Feeding a family can be an expensive business. Owning a polytunnel is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of your food bill and grow your own food year-round. But there are ways to make sure that the food which you grow will go even further. Did you know that you could grow your own food for free from vegetable scraps? Reduce waste and save money by using vegetable scraps to grow more food.
Which Vegetables Can Be Regrown From Kitchen Scraps?
You may be amazed to learn that you can regrow a wide range of vegetables scraps that you might otherwise have thrown away.
Did you know that you can use peelings or pared off pieces from your potatoes to grow new plants? As long as the sections of potato that you have removed have one or more ‘eyes’ (the small indentations from which new chits or shoots will grow), these can be dried out and left to ‘chit’ in a cool, light space before being re-planted in your garden.
Onions, Garlic & Shallots
Alliums such as spring onions, garlics and shallots are also all easy to perpetuate from scraps. The base of an onion bulb or spring onion bulb (at least 1cm attached to the roots section) can be placed in a shallow container of water and will grow new onion or spring onion shoots. Once rooted, these can be replanted and allowed to grow. Remember, individual shallots or cloves or garlic can also be allowed to root and replanted, multiplying or bulbing to create more food.
Lettuce & Cabbage
Stemmed lettuce and cabbage can also be regrown from the base section, taken from the end of the plants where roots form. Simply place these bottom sections of lettuces, cabbages or other greens into a shallow dish of water, place in a light place, change water every couple of days and wait for the new roots to form and the new plants to grow.
Celery & Bulb Fennel
Celery and bulb fennel can both also be re-grown from the base or rooting section. Leave a small amount of the base of a celery or bulb fennel plant in a shallow container of water and, again, these will begin to regrow, providing a second harvest from the same plant.
Carrots, Parsnips, Turnips & Beetroot
The top sections of root vegetables like the tops of carrots, parsnips, turnips and beetroots can also all be used to re-grow new plants. The tops can be placed in shallow water and should form roots. Once the roots have formed, these can then be replanted to create new plants.
These are just some of the scraps from your kitchen that can be used to grow more food. You could, for example, also consider growing a new pineapple plant from a pineapple top, new ginger plants from a piece of ginger stem and, of course, could save a range of seeds to replant in your garden.
How do you save money and make the most of your polytunnel produce? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.