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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a way to save on groceries. Its one of the few areas in our lives that we can’t just walk away from when the costs get too high. We all gotta eat, right? Luckily for us all, there are quite a few ways that you can lower your grocery bill. Some of them might seem strange, but when your savings has hit a brick wall and you can’t seem to get things lower? They’ll work like a charm. Growing your own food from scraps is one of those ways. Using food scraps is a huge step toward a no waste kitchen and growing them into new foods is just one of the frugal ways to use food scraps that I know of. In fact? It’s actually my favorite since it usually saves you the most money!
Aside from the fact that using vegetable scraps to grow your own food can save you money on your groceries, it can also save you money on your health care costs. Recently I told the story of how I got rid of the chronic pain that had taken over my life for 8 years and in case you missed it? Part of the solution was nutritional. Health care costs are through the roof for most of us so anything that we can do to save on them is totally worth it in my eyes. If your grocery budget (Six Dollar Family) doesn’t allow for a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, growing food from scraps is one way that you can “buy” them without adding to your costs too much.
Foods that Grow from Scraps
Yes, these all do take a bit of work and you’ll likely have to buy some supplies like potting soil or a 30 gallon garbage can, but the money that they save you in the long run will far outweigh the cost that you spend initially. You’ll also have the small cost of buying your initial fruit or veggie to get your scrap growing started. If your budget can’t handle buying all of them at once, do it monthly. Buy one item to regrow one month then once those have taken off, buy another and so on. Tapering your buying is a fantastic way to keep your grocery budget safe while still getting your growing cycles going.
Once you’ve got your food scrap garden going, you should be able to continue each one for quite a while. Just be sure to plant your new scraps the same way you did the first. Certain ones might require that you replace the starter scrap more often, but for the most part, they can all be regrown over and over again. These nine are not the only ones that you can grow from scraps. There are actually quite a few of them. These are my favorites though and since I wanted to keep this post length manageable, I’m only mentioning them. They’re great to start with and then once you’ve got them all down pat, you can move onto others.
Potatoes – The price of potatoes fluctuates pretty hard during the year and sometimes they can be pretty expensive. New potatoes (or baby reds) especially. Luckily, potatoes are super easy to grow from scraps. You’ll need to find a potato that has several “eyes” on it. Cut it into two-inch chunks making sure that here are 2-3 eyes on it. Let them dry overnight and then using a clean and new trash can or a 5 gallon food safe bucket, plant them in potting soil about 4 inches deep with the eyes facing up. Potatoes need a lot of water to keep them healthy so be sure you water them often. Keep them healthy and you’ll have tasty new potatoes in just a few weeks.
Celery – Celery is one of the easiest vegetables to regrow from scraps. In fact, it’s so easy to do that my Emma loves to keep our celery scraps growing. Cut the base off of the celery that you have in the fridge and place it into a bowl of water in a sunny area (not direct sun). Wait for it to sprout and then plant in soil. Celery grows really fast so if you do the process correctly, you’ll have a full stalk pretty quickly.
Lettuce – Lettuce, like celery, grows from scraps really easily. Simply place the root in a bowl of water then place the bowl in indirect sunlight. Keep your scrap watered and roots should take form around 3-4 days later. Once you’ve got roots, it is ready to be planted in potting soil.
Pineapple – We love fresh pineapple, but I hate the cost sometimes. Growing pineapple from scraps though? I adore. Cut the top off your pineapple and insert some toothpicks to suspend it above a container filled with water. Keep the container and your scrap in direct sunlight. If the weather is warm outside, you can put it on the back porch in the sunlight would be perfect. Just remember to bring it in at night when the temperatures dip. Change out the water about every other day and in about a week you will notice root growing. Transplant the scrap once you have a root growing. Remember though. Pineapple is a tropical fruit so it needs to be kept warm. If you live in an area that gets cool or cold, keep your pineapple scraps growing indoors.
Avocado – Want to regrow your avocado? Take the seed and use toothpicks to suspend it over a jar or glass filled with just enough water to cover the bottom of the seed. Keep it in a warm place but not in direct sunlight. Let it grow (let it grow! Don’t trim it back just yet! Let it…sorry…brain is chasing rabbits) until the stem gets to be about 6 inches. At about 6 inches, trim the stem back about halfway to 3 inches. Wait for leaves to appear then plant in potting soil once they do.
Sweet Potatoes – You would think that sweet potato scraps and potato scraps would be grown the same, but nope! To grow sweet potatoes from scraps, cut a sweet potato in half and like the avocado, suspend it in a jar with toothpicks and shallow water. Roots will appear in a few days. Wait until a sprout shows up, then twist it off once it reaches about 4 inches. Place it water and once it has roots that are an inch long you can plant it.
Ginger – I’m not a huge ginger fan, but Emma loves gingerbread cookies so we keep it on hand. Luckily ginger scraps grow with minimal work so I don’t mind. Take a piece of your ginger root and plant it with the buds facing up. New shoots should appear in about a week or so. Ginger can be regrown over and over so be sure that you keep a piece on hand so that you never run out.
Garlic – We go through so much garlic so if it wasn’t for the fact that garlic regrows from scraps easily? I’d be broke. At our house, garlic is one of the herbs and seasonings that we grow in our kitchen so that I don’t bankrupt us with the cost of them. To regrow it, you’ll need a full clove. Place it root down in potting soil and keep it in a warm place with indirect sunlight. Once a shoot sprouts trim it back and a bulb will grow. When you grow garlic from scraps, you do need to buy that first clove, but luckily for me (and you!) you can keep planting it like this making it well worth your while to do.
Onion – Onion is another vegetable that we go through like crazy. My Emma will even eat them like an apple! To regrow it, cut the root off the onion making sure to leave a half inch of onion on the root.. Cover with potting soil and like with garlic, keep in a warm place. Green onions can be regrown too. Cut them off at the root and put into a bowl or glass of water deep enough to cover them. Point the roots downward and wait Make sure that you change the water out every couple of days or it will get greasy.