Food for free: it’s amazing what you can grow from scraps

Salad leaves being regrown on a windowsill.
Picture PA/thinkstockphotos.

Salad leaves being regrown on a windowsill. Picture PA/thinkstockphotos. - Credit: PA

In the days and weeks after Christmas, money can be tight. And when the last of the leftover turkey has been used up in sandwiches, soups, curries and any other way you can think of to recycle it, you may be looking for other ways to economise on food, writes Sheena Grant.

If so, you might be surprised to learn it's amazing what you can grow from scraps.

You don't need an allotment to grow your own veg. In fact, you don't need seeds or even a plot of earth.

All you need is some scraps and leftovers from your weekly food shop, and a sunny kitchen windowsill. Get started with...

1. Avocado: instead of throwing avocado stones in the bin (or even on to the compost) use toothpicks to suspend a stone in enough water to cover the bottom inch. Give it six weeks in a warm spot, regularly topping up the water, and you should see a stem and root system forming. Once leaves start to appear, you can pot or plant your avocado, and hopefully, in time, grow a whole load more.


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2. Salad leaves: put wilting lettuce leaves in water, mist them with more water over the next couple of days, and tiny roots should start appearing. Next, pop them in soil and wait for the leaves to multiply, giving you fresh salad to keep on harvesting.

3. Garlic: put one clove, root down, in a pot of soil, water and leave it in the sun. Once you have new growth, cut it back and you'll be rewarded with a whole bulb.

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4. Onions: When slicing onions, keep the root ends, with around half an inch of onion flesh still attached, and pot up with soil. The root will grow, and you'll also get edible green leaves sprouting out the top.

5. Pak choi: leftovers can be inserted into water much like salad leaves and left to re-sprout.

6. Potatoes: save some peelings that have 'eyes' intact. Dry them out on kitchen paper and then stick them several inches deep in soil (in a sturdy grow bag would be ideal). Water regularly and wait for your very own potato plant to appear.

7. Lemongrass: pop leftover lemongrass in a glass filled with enough water to cover the base of the stalks. Roots will grow within a week and you can transplant them into a pot.

Send your thrifty tips to sheena.grant@archant.co.uk.

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