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Kitchen Magic

Did you know you can grow vegetables from what's in your fridge or pantry?

Published April 15, 2020

Lettuce Growing from Waste Piece

Think you can turn trash into treasure? Make something from nothing? Now is a great time to make magic happen in your kitchen. Try growing vegetables from what's in your fridge or pantry. We'll teach you a few tricks.

Green Thumbs Up

Growing an Onion from Cutoffs Collage

Believe it or not, you can grow new vegetables from plenty of grocery store staples, like celery, lettuce and green onions. If you have green onions in your fridge, cut off and use the green tops, but put the white bulb root-end down in water or soil and set in a sunny window. Change the water or water the plant every few days. The green part will grow back quickly; you should have enough to cut off and use in about two weeks. Nachos anyone?

One Potato, Two Potato

Growing Potatoes from Scraps

You can also try growing potatoes from a potato in your kitchen. (Experts advise that it's best to use organic potatoes that haven't been treated with sprout inhibitors to extend shelf life.) If your potato doesn't already have sprouts on it, put it in a cool, dark, out-of-the-way place, like under the sink or in the basement. Check it after about two weeks to see if sprouts have started to grow. Each sprout—also called an eye—can grow into its own plant, so cut the potatoes into 2-inch pieces with one or two eyes in each. Give the cut pieces a few days to dry out before planting. Potatoes will grow outside in a garden or in a container. Pots work, but so do buckets and storage bins that hold 2-3 gallons. Just make sure that your container has drainage holes at the bottom to let excess water out. Potato plants prefer full sun. Good luck!

Beans in a Bag

Soak a few uncooked dried beans overnight. The next day, place them in a clear zip-top bag along with a damp, folded paper towel. Put the beans inside the bag, on the same side of the folded paper towel, making sure they aren't sitting in water. Seal the bag most of the way, but leave it slightly open. Tape the bag to a bright but not-too-sunny window (with the beans facing in so you can see them) and watch them grow! Once the beans have sprouted, transplant them outside so they can keep growing.

If you're looking for creative ways to fill these at-home days, we have some kid-friendly, National Aquarium-approved ideas for crafts and activities that use upcycled and recycled materials. Find more craft ideas and other fun Aquarium activities at aqua.org/activities.

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