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Often we throw away our food scraps that actually have more use in them.
There are many different foods that can be regrown through their scraps. Using food scraps to grow new foods can be a fun way to both save money on your grocery bill and reduce your waste. Plant your scraps and enjoy watching them grow!
Green onions, Fennel, Lemongrass:
Take the roots of the vegetable (about 3-4cm) that you don't use in your cooking and put them in a container of water, covering the roots with 1/2cm of water. Place the container on a sunny windowsill, and change the water daily. Once you can see new growth after a few days, place the lemongrass t into a pot with soil and return it to the windowsill. The fennel and green onions can stay in the water. Wait until the plant is full grown and then cut off what you need for cooking. The roots will continue to sprout, as long as you keep it healthy.
Celery, Bok Choy, Cabbage and Romaine Lettuce:
When chopping the celery leave the base of the plant intact. Put the base in water, just covering the top of the base by no more than half a centimetre. Leave it for about a week, changing the water every couple of days. Once you notice yellow leaves growing out of the stem and the outer stalk starts to deteriorate, this is when you can plant it into a pot with soil. The temperature needs to be warm, but not too hot! Make sure you plant it with only the new growth above the soil, and water regularly. In about 5 months your plant will be ready to harvest!
Soak a fresh piece of ginger overnight, ensuring that it has a few little growing buds (little bumps on the ends). Plant the ginger in some soil with the buds facing up, and water daily. Once you start to see some growth, cut back to watering regularly. Because ginger is a tropical plant it prefers humid conditions. After about four months it should be reading for harvesting.
We've found we've had a very high success rate growing potatoes from scraps! You're looking for older potatoes here, that have developed 'eyes' on them. Cut some leftover parts of your potatoes into 2 inch pieces, while making sure each piece has 1-2 'eyes' on it. The next step is to leave the pieces in the air at room temperature for a few days; this allows the cut surface area to dry out so they don't rot in the ground.
Plant the pieces in a pot filled with rich, well drained soil. Plant them 8 inches in depth with the 'eyes' facing the sky. Water daily for a week, then regularly until harvested. Harvesting time is in 1-2 months, or when the plants have reached about a foot in height. A good indicator is that the plants will die off and turn yellow. Make sure you search the soil with your hands - nothing sharp, so you don't puncture the potatoes.
Onions are really easy plants to grow from their scraps. Simply cut off the root of the onion along with a little bit of the onion flesh. Plant this just under the soil and place in a sunny position. In a few months you should have a new onion! You'll know the onion is ready for harvesting when the stalk turns yellow.
Scraps not the best for growing with? Check out our article on what you should be putting in your compost bin. Try out these simple and extremely rewarding ideas! You can make it a project with your kids, and together you can enjoy the progress of your plants!
What you can do
Reduce wasting food by managing it better every day
Up to 30% of food we buy is wasted, at an estimated national cost of $5 billion-plus a year. Cut down on waste by not letting food go out of date, avoiding over-catering and looking after any leftovers.