Not all of us have been blessed with a garden or a sunny terrace where to let our green thumb loose and enjoy the magic of Nature creating food.
We have all been bitten by the Green-Eyed Monster at some point or another, especially during the lockdown months when we would have gladly enjoyed that fabulous spring in our private outdoors, possibly tending to our vegetable garden thus avoiding going to buy food in full deep-sea diver gear.
What if there was a way to grow vegetables inside our homes at the amazingly cheap price of absolutely nothing?
What if by doing so we could also reduce our impact on the planet and take the next step towards a more sustainable lifestyle?
What if we could adorn our kitchens with beautiful greenery and eat what we want without leaving the house?
Well, all of the above is not only possible but also fun, relaxing and rewarding.
Toolkit Ugh, but I don’t have any gardening supplies!
I hear you, I hear you, but you don’t need them, because all it’s required you already own (Yay! More saving!):
- Vegetable scraps
- Cute, but also horrid clean glass containers and old saucers
- Soil (not always!)
Easy peasy projects
1 Green onions are for sure the fastest and easiest vegetable to regrow and a good starting point for all of the brown thumbs out there.
After you’ve used the green part, simply submerge the base (2 inches let’s say) in a glass with water and watch them miraculously regrow in a matter of 2 to 7 days.
Done. Yes. You’re welcome.
Trick: place the container where it gets loads of sunlight and change the water daily.
2 Lettuce is a gift that keeps on giving and all it wants is for you to place the bottom in a glass with some water, let the sun do its trick and wait for new leaves to appear. Once some teeny roots have also made their appearance, you can place the heart in a small pot with some soil. Ta-dah!
Trick: mist the leaves once or twice a week to provide additional moisture.
3 Potatoes are so versatile it’s frankly ridiculous and as a bonus they are also easy to grow. Get one of those poor forgotten sprouted potatoes from that dark corner of your cupboard and carefully cut a chunk with one or two eyes. Each of them can become a whole new potato!
Let them dry overnight, plant them in soil and enjoy your brand new plant in two weeks (and a few months for a whole potato, Nature is not on steroids).
Trick: the sprouts should be facing up when you plant them. Let those eyes look at you!
Tad bit less easy projects
1 Basil makes everything taste and smell like a Mediterranean summer day so why not transform a part of your kitchen in an odorous propagation station?
Cut off a stem from your full grown plant and remove the bottom leaves, place in water and watch roots grow to a couple of inches before transferring to soil.
You can follow the same procedure with cilantro!
Trick: leave in a bright location but avoid direct sunlight, basil can be fussy!
2 I see you, throwing away those carrot tops! Stop that wastage at once, soak the tops in a saucer with water for a week or so, place on a sunny windowsill and then transfer to soil when roots appear. The tops won’t produce a new carrot, but the greens are perfect for making a pesto and to garnish your salads.
Trick: if you place many carrot tops in one pot you’ll get a beautiful fern-like plant!
3 Celery is only waiting for you to give it some tlc to regrow from its butt. Make sure you place the base in a saucer with some warm water and lots of sun kissing and you’ll see some leaves growing up from the central part. After a week you can plant it in your pot covering it completely except for the tips of the new leaves. Water it and enjoy new stalks!
Trick: keep on watering to ensure full growth!
Trying to go pro projects
1 Pineapple can be regrown anywhere, so moving to the Tropics is not actually part of the project. Sorry about that.
Twist the leaves off the top of the pineapple and remove the lower ones to expose the stem. Submerge the stem in a glass of water (already looking cute!) and let it work its magic for more or less 3 weeks in a bright location. Once roots start to appear, you can pot the pineapple head and water it frequently. It takes a few years to actually get a fruit, but in the meantime you can add a fabulous house plant to your collection!
Trick: avoid direct sunlight because Pineapples like a humid environment.
2 Avocado pits can indeed grow back and generate a whole new tree, who would’ve thought?
Make sure you understand which part of the pit is the top and which one is the bottom and by using toothpicks create a scaffold around the pit to hold it on top of a glass filled with water (it goes without saying, its butt should be submerged). After 2 months some roots will appear, as well as a crack on the top from which a brand new branch will sprout.
When it’s about 6 inches tall, cut it a bit to encourage regrowth. Once it’s tall again, cu… no, just kidding, plant it and water frequently. Yes, you just made a tree.
Trick: keep the soil moist and remember that avocados have a love affair with sunlight.
3 Mushrooms are little clever miracles, that offer sooo much we haven't even begun to tap into, so can you imagine being able to grow them in your own home? You can plant your favourite mushroom stalks in a mix of soil and coffee grounds and ensure they live in a moist environment.
I’m going to level with you, there is some luck involved, but after a few weeks they’ll either start growing or rot. But you can always give it another go!
Trick: remember that mushrooms grow naturally in a very low light environment, so make sure you place them in a quite dark, humid corner of your house.
The world of fresh, organic produce is now yours for the taking, so grow it like you mean it!