Indoor Garden
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How to grow a herb and vegetable garden from your kitchen scraps

It's really easy to start your own little supply of avocado, basil, ginger, lettuce and more


With the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and Tokyo's current state of emergency, we're all spending more time at home, and that means more home-cooked meals using groceries delivered straight to your door. If you've ever wanted to try gardening, but weren't sure where to begin, look no further than your own kitchen scraps. That's right – even the tiniest Tokyo apartments can be home to your very own little vegetable patch.

All of these seeds and scraps can begin forming roots if left in water or on damp paper towels, so you don't even need any soil to begin with. Regrowing veggies from the parts you don’t use isn't just a way to reduce waste, it can also save you another trip to the shops. So keep that empty tin you were about to toss and plant some basil stalks in it instead. 

Lemon seeds 

You know what they say: when life gives you lemons, you should pick out a few seeds, carefully rinse them under the tap and gently peel off their outer skins. Moisten a paper towel, then fold the seeds inside it and store them in clip-seal bag in a dark place, like under the kitchen sink. Check on the seeds every few days and keep the paper towel damp. You should see sprouts in about two weeks.


Avocado pits

Avocados can be expensive in Japan, so get your money's worth by growing some of your own. Take care when cutting into the avocado not to scrape the pit. Remove and gently rinse the pit before drying and insert three toothpicks so that it can sit on top of a glass or jar. The jar should be filled to the brim with water, submerging the bottom of the pit. Once the seed splits open and roots start to form, it's time to get planting.

Basil stalks

If the basil you buy comes with stalks, you can use it to propagate your own basil plant. Take a three-inch sprig of basil and remove the bottom leaves. Sit it in a glass of water and wait for roots to grow over a few weeks. Who knows? Before long you might grow enough to have your own stall at the Farmers Market at UNU!


Ginger rhizomes

Take your store-bought ginger and soak it in a bowl of water. You should change the water every few days until you see the ginger forming roots. You only need to plant the part the roots are growing out of, so you can cut that off and use the rest of the ginger for your cooking or tea.


Lettuce stumps 

If you've ever wondered what to do with that last bit of lettuce, why not plant it? When you've finished with your lettuce, make sure to leave about two inches of stump. Place it in a half-inch deep bowl of water, replacing the water daily. You can continue to grow your lettuce using just water – no soil needed. This method works well with a number of other veggies too, from spring onions and celery to beetroot and carrots!


More things to do at home 

Re-create your favourite café drinks

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