By Gail Marsh
Stop going to the grocery store so often to buy fresh produce! You can easily regrow veggies from scraps. Nope, it’s not science fiction. This is real. Real food that you can grow for free! In an RV! What could be better? You just need to rethink typical food scraps…
Celery, lettuce and cabbage
You know the “stump” part of celery you usually throw into the garbage after removing all of the edible celery stalks? Place the root end of the stump in a half-inch of warm water. Then, set the plant in a sunny window and wait for the magic to happen! Keep the water fresh and in about a week you’ll see new, green celery growth popping from the top, and new roots growing from the bottom of the stump. Transfer the plant into soil. I like to use the leaves as a garnish to salads, but you can also use the celery leaves to season soups and other foods. Just don’t cut off all of the leaves at once! You can follow the same regrowing process for romaine lettuce and cabbage.
It’s also easy to regrow carrots. First, cut off any greens from the top of the carrot to about 3/4 inch. Then trim off the bottom of the carrot until only 1 1/2 inches remain. Place this in about one inch of water and put the carrot in a sunny location. Keep it in fresh water and, much like the celery, the carrot will soon sprout roots and send green shoots out from the top. When the roots have developed, you can transplant the carrot into soil. (It also makes a pretty houseplant, with frilly green leaves much like ferns.)
Spring onions, leeks and scallions
Spring onions, leeks and scallions can be regrown, as well. Place the root ends in water and new growth will develop within a few days. Then you can transplant into soil.
You can regrow garlic, too. It’s as easy as setting a single clove in soil, root down, and placing it in a sunny window. When the plant is established, trim back the green shoots and all of the plant’s energy will go into producing a bulb. Repeat the procedure for endless garlic!
It takes a little more time to regrow tomatoes
If you cut a cherry tomato in half, you can regrow more. You can also regrow larger varieties. Tomatoes require much more time than the other veggies mentioned. You’ll want to use well-ripened tomatoes for the best results. Simply place cherry tomato halves or slices of regular tomatoes on top of some soil. Cover them with another thin layer of soil and vermiculite mix. Keep the soil moist and warm and within a few weeks, your baby tomato plants should sprout. Thin out the plants so that only the biggest and strongest ones remain. It will take several weeks for the tomato plants to mature. If you stay in your location for several months, regrowing tomatoes makes sense. Because we travel more frequently, and larger plants are hard to transport, I’ve only regrown tomatoes once.
If you frequently move from place to place, you can take small garden plants with you. Just be sure to use manageably-sized pots. Soil is heavy! I put all of my individual plant pots into one open-top cardboard box for transport. That way if the RV hits a bump, the soil won’t spill on the floor. A plastic storage container will work too.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ll use small storage boxes the next time I regrow veggies from scraps. The plastic boxes will be easy to move in and outside our rig. I can place soil directly into the boxes and if the size of the plants allow for it, I can snap the lids on for travel.