Remember the time you opened the vegetable drawer in your refrigerator and there were things GROWING in there? Creepy, unrecognizable tendrils of alien things and maybe some dusty mold? Eew. You probably scooped it all up and threw it in the garbage contributing to the growing levels of food waste. Or if you’re a solid citizen and recycle food, you carried the fridge drawer out to the backyard and dumped it into your compost heap..
But all those things in your vegetable drawer were already on their way to being food and you missed some serious opportunities. Those of you who actually visit your compost heap—even yearly—know that some of this food waste takes root, stalks reach from the earth and potatoes grow.
Picking through egg shells, orange rinds and coffee grounds of your compost heap is unappealing, so why not eliminate the middle man and create a garden straight from your kitchen cutting board?
You can start your garbage garden by taking the bases of green onions, celery, cabbage, or lettuce—the part you usually throw away—setting them in a shallow bowl of water and placing them in the sun on a countertop or windowsill. If you use clear glass bowls and vases, sunlight will send shots of rainbow around your kitchen.
Tuck a tangle of ginger root in some dirt, and it will grow like Topsy the Elephant. A leftover clove of garlic can be encouraged to make cloves. You’re already on the right track to reduce food waste. Trim the shoots and stalks, but don’t throw them away. Use them in soups and stew.
Oh, those root vegetables – potatoes, beets, turnips and onions, they can all be reproduced with a little patience and dirt. Not carrots, though. You can grow the pretty tops, but they’re bitter. Once your leftovers have sprouted leaves or stalks, plant them in pots on your deck or in your garden and you now have food.
For those of you with the patience of Job, a warm room and a humidifier, try setting the top of a pineapple in a shallow dish of water and wait. It’ll happen.
You just gotta wait.
By Sherri Daley