Vegetables are expensive and in times like these when going to the market or supermarket means putting our health at risk, wouldn’t it be good if we could slash our grocery bill by growing certain foods ourselves? Self-provisioning prompted by high prices for produce and empty veggie shelves in some supermarkets have prompted my family to grow our own foods.
Given the many benefits of productive gardening, there has been an increase in self-sufficiency in an intelligent response to the protracted pandemic situation. Many people, while sheltering at home, have turned to growing their own vegetables. My parents living in Ipoh who are in their late seventies have turned to regrowing most of their herbs and vegetables.
When making a trip to the supermarket just to get a bunch of spring onions seemed so arduous with the strict SOPs, wearing of PPE and post-shopping self and groceries disinfection, my mother-in-law and I decided to plant vegetables and herbs from kitchen scraps. One and a half years on, we are still regrowing kitchen scraps in used takeaway containers and tiny pots from our apartment balcony and kitchen windowsill.
What Vegetables and Herbs Can You Regrow?
There are many vegetables and herbs that you can regrow from scraps even without a garden. It’s fun, free, sustainable, and delicious.
These are some of the vegetables, tubers, and herbs that can be regrown from their parts and pieces in a tropical climate:
- Spring onion
- Cilantro / coriander leaves
- Malabar Spinach
- Bok Choy
- Turmeric (the leaves can be eaten too!)
- Sweet Potato
Instead of throwing out those leftover stems and roots, simply place them in a shallow bowl or repurposed plastic container with a little water at the bottom. Place the container with your baby plant at a place with shaded sunlight and mist the leaves with water every day. After 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens, you can transplant your spring onion or Malabar Spinach into the soil.
The next time you’ve used up the edible parts of a vegetable or herb, check to see if it’s something that you can regrow in your home. Make it a fun experiment for the family during your time spent sheltering at home. The kids will have something to look forward to everyday.
There are many methods of growing spring onions. All types of onions will regrow and it’s a cinch to grow and regrow them. I will share with you two of our tried and tested methods, grown in confined areas in our apartment balcony and kitchen.
Growing From Onion Bulbs
Peel off the skin of onions, leaving the last layer of skin intact. Soak the root part of the onions in a container of shallow water. After several days, you’ll see roots and tiny green onions sprouting. Change the water every other day. We leave the container on our kitchen windowsill. When the spring onions are about 10cm in height, transfer the onions to a pot with potting soil and leave it on the balcony or garden. They grow better with shaded sunlight and don’t forget to water them every day.
Regrowing From Spring Onion Roots
Buy one clump of spring onions from the supermarket. Use the green tops for recipes and leave about an inch attached to the roots and place them in a repurposed plastic container filled with a little water or plant it in potting soil. You will have new spring onions sprouting out in just days.
Cilantro / Coriander Leaves
Just like spring onions, herbs like cilantro and parsley can be regrown from their roots. The steps are similar to regrowing spring onions from the roots. Use the green tops for recipes and leave about an inch attached to the roots and place them in a saucer of water or plant the root portion in the soil.
Malabar spinach can be easily regrown from stems, again and again! Buy a bunch of Malabar Spinach from the supermarket to start the project and you will never have to buy it again. Use the leaves and soft stems for cooking and keep a few hard stems for regrowing. Trim the stems to about 6” and cut them just below a node. Plant the stems in a pot of potting soil and allow them to root. Alternatively, cuttings can also be rooted in water and then planted in a pot.
Once you’ve harvested your Malabar Spinach leaves, all you need to do is water them and wait patiently for the next harvest. Malabar Spinach leaves will regrow in just a matter of days. What could be easier?
All you need is a piece of fresh ginger, some water, and some soil to get a plant growing. Ginger root is very easy to grow and once you get started, you can keep your supply of ginger in abundance. All you have to do is plant a piece of ginger root in potting soil, making sure that the buds are facing up. You will notice new shoots and new roots in about a week. The ginger roots can be harvested in about 6 months. Remember to save a piece of the rhizome so that you can replant it.
Growing your own food when you have yet to buy the seeds and gardening paraphernalia may put a downer on your first step to creating an edible garden. Now that you know you can grow food from kitchen scraps and using things you already have at home, you have to try your hand at this fun project. When you see how bountiful this project gets, I’ll wager that you’ll be so pleased with the harvest that you’ll want to keep this sustainable project going. By growing food from kitchen scraps, you can connect with nature, reduce food wastage, have inexpensive organic vegetables, and save some money. Don’t forget to rope in your kids in this fun project! Seeing how food grows can be quite a revelation to a child.
Health Freak Mommy is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!
*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.