Empty Fridge in Lockdown? Six Veggies and Herbs To Regrow From Kitchen Scraps & Stock Up

Empty Fridge in Lockdown? Six Veggies and Herbs To Regrow From Kitchen Scraps & Stock Up

The COVID-19 crisis in India has reached an unprecedented peak, leaving each one of us vulnerable and susceptible to infection. Lockdown has been enacted across the country with stricter restrictions than ever. At such a time, even going out for groceries once a day poses a significant amount of risk, to you as well as the people you live with. On the other hand, most of the grocery delivery apps like BigBasket, Grofers, BigBazaar online, Amazon Fresh, etc have suspended their activities in many areas due to an overflow in orders.

For any of us, it is an additional stress to open the fridge and find empty shelves – having to make do with the shrivelled carrots or shrunken lettuce. And if you are someone who wishes to brush up their culinary skills in lockdown, you will be sorely disappointed to find how few herbs or vegetables are available.

There is a very easy solution though, to get the greens of you choice anytime, anyday. You need to spruce up – wait for it – a kitchen garden. No, it does not demand an expansive backyard or twenty hours of your time a day. All you need is some soil, a few planters, ample sunlight and  a teeny bit of your time every day. Without much further ado, here is a list of six herbs, leafy greens and vegetables that you can easily grow from kitchen scraps. Grab your gardening gloves and foster your own organic, artisanal food.

1. Lettuce

Got some Romaine, Iceberg or Red lettuce leftover from last night’s salad? Cut the stalk but don’t throw it away. Instead, soak the stalk in a small glass jar or bowl, with just enough water so that bottom remains immersed. Place the bowl near sunlight and watch the leaves come up within just a few days. Make sure to mist the leaves 5-6 times each week. Once you spot enough roots and your plant has become too large for the jar/bowl, transplant it into some potting soil.

2.  Spring Onion

One of the easiest greens to grow at home, you can get spring onions in a jiffy in a variety of ways. If you are cooking with a bunch of spring onions, cut off the root portion with about a inch of the stalk. Place the roots in a glass of water (half-filled) and keep it in ample sunlight. Make sure to replenish and change the water in the glass every few days. New sprigs will start showing up within 3-4 days, or even less, if you are lucky enough! You can either transfer them to the soil after a while or just continue growing them in water.

Another way to grow a lot of spring onions at once is with a plastic egg tray. Pop a hole at the top of each egg cup, pour some water and stick in your spring onion stalks. It will start growing in no time.

Wait, there is one more! If you only have onions in your kitchen basket, you can get spring onions from there as well. Cut the root portion of the onion with around half an inch of the bulb. Plant shallow in loose potting mix and sprinkle with some water, and enjoy your garden-fresh green onions in a wink. You can also do this with shallots.

3. Chilli

The hot and happening addition to your dishes are so easy to grow – you will be surprised to see. All you need is some good quality potting soil (make your own by mixing compost and cocopeat to normal garden soil) and direct sunlight.

You will get ready-to-sow chilli seeds from the dried red chillies or chilli flakes that you cook with. Push the soil with your finger to make half-inch holes and sow your seed. Dust with some more loose soil from the top, before sprinkling with a dash of water. The saplings will appear in 4-5 days. Continue to sprinkle with little water every day till the saplings are large enough. You can easily get fresh green chillies within 30-40 days.

If bugs or pests keep bugging your plant, here is how to prepare a harmless, organic pesticide at home.

4. Tomato

One ripe tomato, hundreds of seeds and a little soil – all you need for your next homegrown garden salad. Slice your tomato evenly and place each slice in a small pot, or together in a rectangular planter.

The saplings will come up soon with just enough water and exposure to sunlight. Make sure to space out the saplings if the planter becomes too crowded, otherwise, your tomato plants will not get enough nutrition to grow properly.

Within two months, you will get fresh, juicy and perfectly tangy tomatoes adorning your quaint little kitchen garden. You can also grow cherry tomatoes this way.

5. Celery

It’s a cakewalk to grow celery – just cut the base of a celery bunch and put it in a bowl with some lukewarm water at the bottom. Keep the bowl under direct sunlight and once you spot the leaves sprouting, you can transplant these to the soil.

6. Coriander

You can grow this herb the same way as celery – by soaking the roots with an inch of the stalk with it. But, I prefer growing coriander from seeds, you get a better yield that way. You only need the Dhania seeds that you use in tempering and flavouring your recipes.

One essential step in growing coriander from seeds is to pound the seeds a few times before sowing so that they are halved. Then you can spread them evenly on a soil bed, or even grow in water using hydroponics. Here is how.

Read More: ‘Water For Voiceless’: Bengaluru Residents Keep 500 Water Pots To Quench the Thirst of Stray Animals in Summer

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