Groceries can be a big-ticket item in the household & it is unlikely that will change – as we all need to eat. Have you thought about using vege scraps from your regular every day? A lot of commonly used vege can be used to start your own vegie plot (big or small, balcony or yard). There are loads of options, but some of these may get you started.
Basil, Mint, & Coriander
Herbs. Gotta say, I hate paying money at the supermarket for these. Make sure there is a good amount of stem (10cm-ish). Place into a glass of water in a sunny spot, keeping any leaves above the water line. Once there are some roots, just transplant into containers or into the garden.
Onions, Garlic, Leeks & Shallots
These are all members of the allium family & all of the can re grow from the root base of the bulb/stem. Take a small section of the base with roots still attached & place in a shallow dish of water in a sunny spot. Once they start to re sprout, transplant into containers or into the garden.
Onions & garlics will form new single bulbs, however shallots will divide & form clumps. If you harvest them about 1cm above the soil level, you can continue to re harvest regularly. Yup, it just keeps giving!
An FYI on garlic. Australia imports a lot of garlic from China. This means it has been treated with Bromide to fumigate prior to import & so the garlic won’t sprout. Solution – go for Australian garlic – just another reason to shop local.
Another vegetable which is often imported, so again shop local for this one. Ginger is a actually rhizome or root, so it just needs to be planted in a container or the garden. Easy Peasey – just remember to make sure the buds are facing up when you plant it. Also, when you harvest your fresh ginger, keep a new bit to replant & keep the cycle going.
Celery & Fennel
Super easy! Cut the bottom of the bulb off & place into a shallow container of water in the sun. You will gradually see the leaves thickening along the base, at this point transplant into containers or soil & just wait for it to mature.
Carrots, Radishes, Beets & Other Root Vege
Keep the tops (where the leaves & stem join the root). Place in a shallow dish of water & you will see resulting leafy growth on top pretty quick (days) for this one. If you have used carrots you can also harvest the greenery to add to salads, like you would herbs. Otherwise wait for the roots to continue growing & transplant into soil.
Lettuce, Bok Choy & Leafy Greens
Lettuces are pretty much a cut & come again kind of deal. You can keep harvesting the outer leaves & the plant keeps growing. Alternatively, even a leaf left in a shallow dish of water can grow new roots, allowing it to be planted.
Bok Choy is another plant which will re grow from the root base. Leave in a shallow dish of water in a sunny spot, when you see new roots begin to form – then it is time to replant.
I suspect everyone knows potatoes can be re grown from scrap, you just need a peeling with an ‘eye’ on it. Leave them to dry out overnight, then plant with the eye facing up. Plant into lose, rich soil as the potatoes will actual grow underground.
OK, if you are lucky enough to live in the tropics (or sub tropics like me), just plant the pineapple top in the ground. They are part of the bromeliad family & fit easily into a tropical style garden. If you don’t live in the tropics this will probably grow better inside with the warmth. Initially strike it in water, then plant into some rich soil.
Whether you decide to do pots on the balcony or a plot in the yard, ensure you use a good quality soil & if possible, go for an organic certified soil to reduce your chemical use. Oh, & remember to mulch so that precious water stays in the soil. Makes sense to use those scraps to start your own garden, it saves food waste, it saves you money & reduces chemicals on your food. That is a lot of wins from humble vege scraps!
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