by Christina Sarich
If you are a frugal gardener, you’ll love this idea. How about growing your garden this year from food scraps? Some of the easiest and most inexpensive plants to grow are from things that might otherwise end up in the trash can, so instead, why not use them to make some delicious, healthful crops you can enjoy with your family and friends? You will also be helping to stop the trend in America to waste good food. We throw away over 133 billion pounds of food every year, and still people go hungry.
Following are 5 foods to easily grow from stuff you normally just throw out. Time to fill your belly with nutritious, nutrient-dense food.
But before getting started collecting your ‘scraps’, be sure to source them from organic fruits and vegetables, because pesticide and herbicide-treated plants usually won’t grow a second generation. And if you purchase GMO fruit or vegetables, they were likely bred from suicide seeds that won’t produce another generation of viable seed – besides, why would you want to eat that junk anyhow?
- 1. You know the root ends you usually chop off of green onions before adding them to your favorite dish? Instead of ditching them, soak the roots in a container of water, leaving a short shaft of green above the water line in about an inch of clean water, and place them in the sun. As the plants grow taller, keep the water level higher. The roots will grow longer too, and in a few weeks you can transplant them to your garden to grow a whole new batch of green onions for your next gourmet delicacy, as the green part usually utilized in cooking grows back!
- 2. Before throwing away the root base of your celery – another part of food we often dispose of – think again and save it. Set the base in a glass of shallow water, and in about a week you will see new celery shoots growing out of the center of the stock. I’ve started new celery in a kitchen window many times, and transplanted it to my garden once it starts to grow a few inches high. Suddenly it is now a brand new plant. Just make sure you plant once you start to see the outer stalks deteriorate. Celery likes cooler weather, so if it is too hot outside, you can transplant to a pot in your kitchen or by a sunny window in your home as well.
- 3. Stop buying baby carrots, which are really just smashed up carrots reformed into little bit-sized pieces, and purchase organic carrots with the ‘tops’ still on. Use that green to re-grow some new carrots – well the greens, anyhow, which are actually very nutritious. You can’t re-grow an actual carrot, since you are eating the root of the plant when you consume them, but you can re-grow the carrot green tops using a little water, some sunlight, and a clear, shallow dish. Beet and turnip greens can be grown similarly.
- 4. The next time you buy fresh ginger, don’t fret if you don’t think you’ll use all of it before it goes to waste. Instead, plant it, and grow even more fresh ginger. Just plant the newest buds (they kind of look like little eyes forming on the stalk) of the ginger facing up in potting soil. Find a nice rhizome from the store, use some to spice up a fresh juice or delicious dish, and then plant the remaining section.
- 5. If you love summer and spring salads, try re-growing new romaine lettuce leaves from the heart. Checkout this lifehacker.com video to see how easy it really is. Lettuce is a great food to have around, and you can save quite a bit re-growing your own, especially since organic prices are usually higher than conventionally grown for most produce.
- You can also grow potatoes, garlic that’s started to sprout, turmeric, pineapple, and red and white onions. Save a bundle on grocery shopping, and grow your own organic food from scraps.