Growing your own garlic, basil or ginger at home is easy, saves money and reduces garbage. In fact, the stems and seeds from most common fruits and vegetables can be turned into fresh produce with just a little bit of water, soil and sun. Who knew that food waste could be this useful!
If you live in an apartment, don’t worry. You won’t need a yard. You can plant seeds in decorative containers to create an indoor garden that isn’t just nutritious but also looks great. Here are five grocery staples and how to plant them using their scraps.
Classic leafy greens like lettuce, celery and romaine lettuce are great in salads and can easily be regrown at home using the leftover stump and water. To grow iceberg lettuce, save the end and put it into a container with enough water to cover at least half of it. Make sure you place it on the window sill or in a spot where it can get enough natural light to grow.
Other than changing the water every few days, you can sit back and watch the miracle of life unfold. After just a couple of days, you should see the roots sprouting. Within two weeks you’ll be ready to snack on some fresh leaves. For bigger lettuce heads, transfer the end into soil after a week or two.
Zesty ginger is a favorite for teas, baking and in many cuisines. Luckily, it can be easily grown indoors and at all times of the year. You will need a ginger root to get started. It may be a good idea to soak it in warm water for a few hours before planting. Prepare some soil in a container and plant the root by covering it with one to two inches of soil. Ginger is a bit of a slow grower, but if kept in a warm place, it should start to grow within two weeks. It will take a few months before you can harvest it, however, once ready, you can just cut off a what you need to use, and it will regrow. You will have grown your own sustainable ginger. Other root crops such as turmeric and beets require similar steps.
Who hasn’t bought fresh basil, used it in a single recipe and then had to toss the leftovers? And before you know it, you’re making fresh pasta sauce and are missing one vital ingredient – basil. But growing basil from leftover stems could not be easier. Just place the stem in a glass with water and leave it to sprout on the window sill. Direct sun light can burn the leaves so it’s best to avoid overly bright spots. Once the roots have formed, transfer the stem to a pot with soil. And there you have it – fresh basil whenever you need it.
Everyone’s favorite cooking vegetables – garlic and onions – are fortunately some of the simplest vegetables to grow for personal harvest. Just drop an onion or garlic bulb (1 inch thick) into some potting soil and cover the roots. To grow garlic, you can drop a few cloves in a pot a few inches apart. When growing onions, keep the top exposed. Within just seven to ten days, you’ll be able to snip off the greens to use as seasoning. However, if you want to regrow the entire bulb, you’ll need to plant your onions and garlic outdoors.
Growing your own spring onions is even easier: just drop the leftover stump into a glass of water, place in a nicely lit spot and wait for the greens to grow. Cut off what you need and return it back to regrow.