Reduce Waste and Save Money by Regrowing These 7 Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps
Growing Green Onions is Easiest on the List, while Bok Choy Needs a Real Green Thumb

Regrown vegetables add character to a home, meal and it’s a fact that gardening makes you feel great. However, there are 3 things to consider before you get started on this frugal practice.

Plan Ahead When Regrowing Vegetables from Your Home Kitchen

First off, this isn’t a permanent solution without investing in some pots, soil and some kind of fertilizer. It’s not 100% necessary for regrowing vegetables 1–3 times over, but it helps a lot since they lose flavor and nutrients each time you do it. Second, the easiest regrown vegetables are some of the cheapest on your grocery bill (scallions and garlic for example), so you may want to consider if it’s even worth your time.

Our staff love the practice of growing organic food, so it’s kind of a no-brainer decision, but it doesn’t save all that much money — even in the long run. The last thing to keep in mind is time: if you aren’t keen on changing water daily while veggies are regaining their roots, you can run into mold issues.

Step 1: Place your veggies in water until they regrow their roots

They don’t need a huge amount of water and you don’t want to drown them, so leave them a good inch below the water. Keep the glass (or bowl) of water in a well-lit room (hopefully with some sunlight) until they’ve regrown roots and be sure to change the water daily! If you end up growing your green onions or carrots on a window sill, they WILL grow mold and ruin the whole process.

Step 2: Transplant the newly regrown roots to a healthy soil

Each time you regrow a vegetable, it loses a decent amount of its nutrients and flavor if you miss this step. Personally, I made the mistake of just regrowing my scallions in a glass of water and didn’t realize until the 3rd time around that they had absolutely no taste all. Although a good portion of a scallion’s taste comes from the white root, chopping off the green bits for soup and salads is still a solid addition.

Step 3: Be patient regrowing your vegetables, it takes time.

Simple as that. While it sounds painfully obvious, it seems the world has become embarrassingly out of touch with where food comes from in this age. There are countless guides online for how to get the digital generation to garden, but it seems the trend is slowly fading — millennials are becoming self-sufficient and children of today are learning the importance of sustainability from a young age. We’ve marked off estimated grow times for the veggies we’ve personally regrown, hopefully you can stay patient! Take a selfie or two with your garden and impress your friends, maybe that’ll help?

Garlic sprouts fairly quick on their own — when this happens, add them to a glass with a small portion of water and continue to grow them out. As we said earlier, they lose their flavor over time if you don’t transplant them to soil. It can be a mild addition to salads and pasta, but if you love the full blast of garlic like we do, you’ll want to go the full mile.

 

Carrot tops can be added to a shallow dish of water and left to sit on your window sill (or any well-lit room, really). They won’t grow their full length with this method, but that can be solved with a pot of soil. If you keep them in water, carrot tops make for a great addition to your salad, so no worries either way.

Celery is probably the only vegetable none of our staff regrow, but we have friends who do it all the time. Cut off the base and put it in direct sunlight for best results. Leaves will sprout from the center of the base — this is your visual cue to transfer to soil.

Basil (and other herbs) are all somewhat easy to regrow. Take clippings from your basil with a solid ~3-inch stem and place it in a glass of water. We advise to put these guys in direct sunlight since they’re more difficult to grow, but not impossible for a beginner. Once the roots are a few inches long, plant them in pots and you’ll have full basil plants in no time.

Romaine lettuce is our absolute favorite on the list! Keep your romaine lettuce stump in a half inch of water, give it a few days and it’ll have new roots.

Bokchoy takes several weeks to be fully regrown and the results are quite inconsistent if you aren’t experienced in gardening -but the first time you get it right feels amazing. Place the root end in water, transplant it to soil after 1–2 weeks and you’ll have a new head.

Bonus: Watch out for fruit flies in your kitchen scrap garden!

Honestly, this might be the worst part of the process if you’re unprepared. You’ll run into a fruit fly problem in your kitchen before long without being aware of the risk. Fortunately, the solution is extremely simple: leave an almost empty bottle of red wine by your plants and all fruit flies will get caught. Shoutouts to reddit user HaggarShoes for the tip! If you don’t drink, a cup of vinegar with a squirt of dish soap works just the same. Don’t ask us why, but it does — just rest easy knowing your garden is safe.

Originally published at thesquirrelz.com on November 24, 2015.

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