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From Trash to Growing Treasure: Starting A Scrap Garden

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

With spring here and nature beginning to come back to life, you too may start to feel the green thumb itch. An easy and fast way to get your own blooming kitchen garden going this season is to start using your own scraps. Many plants, such as carrots, potatoes, and onions, are known for continuing to grow (whether you like it or not) in your own fridge, garage, or pantry. As you may well expect, those buds can be planted in soil and start to grow a new plant. There are other, easy options that you may not have thought about, though, too!

Garlic is a great candidate for a scrap garden because all you need to start your plant is a single, extra bulb. Plant your extra bulb in a good, organic potting mix, root end facing down. Make sure that your pot gets plenty of sun and just enough water to keep the soil from becoming dry. Within a couple of weeks you should start seeing shoot spring up out of the soil. Once they get to a couple inches long cut them back; this will ensure that the plant is giving all of its life-force to the bulb growing within the soil. Save the clippings for your soups and sauces as seasoning! The beauty with garlic is that, once your head of garlic is grown, you can set aside one of the bulbs to start the process over again, ensuring that you always have the means!

Much like garlic, ginger is another easy plant-harvest-replant option. Ginger is actually a very easy kitchen plant to grow, since it does not require direct light. Simple take an extra section of your ginger rhizome (or ginger root) and plant it into your organic potting mix with the newest, smallest buds facing up. Keep your plant happy and healthy with filtered sunlight and a moist, warm environment. Before long your new plant will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once your plant is well established, and you're ready to harvest your ginger root, simply pull the whole plant, gingerly, out of the soil. Save a good chunk of your root and replant immediately, if you wish. Ginger also serves as a beautiful house plant, so you can always keep your ginger plant growing until you're ready to harvest if for your cooking. (A great option is you don't use it often.)

Celery, cabbage, and Romaine lettuce can all be grown, easily, from what you usually throw away. When you cut off the bottom, rooted part of the plant when prepping for a meal, make sure to cut a good ½ inch above the roots. This will supply ample plant for you to start re-growing. Place your root end in a mug or bowl, and then submerge it about half way in water and place it in a sunny location. When the plant starts to grow new roots and vegetation you can plant it in your garden or in a pot. Your new head will start to grow, and once it's complete, you can harvest and start it over again.

Scallions, fennel, and leeks are a good example of a veggie that you can by for growing that you can cook with along the way. Once you have your green onions, place the white, root end in a container with a small amount of water; you want the white section to get plenty of water, but you don't want the water high enough to rot the green vegetation. Place you container in a sunny windowsill to continue growing healthily. If you want to grow back the green that you bought specifically for cooking just make sure to leave plenty of the white, rooted section for growing. As you go, feel free to cut away at your green stalks for recipes and change the water in the container weekly.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > From Trash to Growing Treasure: Starting A Scrap Garden

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