03 October 2022
Gardening is a natural way to reuse leftover materials. For example, using leftover plant material to enrich soil, also called composting, is a good way to reuse uneaten food.
Growing food from parts of plants not used in cooking also reduces waste and saves money.
Instead of throwing away or composting the bottoms or tops of vegetables when preparing them, you can grow them into leafy greens or other produce right in front of your window. Produce like beets, celery, scallions and leeks, and romaine lettuce can be regrown in this way.
It is important to note that these methods are not likely to produce plants that will grow well in your garden. Regrowing plants is not a good way to replace young, growing seedlings. But they are likely to make enough greens for side dish to add to a dinner or two. And regrowing plants can be a fun project.
Leftover produce will grow best with a lot of sunlight. Use slightly warm water and replace it every day or two to avoid the growth of bacteria. Do not worry if the part of the plant under water becomes a bit slimy. However, if the whole plant starts to turn brown, throw it in the compost and start over.
Beets are a good plant to regrow because they provide two side dishes: the large root and the tasty greens. You cannot regrow a beetroot indoors from a cutting, but you can regrow more leafy greens.
To do so, cut off the top four centimeters or so from a beetroot and place it cut-side down in a dish that contains just enough water to keep the cut end under water.
New leaves will regrow from the top within a few days. And you can start harvesting them in two weeks or so. This method also works with the similar vegetables, parsnips and turnips.
For celery, cut eight centimeters off the bottom of a head of the plant. Then, cut off a very thin piece from the very bottom of the eight centimeter piece. Place it right-side up in a container and pour in five centimeters of water. New growth will appear from the center in just a few days.
Scallions and leeks
For scallions and leeks, cut the white part from the bottom of the stalk. Then place it root-side-down in a container holding 2.5 centimeters of water. If the stalk outgrows the container, move it to a larger one. New growth will be harvestable in about two weeks.
For romaine lettuce, cut eight centimeters off the bottom of a head of the plant, then remove its outermost leaves. Place the eight-centimeter "heart" in a container to which you have added a little over a centimeter of water.
Within a week, a small growth will appear from its center. As it grows, it is normal for some of the heart's outer leaves to turn brown. Remove them. When the center part is large enough, cut off that part and enjoy. Then, just wait for more to grow.
I'm Gregory Stachel.
Jessica Damiano reported this story for The Associated Press. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
dish – n. a shallow container that you cook or serve food in
slime – n. a thick, slippery liquid
stalk – n. a thick or tall stem of a plant