What can you grow from your food scraps?
Lockdown is the perfect time to slow the pace down, and watch some plants sprout and grow before your very eyes. And instead of heading to the shops to buy some seeds, why not use what you already have in your fridge and fruit bowl?
Lots of what we eat still contains seeds, or can be produce new growth when given some water, light and warmth. Some vegetables will re-sprout from the scraps you would otherwise throw away. Here is a few ideas of what you can sprout from your scraps, right on your kitchen bench, using just water. We've been working our way through what we eat and can find - here are a few good ideas we have tried! I'll post updates as our plants continue to grow.
1 - Celery
Did you know that you can grow a new celery plant from the bottom of an old one? Next time you buy celery, get a whole bunch and cut the stalks off leaving about 5cm on the bottom. Once you have cut all the tops of your celery bunch, pop the celery heart in a shallow dish of water and watch it regrow... Once you've got a good amount of regrowth plant it in the garden and you'll get a new celery plant!
2 - Sprouting carrots
This method is fun to watch, but doesn't actually result in new carrots - just a pretty lot of carrot leaves. Cut a piece about 3-4cm long of the top of a carrot from the fridge, and place it cut end down in a shallow bowl of water. New leaves will sprout from the top!
3 - Avocado seeds
Wash the seed from an avocado and find a small bottle which the seed can balance on top of, and the bottom of it be sitting in water. If your bottles are too wide at the top for the seed, pop some toothpicks in the side to balance it on the rim of the bottle. Fill the bottle with water and pop the seed on, pointy side up. You'll see roots growing in a few weeks, and a shoot come out the top. Once it is about 10cm tall, plant the seed and roots into a small pot filled with potting mix and watch them grow!
4 - Tomato plants
You can find the seeds in a tomato, remove and dry them, or you can just put a slice of tomato down on the top of a small pot filled with potting mix, cover it with some gladwrap held up with toothpicks, to keep it warm and humid, and pop it somewhere warm but not in the direct sun. You'll need to keep the soil moist.
5 - Cabbage
I absolutely love cabbage, so we alays have one in the fridge. Did you know you can grow a whole new cabbage plant from a single leaf? Just break the leaf off right at the base and pop it in a dish of water, and watch a new little cabbage and some roots grow!
6 - Strawberries
Strawberries are amazing fruits because they grow their seeds on the OUTSIDE of the fruit. To grow a new strawberry plant, pick some of the seeds off the outside of the strawberry plant and make sure none of the fruit is left on them (you may need to give them a rinse and then dry them on some paper towel). Sprinkle them onto some potting mix, and then sprinkle a thin layer of potting mix over them. Water them gently and wait for them to sprout!
7 - Other berries
You can find the seeds of other berries like raspberries or blackberries inside the berry itself. If you mash a raspberry or blackberry through a seive, you will find the seeds. Rinse and dry them then place them scattered over some potting mix. Sprinkle a little potting mix over them to cover them and give them a little water.
8 - Potato or Sweet potato
Cut off about half a potato or sweet potato - cut enough of a piece so you kind find at least 2 eyes. Suspend it over a cup of water, so about half of it is underwater. Use toothpicks stuck in the sides to hold it over the water. Soon you will see roots growing from the bottom, and some new shoots from the top! These can be planted in the garden once they're sprouting well.
9 - Fruit seeds
Collect and dry the seeds from inside other fruits - melons, apples, pears, peaches, oranges, mandarins... you can try almost anything! Wash and dry the seeds on paper towel and then pop them in some potting mix. Plant them about as deep as the seed is tall, and water periodically. Don't make it too wet. Watch as the seeds grow! Most of these seeds wont produce trees which bear fruit identical to the one you got the seeds from, but its fun to do anyway!
10 - Herbs
Some herbs will produce roots from their stems when left in water - try popping a stalk of basil, mint or corriander in some water and watching and waiting for some new roots to grow! Sit them on the bench, where they get plenty of light and wait for them to re-sprout. Plant them into the garden once there are some good roots growing.