Kitchen Scrap Gardening
By Rob Sproule
We may be done with our fruits and veggies after dinner, but they’re not always done with us. The scraps we throw away often have the potential to keep growing if we give them the right conditions. Re-growing fruits and veggies is up-cycling that you can take to the bank. Bring your kids in on the action as you turn scraps into salads! Here are a few of the most popular scraps to grow again:
Green Onions & Leeks
After cutting the greens off, place the white root ends upright in a mason jar. Fill with water until they’re half submerged and change that water daily. You should start to see growth in a few days. Harvest at leisure and repeat as many times as the bulbs will allow. Like many bulbous plants, these guys store excess energy in their bulbs. The energy is there long after dinner, and they’re ready to keep growing if given a chance.
Celery & Romaine Lettuce
Those leaves aren’t finished growing yet! Leave the base a few inches high when cut and place it in a bowl, half submerged in water. Mist it and change the water every couple of days. In about a week the leaves will start growing again from the centre. These greens still have more to give if you let them. After a couple of weeks, plant in a pot and grow in a sunny window until ready for harvest.
You’ll need to leave the bottom third of the onion intact for this to work. Plant the bottom (roots down) gently in a pot of soil and cover lightly with soil. Keep it moist but not wet. Several shoots should appear from the same bulb. Separate them carefully, making sure to keep the roots intact, and plant separately. Cut the leaves down occasionally as they grow to promote bulb growth. Onions are trickier to grow from scraps, especially if you don’t have a lot of light. They’re best grown from March onwards so you can transplant them outside. They’ll mature in about 5 months.
Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
This is best done from March or April onwards. Choose a potato with well defined “eyes” and slice into pieces that have 1-2 eyes each. Leave them on the counter for a few days to dry fully. Plant them, eyes up, in 4″ ish holes and a foot apart. Potatoes are low maintenance once they get growing. Hill them (pile soil up to the stem) occasionally and enjoy when mature. I get a lot of questions about Sweet Potatoes. While they rarely mature in our short season, you can start them indoors for a head-start. Use the same process as potatoes, with one change. Store in a cool, dry place for 2 weeks before planting them. This makes them sweet.
Myth busting time. I see numerous articles and posts about growing pineapple from the fruit’s top, and I need to share some bad news. Maturation will take about 2-3 years of care, and you’ll get 1 pineapple per plant. If you’re still reading, here’s how to do it. Slice the top off cleanly and remove the inner fruit carefully until you see the small root buds at the base of the sharp greenery. Place the stump in water, changing it occasionally, and roots should form in about 2 weeks. Pot it up in good soil and wait”¦ and wait.