MOTHER EARTH NEWS

The Garden of Rebirth

Regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps can sound like a gimmick. But I’ve found that the more I look to my kitchen as a seed and plant catalogue, the more varied my vegetable garden becomes. In many cases, harvesting cycles for many of the plants in my garden are now much longer than they were when I was stocking my vegetable garden the usual way — with seedling six-packs and seeds from packets.

I think of it as a “garden of rebirth” — a garden based on creating something out of almost nothing. The seeds you scoop out of cantaloupe are viable, as are the seeds in red bell peppers, tomatoes, and dried chili peppers. Basil, rosemary, sage, and other herbs will easily root in water to create young herb plants for transplanting into containers or gardens. Planting sprouted potatoes, rather than throwing them away, will yield you anywhere from 6 to 12 garden-fresh potatoes in a few months. Divert a handful of beans from that bean soup you’re making, and they’ll grow you a row of beans. Celery bottoms regrow celery, and radicchio bottoms regrow radicchio. One of the most significant boosts to my everyday cooking from my garden of rebirth is the fact that scallions, which I love, regrow from their bases throughout the growing season, so I no longer have to buy a bunch of scallions for the 2 tablespoons I like to add to my scrambled eggs.

Getting Scrappy

The nub of this garden of rebirth idea is to use the parts of vegetables we usually throw away as the starts for new plants. If you find

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