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One Man’s Trash is Your Garden’s Treasure

Each year, at the forefront of my summer daydreams is a garden with a bounty of plump tomatoes, hefty zucchini, and crisp lettuce, amid the scents of mint, basil, and cilantro. The dream continues into my kitchen, where I create unique, healthy dishes from my own harvest.

Because my family is moving very soon, this summer that overflowing garden will have to be a dream deferred. In the meantime, we’ll fill in the blanks with a small produce shop downtown and our Saturday farmers market. I love shopping locally, but I still have that itch to get in on the action myself. As our move grows nearer, I’ve been considering my options. I’ve grown my own herbs in windowsill pots a time or two, so that’s on the list for our new place. But what else?

Within a few keyword searches, the answer popped up. It turns out the next best thing to a garden is in my trash bin. I bet it’s in yours too. I’m talking about food scraps! I’ve heard of regrowing veggies before, but it slipped my mind as an option for my current garden dilemma. Are you ready to turn your food trash into a treasure? Let’s dig in!

How Does Your Garden Regrow?
For those of us with limited space and time, the recycled garden is a great option. There are a handful of common vegetables, herbs and spices that you can regrow: leeks, scallion, spring onions, fennel, garlic, celery, lettuce, cabbage, white and sweet potatoes, lemongrass, ginger, cilantro and basil.

The process begins with trimming off the end or root of the plant and placing it in water or soil. Easy enough, right? This is the first step for every item on the list. From there, you’ll find variations for sunlight, cutting/trimming, and replanting. Further instructions can be found here . 

You’ll also see pineapple and avocado listed as candidates for regrowth. Keep in mind that these two can take years to produce fruit, and for avocados, seed grafting might be necessary to make that happen. The bright side is, even if you don’t get fruit, you’ll at least get a good-looking houseplant!

What to Know Before You Regrow
Before you regrow, know that patience is a must-have. Your food scraps will go through various stages before becoming the real thing. Each stage can take days, weeks, or even longer in some cases. But, what do you have to lose? The process costs almost nothing, and if you hang tight, eventually you’ll have your go-to veggies and herbs on hand, which will save time and money. Regrowing is a crash-course in gardening too, so if you ever plan to branch out, you’ll already have a grasp of the basics.

Turning food waste into garden goodies is worth the wait. Start leaving your trashcans a little emptier this week! What kind of food scraps do you use for you garden? Share with us in the comments below!

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