Save those store-bought veggie pieces and learn to root and grow new ones.
Here's an indoor project just right for a frigid winter day: Root and grow veggies from grocery-store scraps!
You can grow new produce from them, or at least get a jump on next year's gardening season.
Avocado and mango pits are fun to try and re-grow and you'll most likely get a tree out of it but the new plant won't ever flower or fruit. The same goes for any citrus seeds you replant.
So, if you're looking to harvest some actual fruits from your labor, try these other grocery-store items: lettuces, green onions, ginger root and lemon grass.
The simplest of these are lettuces and green onions. After you buy lettuce - like a Romaine variety - from the grocery store, chop a section three or four inches from the bottom.
Then place those chopped lettuce bottom in a glass or vase filled with a couple inches of water and leave it in a bright room.
Eventually, the lettuce will start growing new lettuce leaves from the center of the bunch.
Try this same technique with green onions, too, just don't expect to get a whole new head of lettuce or an entirely new bunch of green onions.
You can grow enough lettuce leaves to put on a sandwich or green onions to snip up and use as a garnish or to add to soups.
Though, if you want to get a jump on plantings ahead of the growing season, ginger and lemongrass are the ones to try.
Lemongrass from a grocery store that has been chopped and placed in a glass of water will re-root and grow. Just place it in a brightly lit room and once it has some roots, pot the lemongrass and let it grow indoors as a house plant till May or June.
From there, put it outside in a container and you'll have a beautiful, big lemongrass plant by the end of summer! You can harvest the leaves to use in teas or add to Thai food and cooking.
The same is true with store-bought ginger root. Just take a little knob of the root and place it in a pot with moist potting soil. Eventually, that root will send up a little ginger shoot. Put that in a container in the summertime in a hot and sunny location. And by fall you'll have some baby ginger you can harvest.
Q: Our compost bin got crushed in a storm. We need a new one to withstand the bears, mice, raccoons and other critters. Any ideas? - Naomi, in Burlington
A: If lots of different wildlife is interested in the contents of your compost bin, you might consider another kind of bin altogether.
One type that works well at keeping critters out is a hard plastic, barrel-shaped tumbler. These have a twist-on a door or lid that proves harder for a bear or a raccoon to open it up and get into the compost.
And if bears are around, they can still cause trouble by moving your compost bin and even rolling it down the road! Instead, try driving four metal stakes in the ground around your bin to secure it in place.
If mice and rats are the issue, try a bin that is elevated up off the ground with a twist-on lid.
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