16 June 2008

Recycling My Food

And I thought I was being so innovative…

You know that little piece of green onion that you cut off, along with the roots, when chopping up green onions? A while back, I decided that, instead of tossing them into my compost, I’d spoon them into the soil in my herb bed (a long planter box that Anthony built for me and that lives on my deck, right out my front door). Sure enough, those little darlings grew into brand-new (sorta) green onions. The ultimate in recycling and being “green,” eh?

Of course, I plant the garlic bulbs that have begun to sprout, too – and am happily harvesting fresh garlic as a result.

And a client recently gave me a bag of Warren Creek organic potatoes – Russets, Yukon Gold, Red Creamers, and Peruvian Purples – that had grown a tangle of roots in her ignored potato drawer. Those are now in the ground, covered with rice straw. A bit of luck and they’ll shoot out leaves, then, eventually, potatoes.

Turns out my recycling techniques are old hat, though. In this week’s North Coast Journal, Amy Stewart wrote a cute piece entitled “Eat Your Trash.” In it, she discusses the re-issue of Deborah Peterson’s Don’t Throw It, Grow It! 59 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps. To quote Amy: “There’s hardly a scrap of produce on your cutting board that can’t be given a second life, according to the authors. Carrot tops, garbanzo beans, peanuts, jicama, lemongrass, ginger – they can all be made to grow again. Spices and nuts can be sprouted as seeds, fruits and vegetables will grow from cuttings, and beans and peas will turn into climbing vines in a jiffy.”

You mean I can be recycling my carrots, too?

Of course, a lot of plants won’t produce here. Too much wind, not enough heat days. Rules out the possibility of ginger or lemongrass (both of which I like to cook with). And I think I read that growing beans is tricky. But maybe I can let some of my peas go all the way to seed, and then start new plants from them. (Duh – isn’t this the basis of seed saving? It’s a good thing I’m not dependent on my gardening to feed me. There’s so much I don’t know!)

What have you had success at re-growing?

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