I quite often get ideas about gardening but don’t usually do anything about it. This time, I again got excited about regrowing veg from kitchen scraps, so it was the perfect time being at home and trying to do less food shopping.
A few years ago I decided I was going to grow at least 1 vegetable or fruit a year in the garden. Strawberries failed twice (the trick evidently is to get plants rather than seeds). Growing tomatoes was great but took forever to go red. Rocket was way too peppery to eat. Radishes obviously needed more water as they were skinny. Spring onions were good and came up again the following year too.
This year I’d not planned on anything because we’ve not got compost and I didn’t fancy trying to find some online to order during lockdown. But I remembered that veg could be regrown from scraps and this was the perfect time to try.
So many vegetables and fruits can be grown from scraps, and seeds taken from fruit to grow. Some are quicker than others and more straightforward. I would like to try lemons and peppers so I’ve harvested, washed and dried seeds from those, but haven’t done anything with them yet. Likewise, I’d like to try an avocado although that sounds like hard going, without the guaranteed returns and on a much longer timescale.
If you’ve got children, growing veg and salad from scraps is a great way to teach them about where their food comes from. Plus you could also tie it into science learning. N has been fairly interested in our, but is sporadic in his effort to look after them.
I decided to start easy regrowing veg from scraps.
Growing spring onions from scraps are the easiest. If you want to keep regrowing them, you can’t eat the white part, but it’s great for garnish and adding to salads, rather than providing the usual stronger oniony hit.
The hardest part is remembering to change the water regularly.
You just need to take the bulb end of a spring onion, cut it about 1.5 to 2 inches up, then put it in a small jar with a little water. Just enough to cover the bottom of the bulb. Too much water and it’ll go mouldy, The spring onion should be stood vertically so a narrower jar is better than a wide one. I’ve been using a spice jar which can fit 2-3 in, and a small Maille mustard jar which is good for 3-4.
I change the water in our jars daily. And clean out the jars once a week. Once the roots start growing longer and the bulbs get a bit mouldy looking, the water looks green. It’s time for a good clean out. I’ve also chucked out one of the bulbs too because it was looking a bit nasty. But they should be fine to keep harvesting unless they’re starting to smell a bit bad.
Our jars sit on a kitchen window ledge where the morning sun comes in. It only takes a day for the bulbs to start sprouting green spring onion out of the top. And after 4-5 days you’ve got a reasonable length out the top of the jar to harvest. If you start your spring onions on different days, you’ll find you have an ongoing supply with a couple ready to chop and use as others are just starting to sprout again.
Lettuce – Little Gem or Romaine
I failed at my first attempt to sprout and grow from a Little Gem lettuce. It just didn’t spout. But second attempt and within only a day, there was already leaves sprouting.
With lettuces of little gem, red gem or romaine variety, just cut off the core bottom from the leaves. Put a little water in a small bowl, then stand the flat bottom of the lettuce off cut in the water. It only needs to just cover the bottom part, just keep the water topped up if it’s looking low.
Our lettuce took a day to see a little sign of the middle leaves sprouting up, then by day 2 it was more obvious. You can just harvest as and when you have a few leaves – they’ll sprout from the middle, and will keep growing after you. A week later and I’ve got leaves growing, so it won’t be long before we can harvest the leaves.
It does grow and get a little dry on the leaves. So you can lightly mist the leafy top with water occasionally.
Ok, so if you eat salad a lot you’ll need several bits of lettuce growing on a window ledge, and I’m not sure if winter will be so good for growth. Our kitchen is quite warm due to the Aga, but sun will be limited. But if you want to reduce a bit of money, reduce waste (lettuce is one of the most wasted food items), and get your children yourself excited about ‘indoor’ easy gardening, it’s a fun idea.
Now we’ll have to try other veg too, and maybe try some fruits that you then need to transfer outside.
Tips for regrowing veg from kitchen scraps
1, Keep the water low. You don’t want to cover too far up the scraps. Just the bottom of he bulb needs to be in water.
2, Change the water regularly, and wash out the bowl or jar. With spring onions the jar can get a bit green with the roots growing.
3, Have several scraps on the go at once. Some salad veg grow really quickly, others take longer, so the more you have the shorter time you’ll need to wait to eat.
4, If it doesn’t work the first time, try another time.
5, Remember some veg you can only grow greens rather than the actual root, e.g with carrots, but thse are good to add to salads or even to make into a carrot top pesto.
6, Many salad veg just need water, but search online for how to grow from fruit seeds and other vegetable scraps.
Have you ever regrown veg from scraps?
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