You don’t need to have an allotment to grow your own veg. In fact, you don’t need seeds, a plot of earth, or even a nearby garden centre to do it.
All you need is some scraps and leftovers from your weekly food shop, and a sunny kitchen windowsill you can regrow them on. It will save you money on fresh veggies, add pep to home-cooked meals, and make you feel incredibly smug when friends come over and you can say, ‘Oh, I’ll just snip some fresh salad leaves for supper.’
Here are a few places to start…
Instead of chucking avocado stones straight in the bin, use toothpicks to suspend a stone in enough water to cover the bottom inch. Give it six weeks in a warm spot, regularly topping up the water, and you should see a stem and root system forming. Once leaves start to appear, you can pot or plant your avocado, and hopefully, in time, grow a whole load more. Then all you’ll need is copious amounts of toast and hot sriracha sauce.
2. Salad leaves
Turns out there really is a way to avoid bags of rotting salad leaves in the fridge. Just put wilting lettuce leaves in water, mist them with more water over the next couple of days, and tiny roots should start appearing. Next, pop them in soil and wait for the leaves to multiply – then you’ll have fresh salad to keep on harvesting.
Growing your own garlic is a doddle – all you do is put one clove, root down, in a pot of soil, water and leave it in the sun. Once you have new growth, cut it back and you’ll be rewarded with a whole bulb. And nothing beats homemade garlic bread.
Slicing onions? Keep the root ends – with around half an inch of onion flesh still attached – and pot up with soil. The root will grow, and you’ll also get edible green leaves sprouting out the top.
5. Pak choi
Much like salad leaves, pak choi leftovers can be inserted into water and left to re-sprout – which is handy, as it can be a fairly pricey veggie if stir fry is a regular at your house.
Peeling potatoes is a total chore, but next time you’re prepping mash, save some peelings – they’ll need to have eyes intact if this is going to work. Dry them out on kitchen paper and then stick them several inches deep in soil (in a sturdy grow bag would be ideal). Water regularly and wait for your very own potato plant to appear.
Delicious in stir fries and curries, lemongrass can be hard to find in the supermarket, and when you do snag some, it’s easy to only use a little bit while the rest irritatingly turns to mush before you get round to finishing it off. So, next time you do stumble upon some, use what you need and then pop the rest in a glass filled with enough water to cover the base of the stalks. Roots will grow within a week, and you can transplant them into a pot – you’ll never run short of lemongrass again.