On the one hand, buying all the supplies needed to get a ‘kitchen garden’ started can be a little expensive, but on the other, it is a lot of fun! One way to save yourself the money on seeds is to start your garden plants from kitchen scraps you always have on hand.
1. Green onions
Every gardener knows that green onions are one of the easiest crops to grow from scraps. What you have to do the next time you cook with green onions, is slice off the far end which contains the “furry” roots, and put it in a shallow glass of water so that the roots get revived again.
Take the glass to a sunny windowsill, and change the water daily. In about 10 days you should see a fresh bunch of green onions cropping up.
2. ‘Regular’ onions
Side by side with the germination of your own green onions, you can also regrow regular onions by saving the ‘aged’ root bottoms. If you simply stick the bottom ¼ portion of the onion in a patch of fresh soil, and attend it with a little water every day, you will get new onions very soon! Yes, before long, you will get a ‘budding’ patch of fresh onions, and may never need to attend the grocer’s again.
Leeks is the best companion of onion. And leeks are equally easy to regrow as the green or regular onion above. You carefully save the bottom of the plant, and then let it mellow out in a glass with shallow water until the roots start to sprout. Afterwards plant it in some fertile soil. The result is enjoyable – you get an upcoming bunch of leeks for all your soups, boils, roasts… whatever.
You don’t really need a ‘green thumb’ to get around planting these protein-rich white potatoes – it is very easy. When you have a sack of organic potatoes sprouting away in the pantry, you can just remove the sprouts, dry them out, and plant them to get a fresh supply of a whole new potato crop.
Once the sprouts get ready to be planted [as described], simply dig holes in the soil, and stick the potato sprouts with their “eye” facing up. Within a month, you should have spot some fresh growth.
The fennel adds a very special flavor to seasonal side dishes, and it also tastes great when combined with root vegetables. You can grow your own fennel by saving the plant’s base, and placing it in a shallow glass of water in full sun. When the roots start to regrow in the water, promptly transplant it in your kitchen garden, and watch it thrive day by day. It feels good!
The celery is a vegetable staple in nearly every kitchen, so opt for growing it from scraps. Again, remove the bottom of a full bunch of celery, and place it in a glass container with some warm water [make sure the water is covering just the base of the celery]. Rest it in full sunlight, and, in a week or so, you will see fresh growth around the base. At this point, move it into organic soil, and allow it to grow to full length before cropping it.
Any remaining cruciferous lettuce leaves should be saved, and placed in a bowl with warm water. Just put the bowl in the magical sunlight, and do not forget to change the water. You may also mist the leaves with purified water (fluoride-free water) several times a week.
Before you know it, roots and brand new lettuce leaves will sprout on the old leaves, and then you can transplant the lettuce into your real garden. You can repeat this process with cabbage and Bok choy.
Mushrooms are irresistible when sautéed with your favorite dish, aren’t they? It is also possible to regrow them from tiny scraps, but with somewhat greater difficulty. Place the saved stems of your mushrooms in a mix of soil and compost. With a little humidity and warm filtered light, you could enjoy a fungi crop galore!
To bend your kitchen garden a little on the sweet side, you can grow some pineapples as well. You shouldn’t worry about pineapples because they are fairly easy to grow and make really nice houseplants. Simply save the leafy green “crown” of your pineapple and remove all the remaining fruit from the stem.
Place the top in a warm, well-draining soil, and wait for some roots to take to sprouting. At first, the plant should regularly receive watering, and then you should reduce the watering routine when the plant is well- established. If all goes well, the plant should reproduce a new pineapple in 2-3 years.
The ginger is so versatile herb that it can be used for anything from hot curries to remedial teas. Although it looks like an exotic plant at first sight, it is actually a ‘leisure time plant’ to grow.
This is how you can continue replanting the ginger for a plentiful supply: Simply cut off a small piece of the ginger root, plant it in potting soil, and give it water daily. Then remove the root from the pot every week, and break a few pieces off.
On the next occasion you have some garlic at hand, just set aside a few good cloves and plant them in your garlic soil. Each clove will sprout into a fully-fledged, brand new head of garlic within the growing season. The best policy here is also to plant organic garlic since other-than-organic garlic is sprayed with pesticides that prevent easy regrowth of the plant.
12. Bean sprouts
Bean sprouts are powerfully-packed with nutrients, and are fun to grow. While they call for a setup that is a bit more requiring than a sunny windowsill and a glass of water, they are an awesome reward for the effort put. Just take a tablespoon of beans and put them in a glass bowl. Then you add a little water, let them sit overnight, and rinse them off in the morning.
The point is to keep repeating this germination process until new growth occurs, and then let them sprout to the desired length. Some people also use special sprouting jars for their beans.
Hopefully, we suggested good plants for your little staple-food garden. If not, switch the plants and use appropriate growing techniques.
Growing your own plants is never time wasted!