I'm a freelance writer living in Melbourne. I love exploring and writing about my adventures!
Published March 5th 2016
Grow your own vegetables and fruits from scraps
I'm always on the lookout for new things to do around Melbourne. I just didn't expect to find it in my own backyard! Here are some great things to do with the kids that cost very little and are great for the environment.
Rather than throwing out those vegetable scraps, did you know that many of them can be re-grown very quickly? Right in your kitchen, balcony or backyard! Every morning you'll be jumping out of bed to see how far they've grown today. Here are some ideas for getting started:
Romaine Lettuce (not ice-berg), Celery, Cabbage, Bok Choy – Put the left over stump in a bowl with a about 1-2 cm of water and place in a nice sunny spot in your kitchen. Change the water daily and after about 4 – 5 days you'll notice new leaves taking shape in the center. No soil required and pick off as you need.
Spring Onions – Plant the left over butts/roots straight into soil or into a glass jug/cup half filled with water. I tend to go for re-growing in soil. Then you don't have to worry about changing the water every day. You can also plant the leaves and roots straight back into the ground once you buy them. It will take root and double in size. Lovely to pick off as you need it.
Ginger and Turmeric – store bought ginger and turmeric can be put straight into soil or you can cut off a 2cm chunk that is displaying signs of new growth and just plant this part. These look like small green nobby bits or knots. These will eventually start sprouting and grow stems and leaves. When you need a piece just dig it up and cut what you need and then replant it. It will keep on growing and growing.
Garlic – Have you ever had garlic sprout. These are perfect for planting. But even if they haven't sprouted yet you can still go ahead and plant it and they will grow from a single clove into a bunch. Plant the single cloves into soil 2 cm apart. If you do have a green shoot staring make sure its poking out just above the dirt. Soon grass like shoots will pop up and get quite high. Eventually they will dry out and once this happens you can pull them and out you will have whole garlic formed from your single clove.
Passion fruit – Ever had a passion fruit get too crinkly or old to eat. Cut it in half and plant the seeds straight into a pot or the ground. You'd be surprised how many come up.
Pineapple – Pineapple butts can be re-grown into a new pineapple by planting in soil with the head spikes poking out. But they do take a few years before fully mature.
Chili and Capsicums - One year I decided to make a whole bunch of pickled chili's as Christmas presents. I had a whole bunch of seeds left over and thought I would experiment and see if anything came up if I planted them. The picture is the result and still going strong.
Potatoes – Don't throw out those old sprouted potatoes. Cut into 2 cm cubes (be careful not to cut the over the sprouted bits) and plant evenly spaced in a deep pot or straight in the ground. Before you know it you'll have large green leafy stalks. Once the leaves die off, pull up your potatoes. But there not ready if green and should not be eaten yet.
Onions – Plant the cut off ends face down in the ground or in a bowl of water just like the lettuce. After a while they will start to form roots and re-grow.
You can also germinate seeds from store-bought produce such as melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and zucchini. All you need to do is place the seeds in some tissue or paper towel, cover and keep moist. In a few days they will start to sprout and can be planted in a pot. Large seeds such as mangoes can also be re-grown by splitting the tough outer shell and planting the soft seed inside. Organic and heirloom varieties are always best and have the best results. Some fruits and vegetables will yield better results if planted in season.
Creating a Fairy Garden - It's a great conversation starter and fun! We custom made our fairy pad in a large pot for outside but you can create it in a garden bed or even in a smaller pot for in the kitchen. You just need soil, your favorite plant(s), some classy rocks or wood and some air drying clay and you're in business. You can purchase the clay from a craft store or a $2 shop quite cheaply. We made giant toadstools but you can also make mini fairy houses or anything you like. Once the clay hardens you can paint them. For protection against the weather you will need to coat with clear glue or varnish. Make sure you do several layers to avoid water getting in.