Wouldn’t it be nice if you could grow all your own produce this summer? Not only would you drastically reduce the amount of time you spend at the grocery store, you’d save a ton of money on pricey fruits and vegetables. When you think about it, growing your own food seems like a perfect solution for eating healthy and keeping more of your hard earned money in your pocket.
Of course, not everyone has space for a garden. When you live in an apartment in the city like I do, a sunny window is about all you can ask for. But honestly, sometimes that’s all you need. I have a mint plant that’s actually growing too fast. My basil, chives and rosemary plants are also thriving.
“But those are herbs,” you’re probably thinking, “not fruits and vegetables.” You’re right. I have also considered the fact that my windowsill garden is lacking when it comes to actual food I can cook with. My refrigerator, on the other hand, is overflowing with produce that I can’t eat fast enough. I end up tossing half of what I buy before I can use it. This got me thinking: I wonder if I can grow completely new plants from food scraps I’d otherwise throw away?
I’m happy to report that the answer to this life-changing question is, “Yes.” There are actually quite a few fruits and vegetable plants you can grow at home from little tidbits you have in your refrigerator. All you need is some soil, water and sunlight. And just like that, you can re-grow some of the foods sitting in your crisper drawer. This means less waste, more plants in your garden (or in your window) and a really good excuse to follow a vegan meal plan this summer.
Here are some of the easiest foods you can grow from kitchen scraps!
- Green onion. Cut off the green part of a few green onions and set aside. Place the white stems root side down in a clear glass. Fill the glass with water, leaving the top few inches of the onion exposed. Place the glass in direct sunlight. Drain and change the water every one or two days. Within a week or so, the root system will grow and a new onion will sprout from the top of each plant. At this point you can transfer and grow your green onions in a pot with soil.
- Garlic. Garlic is super easy to grow from just one clove. All you have to do is pull one off from a bulb you bought at the store and plant it with the roots facing down in a pot of soil. Keep it in direct sunlight in a warm spot. Once new shoots have sprouted, cut them back and your plant will produce a new head of garlic! You can take part of this new bulb and plant it again. Cook, grow, and repeat.
- Romaine lettuce, celery, bok choy and cabbage. Cut off the stalks or leaves, leaving an inch or more attached to the white roots. Place the roots in a clear bowl of water. The roots should be in the water, but you don’t want to submerge the entire plant. Place the bowl in a sunny spot and spray with water weekly to keep the top of the plant moist. About a week later, remove the plant from the water and plant it in a pot with soil, leaving only the leaves exposed.
- Avocado. Do you know you can grow an entire avocado tree using nothing but a pit? It’s true! Just wash the avocado seed you want to use and suspend it over a jar of water using a few toothpicks. The water should come up just enough to cover the bottom inch of the seed. Keep the jar in a warm place, but not in direct sunlight. Be sure to add water as it evaporates! Once the roots appear and the stem reaches six inches, cut it down to three inches. When leaves begin appearing you can plant the seed in a pot with soil.
- Ginger. This is a really easy one. Take a chunk of ginger from your kitchen scraps and place it in a pot of soil. Make sure the new buds are facing up, unlike the other plants above. Put it in a spot that receives filtered light rather than bright, direct sunlight. Before long, you’ll see new growth sprouting up from the soil and roots will begin to sprawl out beneath. When you’re ready to harvest the ginger, pull the entire plant up and cut off the piece you need. Replant the remaining chunk just like you did the first time.