The basic things we cannot live without tend to take up the majority of our budget: food, housing and utilities. While we can’t cut any of them out completely, there are certain actions we can take to help decrease how much we spend on them. The area that is most in our control? Groceries!
The average cost of groceries for the typical American household is roughly $550 per month.1 There are a few things you can do to help control what you spend while you’re at the store, but what if you could eliminate buying some staple items altogether? You can do just that by regrowing some of your produce, a lot of it without a garden! Not only will you always have access to produce you regular need, but you’ll also be able to cut down on the frequency you need to buy it. Pick your favorite produce from the list below and start growing your own groceries from your scraps.
While you can’t grow an entire bulb from a clove, you can grow garlic sprouts. If you’ve let your garlic sit long enough, you’ve probably already seen evidence of this with the little green that sprouts up from the tip. These greens can be chopped and sprinkled over baked potatoes, tossed in salads or used as a basic garnish.
Place a few cloves in a bowl and pour water up to the bottom of the cloves. Keep the bowl in a sunny area and change the water every other day. Once the sprouts get to three inches or so, start to trim them down.
Onions in your dinner tonight? Cut one half and take the other to replant in the garden or a window box with soil. Onions regrow their roots! Once they show, remove the old onion bottom and leave the roots behind.
Don’t like eating the stem of the mushroom? Perfect! That’s all you need to regrow an entire crop of mushrooms! Bury 90% of the stalk in soil and just leave the very top exposed. Make sure they are planted in an area with a lot of humidity and nutrient-rich soil.
4. Lettuces (Bok Choy, Romaine, Cabbage)
There’s one very easy way to grow several leafy greens! Save the stump of the head and put it in a bowl with a half inch of water. Place the bowl in a sunny area and change the water daily. After a few days, the stump will sprout some roots. Place them root-side down in your garden or a pot of soil and watch as your lettuce grows!
Once the leaves start to grow, you can harvest the whole plant or you can slice it off and leave the root and base behind to sprout again.
Hate the watery insides of tomatoes? Perfect — that’s exactly what you need to regrow a whole new batch. Rinse off your discarded seeds and allow them to dry. Reuse the seeds and start your next batch of tomatoes.
Start your tomatoes inside in rich soil and move outside to a sunny area once they get a few inches high.
Celery grows similarly to its cousin, lettuce. Save the base and place it in a bowl with water, changing it every few days. Keep it in a sunny area and watch as the leaves begin to blossom. Mist the plant with a spray bottle every other day.
7. Scallions and Leeks
Save the white portion of scallions and leeks to kick-start another round of great produce. Place the roots in a tall pickle jar or water glass and add water just over the bulb. Change the water every other day, and you’ll see results in just a week!
While the regrowth of ginger can take a while, it’s worth the wait! Depending on your climate, it can take up to a year to grow ginger, but it is very low maintenance in the meantime.
Place a chunk of a ginger root in soil in indirect sunlight. When it’s grown, uproot it and take the portion you need, then replace it for continued growth.
9. Cilantro and Basil
Save the roots from these popular herbs and place them in a bowl of water. Keep the bowl in a sunny area and replace the water every other day. Once the roots have grown a bit, migrate them over to a pot. After a few weeks, you should see shoots breaking through the top of the soil and start to bloom. A few weeks beyond that and you’ll have herbs ready to harvest!
Lemongrass can easily regrow from the discarded roots that are too tough for cooking. However, because they’re so dense, it takes a bit of extra effort to get your lemongrass started. First, soak the stalks in water for approximately three weeks or until you start to see roots. Make sure you regularly change the water. Once they sprout, transfer the roots to a sunny spot in the soil. It’s ready to be harvested once it’s approximately one foot in length. Cut off what you need and leave the root for more lemongrass later!
1ValuePenguin. (n.d.). Average household cost of food. Retrieved July 25, 2017, from https://www.valuepenguin.com/how-much-we-spend-food