Not being able to go outside for the past 2 months, a lot of us have spent more time in the kitchen. Some started to learn cooking and baking while others started trying out new recipes or even come up with their own. We have become more into preparing our own food since we have more time.

A part of staying healthy is adding more fruits and vegetables into our diet. But did you know that there are vegetables and herbs that we can grow from kitchen scraps?

Growing your own herbs and veggies means not only getting more from what we buy from the grocery nut also saving money in the long run since you can continually harvest once you have successfully grown them. Need basil for your pasta? Fancy some mint for your tea (or mojito)? Just pick some leaves from your mini-herb garden! You don’t need to have a garden plot to plant these; some can be grown indoors. The vegetable parts used in these are those you usually throw out anyway, so why not try to grow them instead?

Here are some vegetables and herbs that you can grow from scraps.

Basil

Basil is one of the most commonly used herbs. It is used to add flavor in many dishes and also has a lot of health benefits. Basil is quite expensive, but growing it from cuttings is easy. You can keep your basil plant indoors too.

Just cut a stem of basil below the leaf nodes and remove the leaves on the lower part of the stem. Then, place your cuttings in a glass of water and let it grow its roots. It will take around a week or so to grow roots, and once the roots are a few inches long, you can transfer the basil into a pot.


Mint

One of the easiest herbs to grow is mint and it can be grown indoors too. You can grow it from stems of mint you bought from the store. My teammate Yosh was able to grow a lot of mint plants recently! And they grow really fast!

Just like with basil, cut it just below the leaf nodes. Then, remove the leaves on the lower part of the stem leaving only the leaves on top. Place it in a glass of water in a place that gets indirect sunlight.

Once the roots have formed and grew a few inches long, plant the stems into a pot with soil. When watering the plant, make sure to keep the soil moist, but not flooded.


Carrot

Okay, first things first: You can’t grow new carrots from your kitchen scraps. BUT you can regrow greens from the carrot tops. These are great for pesto and can be used as herbs. To grow carrot greens, cut off about an inch of the carrot top. You can put that carrot top on soil or in a a shallow container with water. Make sure only the cut side of the carrot top is submerged.

If in water, replace the water every two days. After a few days, you will see greens sprouting from the top. Once roots form, you can transfer the carrot tops to soil.

If you want to grow carrots, you have to wait until your carrot tops bloom flowers and produce seeds. You can then take the seeds and plant them.


Radish

Growing radish is similar to growing carrots. You won’t be getting a new radish, but you can harvest the greens or wait for the plant to flower and collect the seeds, which you can plant to grow a new radish!

You need about an inch of the radish top and place it in a container with water enough to submerge the bottom part of your radish cutting. Once roots grow, you can transfer the radish to soil. You can either harvest the radish greens and use them for salads or pesto or wait until the plant matures and flowers. When it flowers, it will also develop seed pods which you can collect and plant in soil to grow radish.


Tomato

Most people throw away the seeds of tomatoes when cooking. But the tomato is one of the plants that grow fast! If you have no patience to remove seeds one by one, you can bury a slice in soil. Water it and make sure to keep the soil moist. After a week or two, the tomatoes will start to sprout. Let the stems grow longer for two more weeks, then transfer the seedling into a larger pot.


Eggplant

You can plant eggplants by using slices just like with the tomatoes, but you can also harvest the seeds first. This way, you can save some of the seeds and plant it later on. To harvest the seeds, just cut up your eggplant and gently take out the seeds. Lay the seeds on a paper towel and leave them to dry for a few hours. When the seeds have dried, you can plant them in soil. You can start with using a small cup to germinate. The eggplants should sprout in a few weeks.

Keep the plant in a place where it could get enough sunlight and wait for a few weeks for the branches to grow taller before transferring it to a permanent pot.


Pechay

Growing pechay from your kitchen scrap is easy. Cut off the base of the pechay, about one to two inches long. Put it in a shallow container or glass with water covering about one third of the pechay base. Make sue to replace the water every other day.

After a few days, you should see new leaves coming out from the center and roots growing at the bottom. When more leaves start to grow and the roots become longer, you can transfer the pechay into a pot. The pechay would take a few months to be mature enough to harvest, but the good thing about this is you can just cut off the leaves from the stem and let the pechay grow leaves again.


Garlic

Growing garlic may take months, but the leaves that sprout from it, also called garlic greens is edible. To grow your garlic, separate the garlic cloves and put them in a glass. (My teammate Yosh has also tried putting in soil immediately and it worked too!) Make sure the cloves are placed upright just like how it looks in a garlic bulb, with the pointy end up and the root end down.

After a week, you should see sprouts and roots on your garlic cloves. You can then transfer it to a pot, burying it 2 inches deep into the soil.


Onion

Using onion bottoms, you can grow onions in a few months. Cut about 1 inch of the onion bottom and remove the onion skin. Suspend the onion bottom on a glass with water just enough to cover the roots. In 3 to 5 days, you should see roots growing. Replace the water every other day.

Once you see shoots coming out of the top of the onion in a week or so, transfer it in soil, burying the roots but not covering the shoots completely. Water the onions. It would take months before you can get an onion bulb, but you can also get the greens too.


Ginger

This is another success story for us. We were able to grow ginger over the quarantine period.

You don’t need to use an entire ginger. Just look for parts that have “eyes” on them, those little paler protrusions. Some recommend to soak the ginger overnight, some suggest to put it in water until they grow roots, but we tried planting it directly in soil and it worked!

To do this, take a piece of ginger and break it into smaller pieces. Make sure each piece has growth buds or eyes. Plant it about 2 inches deep in soil with the eyes up. After a few weeks, you should see it sprout. You can harvest the ginger after some months. The longer you let it grow, the larger the rhizome will get.



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