Another little game you can play with your kids
If you read my blog I would imagine you are a gardener, interested in gardening or even potter round your garden growing your own fruit and vegetables. You may have many reasons, save money? Knowing your food is free from pesticides? Or simply because you enjoy it? I go for all three, however the fact I can save money is a massive bonus. And by save money I do not mean just buy not having to buy fruit and veg. I recycle as much as I can. I dug out a pond and reused the soil, I use all sorts of kitchen tubs for pots and milk cartons for cloches and on top of that I seed save. I will be providing more information on seed saving later on in the summer but for now I have some information for re-growing food from your kitchen scraps which you would otherwise throw in the bin, or hopefully compost? I use a lot of mine for my chickens however this is quite a fun exercise to do with your kids and is so easy.
Just remember the quality of the ‘parent’ vegetable scrap will determine the quality of the re-growth, so do not use mouldy leftovers and wherever possible use organic plants which are free of chemicals
Leeks, Spring Onions and Fennel
All you have to do is place the white root end you cut off into a glass jar with some water and pop onto a window sill. Wait for the green leafy part to start shooting and snip off what you need from this growth for cooking, leave the white root in water to keep growing, just keep putting fresh water in weekly.
You can grow a lemongrass plant from a leftover lemongrass root. First you need to propagate it and to do this you place the root in some water. After about a week new growth will appear at which point transplant it into a pot and leave outside in a nice sunny spot. When the stalks reach about a foot tall you can begin harvesting cutting off what you need and leave the rest to continue growing.
Celery, Lettuce & Cabbage
These grow similar to your leeks and onions. Once the stalks are cut off place the root end into a shallow bowl of water taking care to only cover the roots and not the cutting. Pop it onto a window sill and occasionally spray the cutting to keep moist.
Once you see root growth and new leaves appearing transplant into the soil with just the leaves showing above soil level, keep it watered and after a few weeks you will get a whole new head.
Ginger is about the easiest to regrow, all you do is put the knobbly bit (ginger rhizome to be technical) in potting soil with the smallest buds facing upwards. Ginger needs a warm and moist environment but do not place it in direct sunlight.
Once it has grown new shoots and roots you can harvest (taking off another piece of rhizome to repeat the process).
There is a lot of negative opinions on regrowing potatoes from any old potato. But you cannot lose much by giving it a go and I have had some good results. A potato can be cut into four seed potatoes as long as each part has some decent healthy eyes on it. You will need to leave the potato parts at room temperature for a day or two to dry out to ensure they don’t rot as soon as you put in the ground. Potato blight is the only risk from this method so keep an eye out for this however potato blight is possible with bought seed potatoes even with blight-resistant seed potatoes.
You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.
Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.
As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.
To propagate sweet potatoes, plant all or part of it under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, with about 12 inch spacing. Allow about 4 months before harvesting.
There are many other plants you can propagate from leftovers but these are just a few to get you started, maybe a little project for the family at the weekend?