Saturday, 15 September 2012

Growing vegies from scraps

I've recently tried a few little experiments after I was inspired by this post from the lovely 17 apart. The idea is to regrow plants using kitchen scraps and I've had some mixed success. Leek and celery have been the easiest to grow and as you can see above I now have a couple of plants that have moved outside in pots. Given how time consuming these plants can be to grow, having a quick growing version that costs nothing is great!

Celery was surprisingly easy to grow using the base that would normally get thrown into the bin with the scraps. All I needed to do was sit it in a small dish of water, changing the water every few days.

 Just one day later there was already signs of growth. The yellow inner leaves began to turn green, the segments had separated and the centre was pushing up.

After a week the leaves were getting greener and bigger, and the outer stems were starting to dry up a little.

In two weeks the outer stalks were browning a bit but out of the centre, a new celery plant had grown.

Finally, after a month there was quite a substantial plant growing in the bowl. I broke of a few of the browner outer stalks before potting it in some seed raising mix (see the photo at the top of this post). It probably wont grow to be as big as it used to be, but will put out thin stalks that are great for adding flavour to a dish or for when you just need a little celery and don't want to buy a whole bunch.


Next up, the leek was also started by leaving the white end and roots in a small bowl of water. As you can see from the photo below, after a day the centre has already started pushing up.

A week later and the outer edges were starting to die off. I thought this was the end of the plant, that it was getting some kind of disease, but I left it and the plant is still going strong. The water should be changed every few days, and as the plat grows it is helpful to add some toothpicks for stability.

After three week, the leek had grown substantially and was ready to be taken out into a pot in the garden.

Spring Onions 
Spring onions are also a really easy 'scrap' to regrow. For years I have kept bunches of herbs and spring onions in jars to prolong their life, but had never thought of using the roots and white end to regrow. As I was paying more attention this time, I noticed over the week or so the spring onion below lived in this jar, the roots grew quite substantially.

As I used up spring onions in cooking, I simply kept the ends in a bowl of water. You might have noticed some in the photos of the celery growing experiment above. They grew really quickly as you can see in the photo below after only a few days. Unfortunately I dont have any photos of later on, when they were getting big, as at around the two or three week mark I forgot about them over a few hot days, letting the water evaporate and the onions dry out and die. I'm just waiting to buy another bunch of spring onions to start this experiment again.

The next experiment is a work in progress and is expected to take quite a bit of time! So far the seed has been sitting in water for almost a month with no sign of life, but I've read this is to be expected. I just need to be patient! It's had a few friends join it since this photo was taken, so I will have to update on how they are going later on.

Again it is the same idea... add a few toothpicks to hold it in place and leave in a water, adding fresh water every now and then. I don't expect to be eating homegrown avocado's any time soon, they take years to grow to a fruiting stage, but they do make an interesting tree.

Sweet potato
Finally, the sweet potato failure. Over the years I've had a number of sweet potato's sprout from the eyes and grow long slips in my cupboard. I was also inspired by 17 apart's amazing sweet potato tutorial. So, I thought this project would be easy. However - two months after starting this project, diligently changing the water and checking on them, I have admitted defeat. There is no sign of growth from these little guys - so they are off to the bin. I'll try this one again another time, probably the next time one tries to grow in the cupboard!

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