Like everyone else who plunks down hard-earned money for organic produce, I want to get the most from my purchase. I use the calendar on my Tablet to plan meals in order to reduce waste, carefully wash and repackage fruits and vegetables so that they last longer, and I wrap the stems of each individual banana with plastic wrap. See? I’m really trying here! So when I found out that I could plant kitchen scraps right in my aquaponics systems, I was happier than a hen in a locust swarm. Here’s how:
Food is expensive. Period. There are many ways of stretching out your produce and I’ve tried a bunch of them. I made broth from scraps and soups from leftovers, yet a lot of the produce ended up in the compost bucket. This frustrated me to no end. We are saving for our retirement farm, after all, and groceries make up a huge hunk of each paycheck (after mortgage, insurance, etc.) so anything I can do to whittle down that bill is… well… money. (Insert Trent from Swingers: “You’re so money, baby, and you don’t even know it.”). This simple method of growing more groceries from kitchen scraps makes perfect sense and it’s so easy that you’ll kick yourself for not do it before now.
Of course, you don’t need an aquaponics system for this to work. You can simply set the base of your celery/lettuce in a bowl of water and spray them with water every so often (be sure the bowl is in a sunny spot). Once they have roots, you can relocate them to your garden or patio planters. With aquaponics, there’s no need for the bowls of water or waiting to transplant. Instead, you can simply place the cuttings directly into the growing media and walk away.
To give you an idea of how long it takes for sprouting in our aquaponics system, I planted and photographed a Romaine lettuce scrap on the 29th of July.
Here it is on the 3rd of August with several sprouted leaves and a great amount of growth:
Just think, that would have gone in the compost pile and now it’s regenerated! This works with bean sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, celery, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lettuce, mushrooms (from the stalk), and onions. Carrots, parsnips, turnips, and radishes may be started using the tops.
Now, I leave you with this picture from my Saturday morning hike with Caleb. Enjoy!