Have you ever eaten a fruit and thought about planting its seed? Or cut up scallions and winced at the thought of throwing away its roots? I have. Sometimes I find myself in the grocery store examining the roots of greens or the eyes of tubers I don’t even eat.
There is something absolutely delightful about keeping grocery store foodstuff alive and even re-growing scraps headed for the bin. It is such a winning feeling and you don’t even need soil to do this.
|Lemongrass on windowsill|
The easiest of all is scallions. Buy a bunch for a dollar and it keeps providing for weeks. I place the cut white bulb (with the roots) in a jar of water that is changed anywhere from daily to at least once weekly. A sunny location is best, but I’ve often done this on the kitchen counter. Within a day, the green leafy part begins to grow as do the roots. Leeks and fennel should do the same in theory, but I ‘ve never done them as I’ve not had reason to cook with them..
Lemongrass is sold as stalks in Asian groceries. They don’t come with roots but if you place the bulb scraps (fat end) in water, in a little over a week it will begin to grow roots and new green shoots. After a good inch or so of root has formed (couple more weeks), into the soil this goes for a beautiful large lemongrass plant. Others I’ve grown the same way are rosemary (a branch from a live plant) and coriander (cilantro) from the store. Seriously, those bare stems when placed in water for several weeks will eventually grow roots. Theoretically lavender, basil, sage, thyme, parsley should work the same.
Romaine lettuce, cabbage, bok choi, fennel and celery will all re-grow from the cut root end started out in a shallow bowl of water. Like lemongrass though, to continue to grow to it’s full potential, they must go into the soil. Lettuce takes too long for me to gain another salad but I guess if I put all my lettuce roots into soil, soon I wouldn’t need to buy any from the store. Celery too takes a while but the stalks are not as thick.
A piece of ginger, as long as it has a bud on it, placed in soil will root and form shoots. I do this more for fun for I use ginger at a rate faster than I can propagate, but the plant is pretty enough to have sitting around.
Garlic and onions are plants that I know are easily re-grown, after all they are forever sprouting in my cabinet, but I’ve never done so. Now that I have a huge yard, I’m thinking of just planting my extra cloves and onion roots out in the soil. Maybe, I will never have to buy garlic nor onion ever again.
I’ve never planted potatoes but I’m thinking of re-growing batata (sweet potato) and cocoyam (taro). Since these are imported, I do not know if they have been treated in a way to prevent their growth. I will have to report back after the experiment.