Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Grow Free Food

Did you know you can get free food by planting the 'scraps'?

My grand experiment includes spring onions, potatoes, coriander, lettuce and a Chinese green (not sure which one).

Keep your spring onions in a glass with water and trim off what you need for salads and cooking. Once you get down to an inch or so, leave them in water to continue growing roots. Be sure to refresh the water every couple of days. Once they've grown a good clump of roots (should take a week or so) tuck them into a place in your garden or in pots on your deck.

If you're buying soil to top up the garden or pots, choose compost not potting mix. The latter doesn't have as many nutrients as the former for giving your free plants a good boost.

Potatoes: if you have 'eyes' starting to grow, let them keep going and once the eye is good and hairy, chop the potato into as many bits as there are eyes. Let the pieces harden up by the cut sides drying out before burying in the garden.

Chinese green: keep in glass or wide jar with small amount of water to cover the stump. Or chop off after shopping, keep leaves in fridge and stump in water. You want the stump to start growing small roots. I kept mine in for more than a week and the wee roots were only a few millimetres long but I planted it anyway. I'll let you know if it took root or not.

Other plants you could do likewise with would include but not limited to, celery, cabbage and lettuce. I'm not sure about broccoli and cauli but I will be trying them, too.

I also put a hydroponically grown lettuce in water rather than the fridge. The central leaves stayed fresh which gave me hope that it might transfer to soil. I must check the garden and see how it is.

I love the idea of growing something for free rather than composting or throwing away. It appeals on several levels: frugality, a challenge and giving a plant an extended life. It also means more food on a micro level but on a macro level I enjoy the thought it might help feed needier people than me (if the practice was more widely adopted). And if I was Scottish it would appeal to my ingrained sense of waste-not, want-not.

Somewhere in the mish-mash of my genetic heritage lies a wee smidgeon of Scottish blood.

I've included a few photos so you can see how easy it is. And so you can see how clever I am. I'll let you know the score next week.

For more photos and updates, see my facebook page,



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