It has been more than a month that I’ve been in self-quarantine since lockdown was imposed and wanting to be as self-sufficient as possible, I spruced up my vegetable garden. Having sown all my stored seeds (I even ransacked the spice cupboard for coriander and mustard seeds), I decided to use my vegetable scraps.
And so there was soup for supper! All the carrot and beetroot tops were cut off, leaving 2cm of root attached to the top where the leaves had grown. Celery, onion, and fennel bottoms also re-sprout well.
These tops and bottoms are best kept in a container with a little bit of water to encourage regrowth. The water needs to be changed weekly to prevent rotting. It is impressive to watch these mere scraps grow with such enthusiasm.
Place your container anywhere where they receive sufficient light. Easily done by people who don’t even have access to gardens. One can grow sprouting vegetables on windowsills and kitchen shelves as easily as in a backyard.
These vegetable scraps are using the reserves in the remainder of their roots to produce lush leaves and in time will grow fine roots to sustain more growth and eventually flowers and seed.
But don’t expect to be harvesting swollen roots of beetroot or carrots. These beetroots have already sacrificed their bulbous roots, but will happily produce leaves as good as any other chard.
The carrots too will focus on growth above the ground. Even though a small amount of carrot leaves is safe to eat sporadically (carrot-top pesto is a firm favourite with many Swiss and Germans), the point is to get them flowering and seeding, to allow you to sow your next crop.
Onions will regrow useful bulbs, but care needs to be taken to prevent them from rotting prematurely. I’m sorry, but I can’t cope with the stink!
It is easier just popping in a few onions already sprouting.
I’ve not had the patience of keeping my veg tops in the containers for more than a fortnight, so I’ve popped mine in the moist soil of my veggie patch. They are producing leaves, but a sneak preview underground has not revealed any root growth yet.
Still, I’m encouraged to give these vegetable scraps the freedom to grow.
Life has no limits.