DIY,  Thrift

Forget About These Three Root Vegetables

Here are three root vegetables that are super easy to grow…from your kitchen scraps. That’s an investment of zero dollars to get this project started. Literally you can plant them and forget about them, but with a little care you can have a bumper crop of garlic or potatoes, maybe even onions.

Remember that onion that was growing on my counter? Well, like most of my onion, garlic and potato scraps, I planted it in the yard and promptly forgot about it. Several months later, after a very long, cold, wet spring, I dug this up:

Four new onions from my one original “ruined” growing onion.

Seven onions grown from two onion tails.

You probably aren’t going to grow a bumper crop if you only plant the onion tails when they are already going green. What if you plant all the onion tails? Assuming they grow (increase the chance of that by sticking the tail in some water until it sprouts) and each one produces 1-4 onions (as has been the case with my onions) you could eventually cut down on the number of onions you have to buy at the store. Onions are more of a warm weather plant so they only really grow in the spring/summer/fall, but they will overwinter here on cape cod.

Happy transplanted onions

We go through about 2-10 onions in two weeks. Though onions are pretty cheap, we buy organic and live on cape cod, so those are about $4 for a 3lb bag (4-5 large onions).  So if we buy a bag every other week, we spend about $104/year on onions. I just planted 7 baby onions and saved myself between $4 and $8. You could also buy seed onions or onion seeds, but I can tell you I have had no luck with either of those methods.

However, I’ve had great success with garlic. I spent most of this morning thinning these out and transplanting the smalls ones somewhere they will have room to grow bigger.

Tiny baby garlic bulbs

I plant any garlic that is growing in the pantry out in the back garden. They don’t spread around, but they seem to regrow themselves sometimes from the leftover roots after harvest.  After forgetting about them for several months, I noticed these little sprouts had started coming up all over where the garlic had been. I just dig up the sprout clumps and transplant them to a location where they have more room to grow so they become nice big heads of garlic.

Potatoes are easy to forget about…and then they grow in the pantry, so why wouldn’t they grow in the ground? I cut off the eyes and plant them all over in spring and summer. They key is to put them somewhere you will be able to add dirt. Potatoes are roots of the plant so as they grow taller, if you bury the lower half of the plant (leave about 6 inches above ground) they will grow more roots and you will get more potatoes. This is another plant that will regrow itself after harvest from leftover root pieces. I have potatoes growing in the back garden from when I planted them 4 years ago.

I’ve been planting the eyes off my organic potatoes since February. They started growing when it got to be a little warm and they really took off just this past week with the warm weather.

Potato bags. At the beginning of the spring, I roll them down and add potatoes and dirt. As the potatoes grow I add dirt and roll the bag up. At the end of the season I dump the whole bag. No dig potatoes. I made my bags out of weed barrier fabric.

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