11 tips on growing vegetables from kitchen scraps
ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL FOOD WASTE STRATEGY FEASIBILITY STUDY, AUSTRALIA WASTES 7.6 MILLION TONNES OF FOOD EACH YEAR, WITH 70 PERCENT OF EDIBLE FOOD WASTED. THIS CONTRIBUTES TO APPROXIMATELY THREE PERCENT OF AUSTRALIA’S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS AND 25 PERCENT OF WATER USED – A WASTED EQUIVALENT FIVE TIMES THAT OF THE SYDNEY HARBOUR.
Certain fruit and vegetable scraps can be regrown, providing your kitchen with fresh produce, and saving you money while helping achieve Australia’s sustainability goals. Next time you purchase plant produce, don’t throw the scraps away, use these fun and simple vegetable growing hacks.
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GINGER AND GARLIC
Ginger and garlic sprout naturally in dark places. Transfer sprouted pieces directly into soil and watch them grow. Harvest will be ready in a couple of months.
Break off top crown by hand or slice with a knife and let dry for a day or two. Plant foliage directly into pots of soil or garden with the cut area covered with soil and foliage exposed to sun. Water regularly and new pineapple will appear within two years.
Save your avocado seed and place three toothpicks in a pyramid sequence into top half of the seed. Submerge bottom of seed into glass of water, using toothpicks for balance. Change water weekly, ensuring pointy side of seed is facing upwards. Sprouts and roots will appear in approximately six weeks. Transplant into garden once two to three leaves are present.
ONIONS, GREEN ONIONS AND SHALLOTS
Plant bulbs into soil if roots remain or, place bulbs into glass of water in a sunny place until sprouts and roots appear. Transplant into soil. Onion bulbs will grow into new plant, while green onions and shallots provide continuous vegetation to cut for salads and cooking.
CARROTS, TURNIPS, BEETROOTS, RADISHES AND PARSNIPS
Root vegetables can regenerate from tip of plant. Cut tops off root vegetables and place in flat bowl with water and wet cotton in natural sunlight. Once tops sprout new green foliage, transplant into loose soil directly into garden. Harvest in approximately three months.
CELERY AND FENNEL
Cut plant base off and place into bowl of water on a windowsill or in natural sunlight. Cut and use foliage that grows. Once roots sprout, plant directly into garden and cut what you need when required.
TOMATOES, CUCUMBERS, ZUCCHINIS, CHILLIES, CAPSICUMS AND PUMPKINS
Take seeds from seeded vegetables and plant into pots. Once sprouts appear, repot directly into garden beds or grow directly in large pots.
All herbs can be grown from cuttings. Put plant stems into glass of water and wait. Once roots appear, plant directly into pots or garden.
LETTUCE AND CABBAGE
Cut base off plant and place into bowl of water. Sit on windowsill or in natural sunlight, keeping water topped up. Sprouts will appear within a week and regrowth is completely edible and delicious in salads. Best varieties to use are romaine, radicchio, boston leaf, leaf lettuce and all cabbages.
Snap shoots off the base of a potato and add to a glass of water until roots appear or plant whole a potato into large pot or garden with shoots remaining above ground. Shoots are climbers but can grow ground level if given enough room. After plants have flowered, sweet potatoes are ready to harvest at about three months.
Best to plant whole potatoes once shoots appear. Potatoes grow upwards and require the bottom of plant to be topped up with soil for maximum harvest. Use planter boxes if possible. As plants grow, top up with soil leaving approximately 10cm of foliage peeking out. Harvesting can be done after yellow flowers die and plant starts to brown. Take approximately three months.