Regrowing supermarket vegetables

We’ve been having a lot of fun lately discovering some of the vegetables we can regrow from scraps, so we thought we’d give you a little run-down of what we’ve tried.

Avocado

  • Clean your pit, then poke a few cocktail sticks in it and suspend it pointy side down over a jar of water, allowing the water to touch the pit.
  • Once the pit has a root and shoot growing you can plant it in well-draining soil, leaving the pit slightly exposed
  • When your sprout has reached about 6-8 inches, pinch off the top 1-3 inches to encourage it to branch out.
  • Keep soil damp but not waterlogged.
  • It can take anywhere from 3 -15 years before your tree bears fruit.

Garlic & Garlic Greens

garlic greens grown from old cloves

Got some garlic that’s sprouting?

  • Plant the clove around an inch deep, in well-draining soil, pointy side upwards, in a sunny position, ideally in autumn.
  • When the new shoots are established, cut them back. You can eat these garlic greens.
  • Once you’ve cut the greens back the clove should develop into a bulb.
  • You should harvest when the leaves start to wither.

Ginger

Choose a piece of ginger root with lots of eyes, these are the parts that will sprout.

  • Plant with sprouts upward around an inch deep, preferably in early spring. Ginger prefers part shade or morning sun only.
  • Keep the soil damp till the stems of the ginger plant turn yellow then reduce watering, and stop entirely once the stems die.
  • Ginger is a slow growing plant so be patient. After at least 8 months, and once the stems have died back, you can carefully dig up and remove part of the root, leaving some with eyes behind to regrow next year.

*Ginger normally grows in warm climates so you may need to grow it in a pot indoors. You can plant it outside after all chance of frost has passed. Return it indoors over winter.

Herb Cuttings: Basil, Lemonbalm

We will add to the list as we try different cuttings. For now, we have tried basil and lemon balm.

  • Simply place a cut stem in water and it will develop roots
  • Plant and grow on your windowsill or outside depending on the herb’s hardiness.

Leeks, Sping onions, Lemongrass

We didn’t take pictures of all of these but the process is the same. When cutting them, save about an inch of the root end.

  • Stand the bottom inch in a little water, it will develop roots and shoots.
  • Once you have some roots and shoots, plant them so that the soil just covers the old part.
  • Harvest when it’s big enough to eat.

Lemon seeds

We’ve heard mixed reports on whether lemon trees grown from seed ever produce fruit. It’s one that takes a lot of time so we think it’s worth sourcing seeds from a farmers market or directly from a tree. Either way, it’s a fun project so even if our supermarket seeds don’t grow lemons, we’ll have a beautiful tree.

  • Peel the hard outer layer off of your seeds.
  • Place the kernel in a damp napkin inside a sealed ziplock bag.
  • Keep the bag in a warm place – like your airing cupboard – for about a week.
  • Plant any seeds that have sprouted in a pot with the sprout facing upwards.

Lemon trees are not hardy in cold climates. They can be kept in pots and put out for the warmer months, but must be brought in well before the first frost.

Lettuce, Bok Choi, Celery

rps20160719_125251_392.jpg

  • Cut the stem off at about 1 inch.
  • Stand in some water and watch it grow.
  • Change the water every few days.
  • This method does not need planting in soil, just allow it to grow and take some off when you want.

Potatoes

If you come across sprouting potatoes in your cupboard, you can go ahead and plant these.

  • Plant them sprouts facing upwards  in a large container with 4-6 inches of free draining soil.
  • As the leaves grow, add more soil leaving just the tops of the leaves visible.
  • Keep adding soil as the leaves grow till your container is full.
  • Harvest after the plant has flowered and dropped it’s buds. At this point you can gently scrape away some soil to check the size of the potatoes. If you are careful not to sever the connection between the potatoes and the plant you can harvest ones that are ready and leave the rest to grow further.

Root greens: Beets, Carrots

rps20160801_113823.jpg

  • Save the tops of the root, where the greens grow out from.
  • Stand in water, in good light. The greens will begin to grow fairly quickly.
  • Change the water every few days.

Sweet potato

This one is a little more involved than regular potatoes, but more fun to watch the different stages. This process is best started early so that your slips are ready to plant when it’s warm out.

  • Suspend a sweet potato (or just a half) over water by poking it with cocktail sticks and resting on a jar.
  • Wait! You will see roots growing from the sweet potato fairly quickly but this is not what we’re waiting for. What we want is the shoots (called slips) that will grow out from the potato. It took ours a couple of months.
  • Once you have slips growing, wait some more. You need the slips to have roots attached to them in order to plant them. You will probably find that slips growing from the water line develop roots but those growing above the water line may need to be taken off and stood in water to develop roots.
  • Once you have slips with roots – and all chance of frost has passed – you can plant them about a foot apart, and deep enough to cover the first inch of shoots.
  • Don’t prune the vines.
  • When the leaves and vines start turning yellow (at least 3-4 months after being planted out) you can begin to harvest the potatoes.

*Sweet potatoes grow in warm climates so you will need to plant them in warm soil

Tomatoes

Got a spare tomato slice left over, no worries, you can go ahead and plant it for new tomato plants.

  • Place the tomato slice in a pot and cover with a little soil, then cover the pot with cling film.
  • Once you have a few shoots growing you can pull out the smaller ones to give the bigger ones more room.
  • When your seedlings have grown too big for their pot, you can very carefully transplant them to their own pots to fully mature.

And here are some more that we’ve heard about but haven’t tried yet:

Mushrooms

These can be a little harder to get success with than most vegetables but are still worth trying.

  • Remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in soil that is rich in nutrients (used coffee grounds are often reported as great for mushroom growing), leaving the very top of the stalk exposed.
  • Keep in humid conditions and it will begin to grow a new head.

Onions

  • Cut the root of the onion off making sure to leave about half an inch of onion.
  • Cover lightly with potting soil and keep in a sunny area.

Peppers

You can grow a variety of hot peppers from the seeds that are left over.

  • Plant them in potting soil and keep in direct sunlight.

Pumpkin

  • Plant seeds in a sunny area
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