Starting your own plants from kitchen scraps is really easy and can provide you with food for free! It’s also a sustainable way to live and heaps of fun to participate in for the whole family.
Try to use scraps that are good quality; organic produce grown locally can usually be found at growers markets or smaller fruit shops for much less than you’d expect. You could go out and buy some vegetables specifically for growing, but waiting for the right scraps would be an even more cost effective way to begin.
Try a few of these ideas to get you started on your own sustainable scrap garden.
Leeks, Spring Onions, and Fennel
Take the left over white roots and either plant them straight into the ground or pot in warmer areas or start on a window sill for cooler places. Within 3-5 days, you will begin to see new growth come up.
Remove the produce as you need and just leave the roots in the soil to continually harvest your kitchen scrap crops. You should water regularly to keep the plant healthy.
Ginger and Horseradish
Possibly the easiest scraps to grow, both ginger and horseradish are very forgiving. Just take a chunk of ginger or horseradish from your kitchen scraps and place it into the soil. Make sure the newest buds are facing up. Ginger and horseradish will enjoy filtered light rather than direct sunlight.
Ginger will also make a pretty indoor plant.
Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
You can grow any variety of potato you like, just make sure the scrap has ‘eyes’ growing on it. With a potato that has a strong presence of eyes, you can chop it up into large square pieces. Make sure each piece has 1–2 eyes. After you’ve cut your potato into pieces. leave them out in room temperature for a couple of days. Leaving the pieces out allow the cut surface area to dry out and become callous which will prevent the pieces from rotting in the ground.
When you are planting your potato cubes, make sure they are in the 20cm depth range with the eyes facing the sky. When you back fill your cube, place 10cm over the potato cube and leave the other 10cm empty. Over time, as your potato grows and roots begin to appear, you will want to add more soil.
You only need a single clove to regrow an entire garlic plant, just place the end with the root down into the soil. Place your container in a warm part of your home with direct sunlight and sit back and wait for the garlic to root itself and begin to send up new shoots. After the garlic becomes established in the soil, cut back the shoots and the plant will begin to put all its resources into growing a big delicious garlic bulb, or plant into the garden and harvest once the top browns off.
Pineapples are from the same family as bromiliads and are easy to grow from scraps. Peel off a few layers of the leaves from the base of your pineapple head until you see a few fleshy roots. Then, plant the leafy head and water regularly.
Pineapples take years to pop out their one and only fruit. Expect anywhere up to four years. A great old trick is to place a garbage bag with rotting apples around the plant after a year or two and the fermentation will release a gas to trick the pineapple into fruiting.
You can also grow chilli and capsicum by removing the seeds, drying them then planting. Expect fruit in about 6 weeks.