We are proud to be using upcycled ingredients in our new skin care range and that has inspired us to focus on upcycling this month; looking at areas within our home where we can upcycle and re-use household scraps and really get the most out of everything we buy and grow.
Have you ever tried to re-grow vegetables from vegetable peel and scraps? Back in January, over on our Instagram stories, we shared the garlic bulbs that we planted that had started to grow green shoots and had become unsuitable for cooking with. They are now growing well outside so hopefully we will be eating lots of fresh garlic in the summer. One little clove will turn into a whole garlic bulb!
There are lots of ways of re-using your vegetable scraps, you can actually fully regrow some vegetables, such as lettuce or regrow root vegetables such as carrots for the nutritious leaves that will form. You can also just plant the seeds you get from a particular fruit or vegetable and get a continuous crop of vegetables, salads or herbs.
You can regrow roots and underground stems by cutting off a section of the plant and planting it in soil and watering it. The kinds of things you can regrow this way are: potatoes, ginger beetroots and carrots. If you have felt guilty about wasting those shrivelled carrots at the bottom of your veg drawer, then fear not, you can still make use of them.
We have even managed to start regrowing a small cabbage out of the last scraps of a cabbage that was starting to look the worse for wear. It can be really satisfying getting more from things that would otherwise just be thrown away.
One of the easiest projects you can start with is to grow an avocado plant from the seed. Just remove all of the flesh from your avocado, rinse the seed and carefully stick some wooden skewers into it and place it in a glass jar full of water. A wonderful plant will grow and you can keep it on your windowsill and admire the amazing root structure that forms.
Another easy project is to try to grow a crop of potatoes from just one potato! You will need to find a potato that has some ‘eyes’ in it. You will be able to start your potato off inside, but this will need to be moved outside, either directly into the ground or into a deep container. There are lots of upcycling options to go for, such as an old barrel. You can find people on the internet who upcycle old oak barrels and turn them into planters, or use an old bucket or even some old tyres stacked on top of each other filled with compost!
We followed the below steps from the fantastic book by Katie Elzer Peters called ‘No Waste Kitchen Gardening’ which is well worth a purchase if you want to really explore the possibilities of regrowing your veg scraps.
Step 1.) Find your potato with eyes in (or just save a potato from your next bag of potatoes and leave it somewhere cool and dark to grow the ‘eyes’ or shoots). Prepare your potatoes for planting. She suggests disinfecting the knife that you will be using for cutting the potato into pieces – some hand sanitiser will do! Potatoes do not like bacteria and can rot if they come into contact with it while growing.
Step 2.) Wash the potatoes and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces, making sure each piece has two eyes on each piece.
Step 3.) Allow the cut pieces to dry out for a few days – this allows the potato to form a protective skin over the cut, to reduce the risk of bacteria getting in.
Step 4.) Fill your chosen planting pot half way with soil and make sure it is watered. Place your pieces of potato about 6 inches apart on top of the soil, then cover with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
Step 5) Place the pot in a sunny spot and wait for the leaves to start sprouting. When they start to appear over the soil, you will need to keep covering them over with soil, just so you can just about still see the tops.
Step.) Keep adding soil as the foliage starts to grow; by mid-summer, you should have a crop of potatoes to enjoy! The potatoes will be ready to pick once the flowers have died of and the foliage starts to go yellow.
We hope you will enjoy having a go at some of these projects and learning more about how to make the most of upcycling your household waste!