Re-Growing from Scraps

re-growing-celeryFor those who love to recycle and grow their own food; did you know that you can actually regrow some vegetables and produce from the parts we often throw away?

This would be a great project to do with children – it will invite discussion about gardening, food consumption, budgeting and recycling.

Regrowing produce from scraps saves money and gives you the chance to truly organic fruit and vegetables, direct from your own garden!

Organic “parent” vegetable scraps tend to re-grow better, but if you aren’t able to buy organic, it is still worth re-growing.

Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions, and Fennel add fantastic flavour to all kinds of dishes. They all re-grow from their white root base, so buy ones with the roots attached (some supermarkets will have them automatically trimmed, so try your local farmers market or vege shop). To re-grow, simply leave the root base in a glass jar or bowl with water, in a well-lit area. Change the water daily.

If you love Thai food, try re-growing lemongrass, in a similar fashion. After a week or so, when you see new growth, transfer to a pot, in a sunny location. Harvest when the stalks are about 30cm tall.

Celery, Bok Choy, Romaine Lettuce, and Cabbage will also re-grow from the white root end. Just cut off what you normally eat and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water. Cover the roots but not the top of the cutting. Place it in the sun, but spray the cutting with water to keep the top moist.

In about a week, it is time to transplant the plant into soil. Plant so that just the leaves are showing. Within a few weeks, it will sprout a new head.

You can also plant these directly into the ground, but the soil needs to be kept very moist until new shoots appear.

ginger-from-rootsGinger regrows very easily. All you have to do is plant a piece of ginger rhizome in potting soil. Rhizome is the bit of ginger you cook with. Place the ginger in non-direct sunlight and in a warm, moist environment. You can harvest ginger once the plant is established. Pull up the whole plant, remove a piece of rhizome, replant it, and repeat.

Planting and harvesting garlic is similar to ginger. Just place the garlic root down into soil. Garlic likes warmth with plenty of direct sunlight and will easily root itself and produce new shoots. Once the plant is established, cut back the shoots. This will help the plant focus on building a big, tasty garlic bulb.

As with ginger, pull up the plant, take what you need, replant it, and repeat.

If you have potatoes that sprouted eyes suddenly and got all wrinkly, these are perfect for growing new potatoes. Cut them into sections with at least two eyes apiece. Plant them in high-nutrient soil, 30-40cm deep. Potato plants will spread out as they grow, so cover any new roots with soil. If you are unsure of your soil’s nutrient content, add compost to give it a boost.

Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to re-grow. Cut off the root end of the onion 2cm above the root line. Plant the root portion of the onion in a sunny spot in your garden with only a little soil on top. If you live in a colder climate, plant it in a pot and keep it indoors. The onion roots will grow you a new onion. You can cut off the roots and replant for as long as you like.

If any of our keen GrownUps gardeners can offer any other re-growing tips, please add them in the comments below!