Gardening is often viewed as a time-consuming and sometimes costly effort. There’s no denying that planting, watering, tending, harvesting, and storing vegetables can be hard work. Even if you’re not big on gardening and prefer farmers’ markets or stores, fresh produce can be quite costly. But what if you could regrow some of your organic veggies right in your kitchen with nothing more than some vegetable scraps, a small bowl, and some water? Here’s how to get started:
Keep the Right Scraps
Leafy lettuce like romaine, celery, and onions work well for this kind of culinary experiment. My recommendation is to start with an organic variety of vegetable. Though I have had some success with traditionally-grown vegetables, organic veggies regrow faster and seem to be much more hardy. The next step is to cut your veggies carefully. Leave yourself a nice base on your vegetable when you cut and clean it. For example, when I started regrowing this romaine, I left a good 1.5 inches on the bottom. You’ll want to do the same with celery and onions.
Rinse But Don’t Repeat
After you’ve got your scrap, give it a quick rinse and then let it dry. The key is to keep your vegetable base from getting waterlogged. I usually set mine in the dish drain for about twenty minutes or so while I tackle the next step.
Create a Growing Spot
While your veggie scrap is drying, it’s time to create a starter spot where it can regrow. I like to use a clear glass Pyrex storage container, but any Tupperware bin or ceramic bowl will do. Fill the bowl with less than a half inch of water, and place it in a location where it will soak up lots of sun. Then add your vegetable scrap. If you are choosing to regrow onions, note that they can get a bit odorous. Take that into consideration when choosing a container–preferably made from a material that won’t absorb a smell–and a location in your home.
Water and Wait
The next part is the hardest because it’s easy to get impatient. Every day, you will want to empty the water from the container and refill it, making sure that your vegetable stays upright in the container. You only want the very bottom of the new “plant” exposed to water. After 2-3 days, you should see signs of growth. You might notice a few green “feelers” at the base or sprouting out the sides of the scrap. You should also start to see some new growth at the top within a week.
Repot or Replant
I usually let my vegetable scrap regrow inside as long as possible. It’s amazing how tall romaine lettuce and celery will get with only water. However, all plants benefit from nutrients in soil, so you’ll eventually want to transplant your veggie. During the spring and summer, I toss ours back into the garden. However, you’ll want to consider growing time and growing seasons before making that decisions. In the fall and winter months, I work primarily with celery (stuffing season means sales on celery – say that five times fast!), and I repot them in two windowsill planters. I can usually keep them growing until spring, when they get booted outside and land in the garden. The most important thing to remember when you repot or replant is to give your plant plenty of opportunities for drainage. If you are keeping the plant indoors, look for pots that have drainage holes and a collection tray or create your own. You can also build up the base with stones before adding a sandy soil mixture. Just like when you first started the regrowth process, these plants like water, but they don’t want to be waterlogged.
Now Tell Me…What questions do you have? Is this something that you’ve tried before? Did you know it was possible to regrow your vegetables?