how to grow a garden from kitchen scraps

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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. 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.