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Ways to reduce waste; turn food scraps into gardens By Marlo von der ahe '20

As quarantine continues due to the coronavirus, people are finding themselves going through a greater amount of food per week. This can increase the amount of food waste a family produces. One way to limit this waste is by creating composts and regrowing your food. This is very simple and takes only a few steps to complete.

Also, growing your own vegetables can be very beneficial. According to UNH.edu, “Regrowing your own food allows you to stay active, get vitamin D, save money [and it’s] better for the environment.”

This is one of the first stages of the garden.

The first step of this process is starting to be more observant of your waste. People get so used to eating and throwing away food, that being more creative with your waste can take some adjusting. So instead of throwing away the old onion, you can actually put it in water. Place the root in the water. Leave it on a table in your house where it can get sunlight and change the water daily.

Put the onion in water to grow the roots.

After a couple of weeks of the onion sitting in the water, white roots will start to grow out of the part of the onion in the water. The onion will also have a little stem growing out of the top. That means it is ready for planting. You can see the white roots coming out of this garlic I am growing and the root coming out of my onion.

These are what the roots look like after a being in the water.

According to Almanac.com, “For most crops, you should start seeds indoors about 6–8 weeks before your last spring frost date.” That same process applies to the roots of your store bought foods. They can sit in water for multiple weeks, slowly growing roots before you have to plant them.

For planting, make sure you have the correct soil. For my garden bed resting on the ground, I use premium top soil.

And, with your other food scraps that aren’t roots (like the peel of an onion), you can make a compost out of those. I took five slabs of wood that were not being used in my house, and made a box with a top. I take my familles food scraps and put them in there. With oxidation, daily watering and moving the food around each week, that will turn into nutritious soil for your garden after a couple of months.

This is my compost where all of my families food scraps go.

Emmy Bassler ’21 picked up composting during this quarantine. “I don't have a professional composting system or anything,” Bassler ’21 said. “But, at the end of each week, I compile all of my family's food scraps, and put it in a bin. Hopefully, in a little bit of time, it will start to decompose.”

If you need any extra information about starting a compost or planting your food scraps, I suggest watching Ron Finley’s Masterclass. According to Masterclass.com, Finley talks about “social action and the unifying power of gardens...Learn how to grow your own food in community activist Ron Finley’s MasterClass.”

All photos taken by Marlo Von der Ahe '20