Adding more nutrient-packed foods to your diet doesn’t have to cause a strain on your budget. Growing your own produce can be a rewarding way to improve your health, and it doesn’t have to mean an expensive trip to the garden center. You can grow your own organic vegetables from the unused portions of vegetables you have right in your kitchen. Not only does growing food from scraps save you money, but it also prevents food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, fruits and vegetables have the highest wastage rates of any food. Before you head to the trash can or compost heap with those leftover veggie remains, check out these tips on how to regrow vegetables from scraps and get your garden growing.
12. Romaine Lettuce
The next time you make a Caesar salad, don’t toss the stem. Put it to work growing the greens for your next salad! Start with a full head of romaine lettuce. Cut the leaves from the stem about an inch from the bottom. Place the stem in a shallow bowl with about ½ inch of water on a sunny windowsill. Replace the water in the bowl every one to two days to prevent the lettuce from spoiling. In about ten days, your lettuce stem will have sprouted enough leaves for a small salad, or you can transplant it into soil for further growth.
11. Bok Choy
Bok choy is also easy to regrow. Cut off the base of the bok choy and place the cut side up in a dish of water on your windowsill. Change the water in your dish every day or two and give the top of the plant a light misting of water. In about a week, the outer edges of the bok choy will turn yellow, and in about 10 days the center should begin to grow. At this time, transplant the vegetable into your garden or a pot of soil. Keep the plant watered, and in about three months you will have more delicious bok choy.Related: 6 Superfoods to Get Rid of Fatigue
To regrow your celery, cut the stalks from the base about two inches from the bottom. Place the base in a dish with about ½ inch of water in your window, replacing the water every day or two. Within days, you should see the first beautiful shoots of new celery begin to sprout. As the center of your plant grows, you can peel away and dispose of the outer layers as they decay. In about a week you see root growth, meaning it is time to transplant your celery into soil. Celery does well in cool weather with moist, rich soil. In about four months you should have some crunchy new celery to snack on!
9. Garlic Sprouts
If you discover the garlic bulbs in your refrigerator have sprouted, don’t rush to throw them away. While cooked garlic sprouts can taste bitter, fresh sprouts can be a tasty addition to salads, as a topping for baked potatoes, or as a flavorful garnish for dips. To grow your own sprouts, take a sprouted clove or bulb and place it in a small cup with just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Change out the water each day. In a few days, the cloves will begin producing roots and the sprouts will begin growing into blades. You can snip the blades to use in your recipes when they are about three inches tall.
The next time you enjoy a crunchy orange carrot, save the top to grow some yummy, leafy carrot greens. Carrot greens can be used as you would ordinarily use parsley, and they make a great addition to salads or pesto. Simply cut the top off the carrot about ½ inch from the leafy end. If the end still has leaves, crop them off less than one inch from the orange of the carrot. Place this carrot stub in a shallow dish in a sunny window with just enough water to stand in without completely immersing it. Replace the water every two days. New leaves should sprout, and roots should form within one to two weeks. When the roots appear, transplant to your garden or a pot to allow your carrot greens to continue to grow.Related: 10 Foods That May Improve Eye Health and Prevent Glaucoma
Don’t be alarmed when you find your potatoes have sprouted eyes. These are perfect for planting and growing more potatoes. To plant potatoes from scraps, leave the skin on the potatoes and cut them in halves or in fourths, making sure each section of potato has at least two eyes. Lay the potatoes on a towel with the wet, skinless side up, and allow them to dry out overnight. When they are dried, you can plant them six to eight inches apart in soil eight inches deep.
You can grow your very own avocado tree from the pit of an avocado. First clean and dry the pit. Poke four toothpicks into the perimeter of the pit to make a ring that will suspend it over a glass of water. About half of the pit should be submerged in the water in the glass. Place the glass in a sunny window. Your pit will split open and roots, a stem, and leaves will begin to grow. When the tree is around eight inches tall, transplant it into a pot. It can take five to 13 years for an avocado tree to produce fruit, but this nutritious fruit is worth the wait!
Onions are surprisingly easy to grow. Simply cut off the root end of your store-bought onion, leaving about ½ inch of the onion. Allow to dry overnight, and then plant roots in your garden or in a pot. In three or four months, your onion will be ready to harvest.Related: Reason Onions Make You Cry and How to Stop It
4. Green Onions
Green onions, also known as scallions, can be regrown in nothing but water. After using the green tops for your recipes, simply plop the bottom root end of the stalks into a glass of water and place in a sunny window. Change out the water every day or two to keep it fresh, and in as little as five days you will have more tasty green onion tops to add to your recipes.
To grow your own ginger, start with a piece of ginger root with buds on it. Break the root into pieces so that each piece has a bud and plant in potting soil three to five inches deep. Ginger is a tropical plant, so be sure to keep it in a warm area with plenty of moisture. In addition to watering, give the plants a spritz of water from a mister to help keep them moist. In eight to ten months, you will have fully grown ginger plants ready for cooking, baking, or brewing into a ginger tea.
Cabbage is another amazing vegetable that can be regrown with nothing but water and sunlight. Simply place the leftover base of your cabbage in a shallow dish with a small amount of water. Keep your plant in a sunny window. Replace the water with fresh water every two days. When leaves begin to grow, you can begin harvesting them from the water or transplant into your garden.
Basil is a great herb for your indoor herb garden. Take four-inch clippings of store-bought basil and trim off the leaves two inches from the ends. Place the cuttings in a glass of water in a sunny window, switching out the water every two days. When the roots have grown two inches, transplant into a pot or herb garden and watch your basil grow.Related: Avoid Storing These 16 Foods in Your Pantry