By Vina Medenilla
Instead of throwing kitchen scraps to your trash bins, planting them could actually be a good way to save not just the environment, but also save you from food costs. This is the most convenient thing to do with our food waste nowadays since there are delays and no regular schedule for garbage collection due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Mani Pajares of Happy Green Thumb, an urban garden located in an apartment in Mandaluyong, shares how she grows food from her kitchen scraps. Her garden mainly highlights container gardening and she uses this experience by sharing tips via social media.
All you need is vegetable scraps, planting containers, and garden soil.
1. Kitchen scraps
Kitchen scraps including vegetable stalks of onions, kamote, alugbati, and water spinach are recommended for planting, Pajares said.
Soak one inch of the stalk in water overnight and once you see the roots growing, you can transfer them to soil. Onion leeks that already have roots can planted directly to the soil after soaking in water overnight, Pajares added.
2. Recycling containers
Reuse available materials at home such as empty plastic bottles, cans, sacks, cartons, and coconut shells to hold your plant. Make a hole at the bottom of the container so it can have proper water drainage. This will allow the plant to grow and avoid rot.
Put soil into the coconut shell, plant the stalks, and water them.
3. Plant growth
The amount of watering depends on the plant itself. Some plants require everyday watering and some don’t. But for onion leeks, a small amount of water every morning is necessary.
After about three days to four days, you’ll start seeing roots. For sprouts, you can harvest after seven days. Kitchen scraps like onions will have leaves that can be cut every two weeks.
Planting tips for beginners
4. Start small
According to Pajares, since resources are limited now, kitchen scraps would be the best option for planting.
5. Composting kitchen scraps
You may also use kitchen scraps for composting to help your soil get the nutrients that it needs and to lessen your food waste as well. All fruit and vegetable peels or leftovers are good for composting. You just need a covered bin and to layer scraps with soil.
Read our feature on composting for city dwellers.
6. Vegetable seeds
Having no seeds at home won’t be a problem. You can get seeds from the vegetables that you consume like siling labuyo, bell pepper, and siling pansigang. The seeds of red ones can be planted right away. Just take the seeds out, wash them, and plant them in the soil. Ampalaya seeds are also great for planting.
Keeping our homes healthy means making our bodies and surroundings healthy as well. One way to ensure this is by planting your own food. Gardening will help you provide highly nutritious food, lessons and will build healthier, greener spaces in the city.
Photos from Mani Pajares.