Last year I decided to try something new and grew red potatoes in a garbage can. Yes, I know it sounds crazy. It was a fun experiment to see if I could do it and I did get some potatoes from it–maybe not as many as I would have liked but still I got about 10 pounds of potatoes.
Since then I have experimented with what I like to refer to as Grocery Store Gardening where I can make the most of what I already bought and create more produce for free. You can’t beat free! Being able to regrow food from scraps has made a difference in my grocery budget and could make a difference in yours, too! Remember it’s always best start out with out with local organic produce when you regrow food from scraps.
Here are 7 Ways you can Regrow Food from Scraps.
1. Onions – Green and Regular – For green onions cut the last inch off of each onion which will give you the bulb and roots. Put them in a container with a small amount of water in it so the roots are wet. Place your container near a sunny window sill. Within 3-5 days you will begin to see the onion start to grow. Cut off what you need and leave the roots in the water so you can continue to harvest your kitchen scraps. Change your water about every 5 days to keep the plant healthy.
You can also plant these in a flower pot or in your garden. Be sure to cover the bulbs completely and leave the stem sticking out above the soil. Water regularly and your green onions will continue to grow back.
For onions leave 1/2″ of the root end so you can plant these directly in a sunny place in your garden and cover them with soil. Keep the soil moist. Replant the new ends each time and you will never need to buy onions again!
2. Potatoes – Red, Regular and Sweet – Once your potatoes start sprouting, cut them into 2-inch pieces making sure each piece has a couple of eyes on them. Lay them out for 2-3 days so they can dry out and then plant them about 8 inches in composted soil with the eyes of the potato facing up. Water them and soon you will be harvesting your own potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are similar to regular potatoes except once your shoot reaches about 4 inches high, pull the shoots up and spread them out about 1 inch to give the sweet potatoes room to grow.
I have already harvested red potatoes in a garbage can and you can also use the same process for regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.
3. Ginger – Plant a cut piece of ginger in potting soil with the smallest buds or bumps facing upwards in a warm environment. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly. Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. To harvest the ginger dig up it up, cut off what you need and replant another piece in the soil. You’ll never run out of ginger again!
4. Garlic – You can regrow garlic from just a leftover clove or two. Plant them in a sunny spot in the soil with the root-end down. Once the garlic bulb has produced shoots, trim them off so the garlic will concentrate on the bulb. Once it’s ready to harvest, you can repeat the process with your new bulb to create an endless cycle of garlic!
Another option if you remember is to plant your garlic cloves directly in your garden while getting it ready for winter.
5. Celery – Cut the base of the celery off and place it in a shallow bowl of water near a sunny window sill. In about a week you will have sprouts and will be able to transfer the celery to soil covering everything but the leaves. Wait for the stalks to grow back and then cut off what is needed. As long as you keep the root in the ground, the celery will keep growing.
6. Herbs – cilantro, basil, lemongrass and mint. Most herbs can be regrown and used indefinitely. It helps if the roots still attached but if you aren’t able to get the roots, cut a 4-inch stem of the herb and put it in a glass of water and place in a sunny windowsill. Once the roots are about 2 inches, replant them into pots or into your garden. You can even use a recycled can planter to decorate your kitchen with your herb garden.
7. Lettuce – Take the bottom heart of the lettuce and place it in a container with enough water to cover your roots – about 1/2 inch. Put the container in a sunny window sill and replace the water every couple days. In a few days you will have roots and new leaves appear. You can start eating them when enough leaves appear. Or after about a week you could move it to your garden making sure the leaves stay above the soil. It will continue to grow and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head of leaves.
If you already have lettuce growing in your garden, pick the outer leaves and leave the inner leaves untouched. As long as the crown of the lettuce remains undamaged the lettuce will replenish itself and produce new leaves all season long.
Do you regrow any other food from your grocery store scraps?