Tips for growing your own food at home

Tags: Food

Author: Juliette Caillé

Make the best out of endless resources

It is enjoyable to have some plant company in our small kitchens. Especially when you made them grow from the beginning! This section here doesn’t ask you to start intensive gardening; as a student, you might not even have access to a garden of your own. Instead, the goal of this article is to show tips for growing your own food directly at home, from the food you eat.

You can easily buy plants, like coriander, chives, basil, mint…even rocket salad in your local grocery store in Tampere, like in Lidl or K-market. Unfortunately, those type of plants usually don’t last long, they quickly wilt, and a lot of the plant ends up in the biowaste bin. It might be difficult to know how and where the plants were grown before arriving at the stores. The best is to find organic plants, to stay away from pesticides for the sake of your own health as well as the Earth’s health.

A wonderful concept comes on scene: vegetative propagation, where even a small piece of the parent plant can be used to grow a whole new one. It is an easy growing method for small spaces, such as student’s accommodations and it’s effortlessly to do. Once you have your plant (it can be a herb or vegetable), don’t throw away the parts, like roots or stems, you won’t eat. You might be dealing with a plant that you can reproduce by using propagation! This means you can actually keep these scraps and with the right care, it will grow, on its own, indefinitely. Isn’t it the ultimate principle of a sustainable and resilient lifestyle?! Additionally, it’s a great way to save money!

The point is you don’t need to have a garden to grow your own food! Of course, you might not be able to get zucchinis or potatoes directly into your student’ small kitchen. But it can be surprising how much you can get out of your every-day-life kitchen plants.

Let’s use a few examples. But don’t hesitate to dig deeper on the internet; you can find plenty of tips about how to grow plants inside a small flat.

1. Keep the bottom part of the leek you would usually throw away. Put it in a small recipient and add water to cover the white roots. Place it near a window, with light. It will rapidly grow, forming a new stem.
2. The exact same process is possible for lettuce salad, using the bottom part and placing it into water. After a few days, you can observe baby leaves!
3. 3. You can also grow some aromatic herbs from cuttings, like basil, thyme and mint. Remove the bottom leaves from the branch and keep some leaves at the upper part. Place it into water and repot it into soil once new roots are developed.

(Picture 1) Leek, baby lettuce leaves and mint growing.
Samples from the author’s gardening experiences collection © J. Caillé