DIY: Grow a Garden from Kitchen Scraps

Organic food can be really expensive, right? I saw a post on Pinterest about growing a garden with kitchen scraps and wondered if it could really be done. Basically, you can double your money if you use the trimmings you’d normally throw away to grow more food. Is your thumb brown instead of green? No worries, you can do this.

I’m not a gardening expert and I don’t use anything particularly fancy. The only thing I am picky about is my soil. Composting and making your own soil is best (leave me a comment if you want to know what my method is and I’ll do a separate post). If I have to buy a bag, I choose organic potting soil and steer clear of brands like Miracle Grow. I mix in my favorite fertilizer Down To Earth 6-Pound Vegan Mix 3-2-2  and follow-up with a chemical-free soil conditioner EM-1 Microbial Inoculant . The EM-1 can also be used weekly to help the plants absorb more nutrients. My little patch of garden only gets partial sun, about 4-5 hours a day. Even if your growing conditions are not ideal, you should be successful with the varieties listed below.

*Always start with organic, non-GMO fruit or vegetables*

Pineapple– Remove all of the fruit flesh or it will rot. Peel back the lower leaves from the crown to expose the root nodes. Place in a glass of water near sunlight and you will see roots begin to form in 5-10 days. I like to let the roots get really long so that I get a super strong and healthy plant when I put it in the soil.You can grow them in a large pot, raised bed, or put them straight in the ground. Pineapples are part of the bromeliad family and hold water in the space between the leaves. I water from the top a few times a week and have them planted in full sun to partial shade.It takes a full 18 months for the plant to fruit, but it will be the most delicious pineapple you ever tasted!

Celery– Cut off the bottom root end leaving about 3-4 inches of the stalk. Place the root end in water and place near a sunlit window. I removed more of the outer ribs after about 5 days to encourage more root growth. Once the roots are established, plant the celery in soil, covering the roots and base with about 2 inches  of soil. I have mine in a large pot in full sun. Keep the soil evenly moist but do not over water. Harvest in about 120 days.

Ginger– Choose a piece of ginger root that does not look dried out or shriveled up. I select pieces that have lots of “nubs” since this is where the ginger will sprout. Cover the root with soil, nubs facing up. I like to plant ginger in a large pot to keep it from spreading out too much in the garden. Keep the soil well-drained and evenly moist. Do not over water or the roots will rot. Harvest in about 4-6 months.

Garlic– Select larger cloves and peel back the paper from the sprout end ( the pointy side of the clove).Push the clove into well-drained soil, sprout side up.Garlic tends to favor full-sun. The green tops or garlic “scapes” will appear in about two weeks. The scapes are edible and can be used in pesto or other dishes. It takes about 9-12 months for the garlic to mature. A good indicator will be when the scapes turn brown and start to die back. Cut the tops off, do not water for about five days and then harvest.

Green Onions– The easiest thing to grow! Choose green onions with healthy looking roots at the market. Cut off the tops, leaving about 3 inches above the roots. Place in a glass of water near a sunlit window. Green onions will regrow in about 10 days and can be cut again. Leave them in growing in water ( change the water once a week) or plant them in soil outside.

Round Onions -Cut off the root end and leave about 1/2 inch of the onion flesh. Place the roots into a large pot or directly into well-drained soil. Leave most of the onion flesh exposed above the soil, it will sprout from the center onion ring.Do not over water or the bulbs will rot. Onions are ready to harvest in about 60-70 days. A good indicator of when they are ready is when the tops start to fall over and die, similar to the garlic.You can use the green tops in cooking.

Growing my own fruits and veggies helps me to feel more connected to my food. How does your garden grow? Let me know if you have any great tips for easy planting.

 

Thursday night Farmers Market

Our little town has a Thursday night Farmers Market and I’m thrilled to see it’s becoming more popular. I buy all of my produce for the week while supporting local organic farmers. As the market expands, they’re adding more vendors selling prepared foods, like Zarie’s. I tried the hummus, a sun dried tomato spread and the chakchouka. They were all good but the chakchouka was a taste sensation. I loved the sweet tang of the bell peppers and tomatoes so much I bought a container even though it was a bit pricey at $8/8 oz.

Chakchouka is traditionally served with eggs, but I’ve been enjoying it with vegan naan bread and stuffed grape leaves. YUM!

Aloha Friday! How does your garden grow? 

Aloha Friday! How does your garden grow? Just call me a garden geek because nothing makes me happier than eating something I grew myself. Each seed I plant promises a brand new beginning. 

I’ve been testing to see if I could grow a few new fruits and veggies after my success with leafy greens and bananas. The dwarf Meyer lemon tree finally sprouted some buds- hooray! And I just saw the first two strawberries bid good morning to the world. I wouldn’t say organic gardening has been without challenges. But it is so satisfying to walk out in the morning and pluck the ingredients that I put into my green smoothie right from the branch.

Next up, I’ll attempt to grow a rare Hokkaido Black Watermelon from seed. Why? My curiosity got the best of me after seeing it  posted on Facebook by none other than my 97 year old Grandfather. He does a daily “Uncommon Fruit” dossier which I am always intrigued by. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, and eaten it all, he posts something that I have to try. The rind of the Densuke watermelon is black and the flesh is supposedly much firmer and sweeter than anything you’ve ever had in your life. I ordered ten seeds for $3.99, so fingers and toes crossed that the seeds are viable and will sprout.

What’s happening in your garden?

I am such a garden geek. We cut down the first stalk of apple bananas a few weeks ago and I thought

I am such a garden geek. We cut down the first stalk of apple bananas a few weeks ago and I thought it would be at least  few months before any of the other trees flowered. I check daily and today, I noticed another flower! Did you know a banana tree never produces fruit twice? Cut down the mother tree after harvest and keikis ( pups) will grow from the base, giving you new trees. Once the flower appears, it can take from 9-12 months for your stalk of bananas to be ready to harvest.