 eyes on each piece. Avoid any with green skin, rotten areas, or mould.
Leave them in a dry place for 1-2 days to let them dry out. Plant them out – eyes facing up - in soil about 15cm deep. Water regularly. You should see your potatoes sprouting in a few weeks and harvest them about 10 weeks after the foliage has died back.
You can also use potatoes that have sprouted and cut them in half, but the great thing about peels is they are generally a waste product.
3. Cabbage, Lettuce and Bok Choy
Cabbage, Lettuce and Bok Choy are all pretty easy to grow using leftover leaves or stalks. Place them in a bowl with a bit of water in the bottom. Keep it somewhere warm with good sunlight, change the water every other day, and mist the leaves with water a couple of times a week.
Once you see regrowth after about 1 week, transfer the plant to soil the garden or a pot.
Keep them well watered (lettuce goes bitter and ‘bolts’ to seed if it dries out, so water daily).
You can pick the outer leaves from lettuces as they grow, or harvest when fully grown.
Cabbages take about 10 weeks to be ready to harvest.
Bok Choy takes 4-6 weeks, but you can pick leaves to use as they grow.
4. Basil, Coriander & Lemongrass
Basil, coriander and lemongrass can regrow roots. Simply place the herb stems in water in a sunny spot and change the water every other day.
Once they have plenty of roots (about one week for basil and coriander, three weeks for lemongrass), plant them in the garden. New shoots will come up in a few weeks. In a few months you’ll have a fully grown plant.
Harvest leaves as needed, but be sure not to strip a stem of all its leaves at one time.
Lemongrass is great to grow in a pot. This helps contain it as it can get very large in the garden. And it also needs to stay warm year round, so you can move it to a sunny spot for winter. Once Lemongrass is about 30cm high you can harvest what you need, just be careful not to disturb the roots of the plant.
5. Fresh ginger
Just pull a piece of ginger from your fresh ginger (especially if it has growth nodules or eyes on it) and plat in potting mix with the largest buds facing up.
Ginger will grow new shoots and roots. Plant it where it doesn’t get direct sunlight. When it’s ready to harvest, pull up the entire plant, including the roots. Remove a piece of the root and replant again. Note: ginger can get large and sprawling, so to keep it contained it is best grown in a large pot.
Chop off the onion bottom with all the roots still intact. The more of a bottom you leave on, the better. Try for 4-5cm of attached "meat". Allow to dry for a few hours, then place it into soil with the roots down and they will regrow in about 3 weeks. Once roots appear, remove the old onion, separate plants as needed by slicing between plants and leaving a portion of the roots attached and plant out into the garden. Cut leaves down to 1/3 of the size to allow the bulb to develop. Harvest when fully grown.
7. Pumpkins, Squash, Capsicum and Tomatoes
Save the seeds from your pumpkins and squash, capsicums and tomatoes. Rinse the seeds, spread them on a flat surface in a sunny spot to dry completely and store until you are ready to grow your own.
Or if you have tomatoes that are going off or have already sprouted, you can plant them out directly into soil.
It’s not just the carrot that you can eat, the sprouts at the top are edible too.
Place carrot tops in a bowl, cut side down. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the top halfway. Place on a sunny windowsill and change the water daily.
Once they have sprouted shoots, plant the tops out carefully – don’t cover the shoots. You can then harvest the greens either as baby greens, or let them grow fully and harvest them and add to a salad or stirfry as you like.
If you are really feeling committed, you can save the seeds or pips from most fruit and grow them – but it will take several years to reap the rewards. Avocados, apples, lemons, peaches, plums, and nectarines are just some of the fruit you can grow from seed.
Posted: Thursday 1 August 2019