Friday, April 12, 2013
Sustainable Pin: Regrowing Romaine
You can regrown romaine lettuce by sticking the unused root end into some dirt.
Now, I know that regrowing some vegetables is not a shocking idea. I've already hoed this ground, so to speak, when I talked about regrowing green onions. But most of the regrowing-from-compost-leavings ideas involve veggies that are typically used in small quantities, like onion tops and celery (I have to try that one...). This, however, is actual food.
Now, I'm excited for myself because I pretty much just jammed a couple of the bottom ends of romaine hearts into some moistened dirt in a pot in the sun room after Easter dinner, and about 10 days later I had some small, but legitimate, leaves. Along with the mustard and spinach that are growing in the sun room, this is going to make for a tasty side salad this weekend. (My romaine is larger than the picture shows, and I'll only take a leaf or two at first.) But I think the implications go much farther.
This is the tip for every person who says they can't garden because they have no land, or they can't bend or reach, or they don't have a green thumb. This is the tip for everyone who lives in a city apartment without any outdoor space who wonders what can ever be done on just a window sill.
This is the tip for every food pantry lucky enough to be able to hand out fresh greens; in fact, I call on someone to find those food pantries, and make sure they are stocked this spring with recycled plastic pots filled with potting mix. Tell your patrons to take that romaine home, make a salad for dinner that night, and then jam that end into the dirt, water it, and put it in a sunny window. Soon it will regrow.
Will it single handedly solve anyone's food or poverty crisis? No. Will it provide enough veggies for a family every day? No. Will it substantially reduce food transportation costs by allowing everyone to grow everything at home? No.
But what it will do is put a leaf or two of lettuce on a sandwich where there is none currently. It will save a few cents off the grocery bill in a kind of living coupon that is easy to cash. It will teach someone that they can grow their own food and be just a little bit more self-sufficient than they were yesterday. It will ignite an interest in botany, an interest in frugality, and an interest in independence.
I tell you, it may look like something for the compost pile, but I promise, this can be a game changer.
Fast: Let me repeat: Cut end off store bought romaine, jam into dirt, water, and leave. Doesn't get much faster than that.
Cheap: Given that the end of the romaine is otherwise headed for the compost, every leaf I harvest is pure, if small, profit.
Good: I love tips like this, because they are a great way to foster the values of sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Posted by Jennifer Lorenzetti at 4:35 PM