I was too quick to dismiss the ubiquitous kitchen scrap gardens I’ve seen growing. With some amount of sheepishness, I admit that being urged to grow fresh celery from a spent bunch by every lifestyle site on God’s green internet, did the opposite of inspire me to try my own. Scallions on the windowsill? I harbored a grumpy and utterly unfounded suspicion of them. Yes, having a fresh harvest of scallions at the ready for slicing into salads and folding into omelets sounded lovely, but could they really produce on a shady north-facing window? Watching lettuce re-sprout might be nice for the preschool set, I thought, but it couldn’t be something an adult person could reasonably rely on for entertainment, to say nothing of sustenance.
Jaded by too many weeks stuck inside, or too little sleep, I’m quite sure I described these scrap gardens as twee and harrumphed out loud at the sight of them.
I guess I forgot that I love twee things. Caring for small glass jars of growing green things in the springtime is both a blessing and a balm. Planting only for the sake of watching something new spring to life is reason enough to give it a go, productivity be damned.
The internet doesn’t need another story on growing new vegetables from kitchen scraps, but I did. So what if there’s only a sandwich’s worth of lettuce to show for the two weeks of watching the plant regrow? Who cares if the scallions are slightly on the skimpy side. They’re here. And skimpy has always kind of been my bag. There’s so much that feels stuck in place right now, it’s a relief to watch something, even very small things, take shape.
A week ago I rekindled my microgreen attempts following Chelsea Fuss’s method—planting the seeds in a cardboard egg carton and letting them germinate covered for a few days. They’ve been thriving, even on this north-facing sill. We’re hoping to harvest at the end of the week, which will give Silas something productive to do with scissors that doesn’t involve taking them to his own head.
When I finally make that sandwich it’s going to be glorious. And if improbably it’s not, so be it. For the slim cost of exactly nothing, I grew fresh lettuce leaves. From the roots of my scallions I grew more. For the cost of a cup of soil and a handful of seeds, I have an egg carton full of shoots for eating.
+ Remove the bottom 3-inches or so of the root end of your lettuce head, scallions, celery, et cetera.
+ Choose a small vessel that allows you to submerge the root end in fresh water and allows the top of the vegetable to rest on the rim. (If you don’t have a vessel with a narrow opening, you can use toothpicks to help keep the lettuce head above water.)
+ Change the water daily to maintain freshness, place in a bright windowsill, and you’ll start to see regrowth in just a few days. (If the outer leaves that are submerged begin to get slimy or shriveled, remove them carefully when you change the water. Rinse scallion roots if they get slimy or begin to cloud the water.)
+ Watch Chelsea’s sweet video explaining her method for growing microgreens.
For the curious:
My ceramic tray was made by Tracie Hervy and was a gift from Bloomist.
My mircogreens are sitting in an old galvanized tool tray.
I ordered my microgreen seeds directly from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.