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How to Grow a Food Scrap Garden

Next time you head to the grocery store, hang out in the produce section for a while.

How many foods do you see with roots still attached? In fact some of the foods, like potatoes and carrots, ARE roots!

And then there are seeds. If there aren’t roots, then odds are there are seeds in there somewhere. (Except maybe bananas)

This means two things. First, most of the food you buy is still alive and second, with a little water, soil and sunshine you can use the scraps to grow new food!!

Here are just a few grocery store foods with roots that you can use to start a garden.  If you want to grow plants from the seeds in your food try apples, lemons, oranges, tomatoes, squash or even an avocado.

Celery (also bok choy, cabbage and romaine lettuce)

Cut the bottom or base off of the celery. Pour about an inch of water into the bowl and place the celery base, bottom down, in the water. The water should just cover the bottom inch of the celery. Place the bowl in a sunny window. After about a week you will see roots. Then it is ready to transplant into the ground or a pot with just the leaves above the soil. In a few weeks the celery will sprout a new head and soon you will be ready to harvest.

Garlic (also ginger and green onions)

Remove the clove of garlic from the bulb and peel off the papery skin. One end of the clove is pointy and the other is flat. The flat end contains the roots and the pointy end is where the leaves will come out. Find a sunny spot and push the clove, roots first down into the soil that the very tip is even with the top of the soil. Water the soil regularly and in a few months you will have a new garlic bulb!

Potatoes (also yams)

Find a potato with “eyes” where a new plant is starting to form. Cut the potato into pieces about 2 inches in size with at least 2 eyes on each piece. Leave them out overnight so that they dry out a little. This keeps them from molding underground. Plant the potato pieces in a sunny spot about 4 inches deep in the soil with the eyes facing up. As you see more roots, add more rich soil on top until the original potato pieces are about 8 inches deep. Make sure the soil is mixed with compost because potatoes need a lot of nutrients to grow. In a couple of weeks you will see a stem and leaves and about 4 months later you should be able to pick some potatoes.

Pineapple (also carrots)

Cut the top off of the pineapple and make sure all of the yellow fruit is cut off. Pull off a few leaves from the bottom so that you can see the stem. You should see tiny scales – the start of roots – where you pull off the leaves. Turn the pineapple top uspside down and let it dry for a week.

Fill a glass with water. Poke four toothpicks into the stem on opposite sides. Place the pineapple top in the glass of water so that the toothpicks hold it near the top. The water should just cover the bottom of the stem. Place the glass and pineapple plant in a warm sunny window. This plant needs as much sun as it can get. Change out the water every week.

Soon you will see roots form. When they are about 3 inches long plant the pineapple plant in soil. Unless you live somewhere that is warm all year round you should use a pot so that you can bring the plant inside during winter. Even if the plant stays warm and gets enough sun it will probably be a year or two before it flowers and produces a baby pineapple.