Create a garden with scraps from the kitchen

Create a garden with throwaways

Would you consider growing a garden from the scraps of vegetables we usually throw in the compost?

Growing our vegetables from scraps is an interesting way to watch them grow and saves money, too.

Avocados have become popular to add to our salads and can be grown into a tree for fun but not for fruit, as our climate does not have enough sunlight. The seeds of oranges, lemons and lime will grow a small tree but not fruit.

Quicker results will reward the gardener with vegetables we know grow well in our USDA Zone 5 area. Cutting one to two inches of the bottom of a celery stalk and placing it in water in a shallow bowl will show new roots and leaves in a few days. After the roots and leaves are well established, it can be planted in either a pot or garden in full sun.

Many other vegetables can be started in the same manner with the same results, such as romaine and other greens, cabbage, carrots, radishes and beets.

Tuber plants such as sweet potatoes will develop beautiful vines and roots. To begin, cut the potato with an eye in half and suspend it in water by placing toothpicks about 1/3 from the top horizontally. After a few weeks, it can be planted in either a container or directly in the garden to grow and enjoy.

Ginger, like sweet potatoes, sends rhizomes which are underground root systems that produces new plants and increases the production. Using the same method as the sweet potato, toothpicks are inserted in the root and placed in water. Ginger can also be planted directly in soil that must be kept moist but not too wet. As the leaves grow, a fresh scent of ginger will emerge.

Never to be outdone with scents, onions and garlic are both easy to grow. I found a forgotten onion two days ago to find out if it would sprout and amazingly it did. I planted garlic cloves in my garden last fall and they are beginning to send green shoots up, but garlic can be planted anytime you prefer with success.

Not to be forgotten is the delicious pineapple. According to the University of Illinois extension, cut 1/2 inch below the cluster of leaves, removing the rind, letting it dry before pulling off the lower leaves. Plant in a mixture of peat, sand and perlite, keeping the soil moist and in light and placing it outside after our last frost. Fruit, sweet and delicious, develops in two to three years.

Experiment with other vegetables and keeping a journal with details of successes and failures is helpful. Good luck with your kitchen scrap garden.

For details and fun activities with the kids, go to http://go.osu.edu/scrapstoplants.

Kane Shipka is an Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.


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