5 foods you can grow straight from your kitchen pantry

July 12, 2017 5 min read

5 foods you can grow straight from your kitchen pantry

Growing food from kitchen scraps is not only incredibly easy, but also offers you the opportunity to take control of your food, while helping to save the planet at the same time. Here are 5 foods you haven’t thought to grow from your kitchen pantry. Shallots (Spring Onions) Shallots would have to be one of the easiest, and hardiest kitchen plants you can grow at home and will do perfectly fine in almost any garden position. What’s more, once they grow, there is no need to dig them up, simply keep cutting the stalks off with scissors or a knife, and let the stub re-shoot. Its that simple. Use them as a replacement to onion, and you have started to replace part of your weekly shop, saving you money, and eliminating the carbon emissions from farming, transporting and storing. Steps

  1. Cut the shallots up as you normally would for cooking, making sure to keep the last portion of the stem or roots.
  2. Soak your bottom shoots in a glass of tap water and leave on your kitchen bench, or other convenient location.
  3. After 1 day, you should see the stems start to re-shoot. The stalks have now been re-hydrated and can be planted in your garden or leave them in the water for up to 2 weeks changing the water when it looks cloudy.

Potatoes If you’ve ever had a compost heap, you will know that potatoes seem to be able to spring up from literally the thin peels that we throw away from scraps. Potatoes sprout from “eyes”, which are small indentations on the surface of a mature potato tuber in which stems will grow, and of course are a staple of many meals, but with fresh home grown potatoes, those meals will be next level! So the next time your potatoes sprout from being left in the cupboard for just a little too long, don’t throw them out, plant them!. Steps

  1. Gather your potatoes that have started to sprout. (You can use un-sprouted potatoes too if you just want to grow potatoes from your pantry).
  2. If planting in a garden bed, choose a warm sunny position with well tilled soil. Loose soil will enable the roots of the potato to spread freely and easily giving a higher yield. It will also enable you to “mound” the soil on top of the potatoes as they grow, partially burying the potato leaves as it grows, increasing the yield further. If you are planting in a pot, planter (or a free cardboard box you got from the store), fill the bottom third with organic matter such as leaves, straw or compost and place your potato on top. Cover approximately 10cm deep with further organic matter such as leaves, straw, compost or good quality garden soil.
  3. As your potato sprouts and develops leaves, continue to mound, or add organic matter to partially cover the stem leaving only 1 or 2 leaves exposed. Continue this until the pot or planter is full, or until your mound is double its previous height. NOTE: If you are time poor, or just not that concerned with yield, don’t worry about mounding. When you plant, simply plant in your garden and leave to grow naturally, or if using a pot/ planter fill with organic matter/ compost and potting mix and plant potato at approximately 10cm deep.
  4. Water your potatoes sufficiently to keep the soil moist, but not saturated.
  5. Harvest after 12 weeks

Ginger Ginger is a rhizome, but is commonly referred to as ginger root, or simply ginger and it gradually spreads under the soil as it grows. Thin leafy stems grow from the rhizome to approximately 1m tall from small growth buds on the root. Use ginger in your favourite Asian cuisine, make your own ginger beer, or make your own pickled ginger perfect for sushi, it is a staple of the kitchen and has numerous well known health benefits. Steps

  1. Keep a piece of fresh ginger approximately 3-4cm long after cooking, ensuring there is at least 1 nodule on the kept piece.
  2. Soak the ginger root in a bowl of water making sure it is completely submerged (this hydrates and also washes off any potential growth inhibitor that may have been applied to it to keep it “fresh” by the supermarket).
  3. After approximately 12-24 hrs, plant the root in the garden in a warm, slightly shady position that gets plenty of water in rich soil.

Ginger grows over the warmer periods of the year, so planting is required at the start of spring. As winter approaches the leaves will die back and it is at this point you can harvest some ginger, or simply leave the rhizomes in the ground and let them re-shoot in the spring. Plant in a shady well drained rich soil, and water regularly. Chillies/ Peppers Chillies and peppers in general (including capsicum or bell pepper) like it hot and humid being native to the south Americas. Not only are peppers easy to grow, they have a lot going for them being low in calories, but high in vital nutrients such as vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fibre. The next time you cut a chilli, capsicum, or pepper , remove the seeds and consider planting them in your garden..


  1. Line a shallow bowl with paper towel and separate the seeds from the chilli/ capsicum or pepper, and lay onto the paper towel to dry.
  2. Sprinkle the seeds over the area you want to plant the seeds, or alternatively start the seeds off in a pot filled with seed raising mix. Lightly scratch the surface to bury the seeds. Water well.
  3. If you planted the seeds in a pot or seed starter, allow the plants to get to 10cm high before transplanting into their final position. Always water well after trans planting.
  4. Water when leaves start to droop, or soil appears dry. Peppers are generally reatively pest and disease resistant and should not give too much trouble

Garlic Garlic forms the base of so many of our recipes from hearty pasta dishes to delicious garlic bread, it is almost indespensible in the kitchen, and thankfully it is so easy to grow. Being a bulb, however means that you need to respect the planting times for your garlic to do well. Steps

  1. Start by separating any left over garlic cloves from the bulb.
  2. If planting in a garden bed make a furrow in the ground approximately 5cm deep, and plant cloves with pointed tips facing up approximately 30cm apart.
  3. Cover the cloves and water in well.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not wet as the garlic grows, and provide plenty of mulch around the garlic once it has sprouted.
  5. Garlic takes approximately 7 months to grow, but this can vary widely. To tell if your garlic is ready to harvest, scratch the surface at the base of your garlic plant to see the bulb. If the bulb is large and well formed with individual cloves, it is ready to be harvested. If not, leave for a while longer.

Once you harvest your garlic, you can eat it immediately, or for long term storage allow the entire garlic plant to dry out in a protected dry location for a few weeks. Once the layers surrounding the bulb go papery, cut the stalk and roots off and store in a dark dry location in your pantry.

We have done such a good job of convincing ourselves that growing food is difficult, when in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. Next time you’re cooking up a stir fry or casserole, why not keep a couple of ingredients and use them to grow the food yourself, it’s so rewarding cooking a meal from your own produce and because it’s homegrown it’s even more delicious. Tell us what have you grown straight from your kitchen in the comments below!

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