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Re-growingVEGETABLESfromKITCHEN WASTE Author: Bruce Coetzee The cost of living, let alone the immensity of supporting a large family financially, is set to rise as our natural resources quickly dwindle under growing demand! Exploring new innovative methods that could help substantially alleviate the heavyweight and responsibilities of providing a continuous supply of healthy, organic vegetables and culinary herbs is a sound principle when relying on fresh produce grown at home to lessen the weight.While a wide variety of good vegetable seeds are available, they are not cheap. The benefits of re-using kitchen offcuts to utilise nature’s natural ability are to sustain new life and continue to feed nations. Working in harmony with these biological re-growth systems, which are fundamentally programmed into the genome of many plant species, gives further construct to the ideology of ‘natural living’ in its simplest form. Several veggies and herbs can be easily re-grown with little effort. Here, we have compiled a short list of commonly used varieties that may surprise you.
In terms of ease and proficiency, there are few veggies compared to Celery. A tasty, versatile vegetable that can form new roots and develop new plant structures from lower base offcuts, it is one of the most popular veggies on our list. Make a clean cut across the stems approximately 5cm from the base. Place the offcut into a container that has filled one-third of the volume with clean, warm water and leave it on a kitchen windowsill where it will receive sunlight. Noticeable new growth will appear in 5 to 9 days, depending on ambient temperatures and sunlight exposure. Once substantial root growth has developed, you can plant it into your veggie garden or continue allowing the plant to grow in the container until harvest is ready. Root vegetables like carrots, radishes and turnips are fantastic re-growth veggies, and they respond very well when grown from scraps that would otherwise be discarded. Cut the top ends off carrots leaving about 1cm of stock intact. Radishes and turnips can follow a similar suit and are prolific veggies that, once rooted, will continue to produce many delicious new vegetables. Once cut, place the top cut side down in a container filled with clean water, approximately 2cm more than the height of your offcuts. Leave the container on a protected windowsill and once new shoots and strong roots are visible, plant them in good organic soil. Rooted vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamin c and boast many highly beneficial flavonoids.
Leafy green herbs and veggies make for a delicious meal and provide calcium, magnesium and iron that assist in developing healthy bones and a robust immune system. Spinach, lettuce and leafy herbs that include basil and bay leaf plants will readily re-grow from kitchen scraps. Place lettuce leaves in a bowl with water and mist spray every second day with clean water. Position the bowl on a well-lit windowsill where it will receive good sunlight. New roots should appear in 5 to 7 days, and planting can be done once a substantial root mass is visible. Some leafy green veggies and herbs will grow from already rooted bases, allowing for a second or third flush of leaves if the rootstock remains intact; this includes spinach and some varieties of cabbage. Working with the constructive systems Mother Nature has provided is fast changing the way we live and the principles of human consumption. There is a good reason behind moms' dinner time reminders about eating your veggies, and perhaps in a world where instant gratification has diminished our attachment to the elements of instinct, we may yet find our species re-growing that deep connection once again to the spirit of the living world.