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Growing from Kitchen Scraps - more free plants!

Written by Nicola Wallis

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Posted on 13 June 2021

In terms of total mass, fresh fruits and veg account for the largest food waste at a consumer level which significantly impacts climate change. Did you know that instead of throwing your fruit and veg scraps, that you can actually grow from them? This not only minimises our environmental impact and makes economic sense, but it also means that no nasty chemicals have been used to grow what you eat.

You don’t need a garden to be able to grow from scraps and many vegetables and herbs from the supermarket or grocery shop will regrow easily in water or in soil. It’s both fun and rewarding to watch scraps continue to sprout time after time and is an ideal experiment to do as a family!

Herbs

Starting off with re-growing from herbs as these are super easy and can be done from cuttings or from the root. 

Kitchen favourites including, basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme can all be grown via taking cutting from the root using these simple methods below.
1) Cut a 2-3-inch-long stem and remove all of the leaves, except the ones on top.

2) Place the cuttings in a small glass bowl or large glass, making sure the waterline is below the leaves and refresh the water every few days.
3) Position the bowl in a bright location such as a south facing windowsill.

After a few weeks you should see new roots. Once the roots are approximately 2.5 cm long, they can be planted into a small pot with adequate drainage and a quality soil.

You can also regrow herbs such as chives, fennel and lemongrass if you only use the tops off them, leaving 2-3 inches of foliage, and keep the bulb intact: it’s as simple as replanting in a quality potting mix!

 

Root Crops

Root crops such as beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes and turnips will not re-grow entirely, but their leaves will. Did you know these leaves are actually edible, and you can regrow them by putting carrot tops in water in a well-lit room or a window sill? This is a clever way to turn your carrot scraps into salad which can simply be harvested as they grow. 

Shallots, Spring Onions, Celery & Fennel 

These vegetables are super simple to regrow and basically instead of putting the end with roots into the bin, put them into some compost instead!

You need about an inch of a shallot or spring onion that still have their roots attached.  Bury in compost with the tip just below the surface. These vegetables are subtropical meaning the can pretty much be planted all year round.  Not only that, but as you pick the stems from the outside, these great value tasty plants will re-grow again in the centre so you can continue to harvest.

To regrow celery simply cut off the celery base, place in a shallow container with water at the bottom and place on a windowsill with good sunlight. After a couple of weeks leaves will appear and you can either harvest these for salads or replant the celery in the garden an allow it to grow into another full-sized plant. Fennel can be grown using the same process as celery, but for best results keep about 2cm or the base with roots in tact.

Potatoes

Re-growing potatoes makes excellent economic sense as you get a return of two to four potatoes for each one that you have planted. They are super easy to grow, and I often find a rogue potato has set up home in the compost bin.

Next time you find a few shrivelling organic potatoes save from the bin as once they have ‘eyes’ or mini shoots these can be replanted. Non-organic varieties may not work as these have had inhibitors sprayed on them which prevent regrowth. Plant potatoes under 3 to 4 inches of slightly acidic soil (pots are preferable than directly into the ground as they provide extra protection from pests and disease) and leave for about 90 days to grow. Once the potato plant leaves turn a yellowish brown, they’re ready.

Pineapple

Yes, you read it right, Pineapple - possibly one of the most exciting things to regrow!

Next time you eat one, twist the top off and using the same technique as with the herb cuttings, place the pineapple crown into a jar of water which needs to be refreshed every other day. After a period of about three weeks roots should begin to appear and once these are about three inches long it’s ready to be transplanted into a pot with potting mix. Pineapple plants do not like their roots to be restricted so choose a pot big enough or even better choose one of our Vigoroot planters. Make sure you water it well once a week, adding some organic slow release fertiliser every fortnight until it is established. In due time your patience will be rewarded and within 12 to 14 months you should start to see the fruit forming and in about 18 to 24 months you’ll have yourself a super fresh and home-grown pineapple!

Top Tips for Success

  • Use scraps that are from healthy, organic vegetables, fruits, or herbs.
  • Avoid non organic as these are usually treated with growth retardants to prevent sprouting in supermarkets.
  • Provide the right growing conditions including; good light, fresh water and a quality compost.
  • Be aware of what to expect as some plants regrow entirely, yet others only partially and it is worth noting that hybrids do not grow true to their parents.
  • Recognise which part of the plant can regrow.

Comments

2 Comments

  • That’s great – do tag us if you share pictures! Some will be really quick like the carrots so you won’t have to wait a year.

    Posted by Haxnicks | June 18, 2021
  • I love this! I’ll give it a try, even I have to wait 1 year to see the results.

    Posted by MADALINA COTOROGEA | June 17, 2021
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