If you’re finding yourself doing some accidental homesteading now that you’re Sheltering in Place, you’re not alone! Many of us are baking bread, getting out in the garden, and finding other ways to stay home and stay occupied in this unusual time.
Since we’re lucky to live in a climate when spring arrives early, you can be thinking about a kitchen garden right now. Our garden team at the Marin Art & Garden Center is making sure that the Edible Garden continues to get the attention it needs to keep the leafy greens growing; come take a look when you’re ready for a trip out of the house for some good inspiration. And if you don’t have seeds or seedlings yet, never fear. Did you know that many of your kitchen scraps can be used to regrow more pantry essentials? This is especially fun if you have children.
Beans are among the easiest projects; a handful of beans you bought to cook with will quickly reward you with little sprouts. Just keep them moist (a soaked paper towel in a jar or bowl works fine) and in a matter of days you’ll likely see sprouts pushing through. Here are more detailed instructions.
You can also grow a variety of vegetables from the cut ends you’d otherwise discard (you’re composting, aren’t you?). Almost anything from the onion family can be regrown from the root base. Scallions/green onions are quick to sprout up from the white end as long as there are still some little root stubs attached; you can plant it in some potting soil straight from the chopping board. For those with more patience, full size onions can also grow this way, but you may want to first sprout the chunk of the root end in some water. Suspend it in a glass by sticking toothpicks into the root stub so that the root ends are submerged in water. Once you see some green shoots coming up, you can divide the onion bulb into pieces and plant each piece with a shoot separately. It will be autumn before you’ll have new onion bulbs to harvest, but worth the wait! Full details are here.
Celery can also grow from the discarded base where the stalks connect. Sprout it over water, and leaves will quickly start to emerge from the center of the base. When these have reached half an inch or so in height, you can go ahead and plant it in soil.
If you have a large enough container, you can grow potatoes and sweet potatoes from the “eyes.” Find that one potato that rolled to the back of your cupboard and started to sprout; cut it into chunks with one or two sprouts per piece. You’ll want to give these sprouts a lot of space, like a trash can or even a sturdy bag full of potting soil. Bury the chunks so the sprouts are above ground, and with water and sun, you should see your plants grow. There are more instructions here.