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No-Waste Kitchen Gardening by Katie Elzer-Peters

Have you have ever looked at sprouting garlic or onions or kumara with micro-shoots and been disgusted that these have now gone to waste? Perhaps you have devoured a perfect piece of fruit or an heirloom vegetable you’d love to be able to grow again and again. Now you can.

Katie Elzer-Peters shows how it is not only possible, but possibly ridiculously easy, to grow your own from the discarded parts of everyday fruit and vegetables. Not only will this save you money, it will also save you time. And it may even save the planet, little by little.

Food scraps in the waste stream create methane gas which leaks from our waste dumps. This should be avoided at all costs. And you could compost, get a worm farm or dig your scraps into the garden soil directly.

Or you could grow that piece of celery you shaved off. That bit you always throw away… Or maybe you’d like to learn how to clean and dry tomato seeds to re-plant; regrow carrots and radishes from the discarded tops; or even grow your own garlic, onions, leeks or microgreens.

Elzer-Peters shows us how to grow attractive avocados, kooky pineapples and even those superfoods like ginger and turmeric from scraps. Since reading her book, I have been doing my own experiments and now have ginger and kumara seedlings underway.

The kitchen is looking like a greenhouse. But at least it’s not contributing to greenhouse gases. And if all fails, I’ll pop my failed science experiments into the compost.

I think this marvellous book would make a great little gift for a family bent on doing their bit to save the planet. It will inspire a whole lot more fun than yelling at the kids that it’s their turn to take out the trash.

Reviewer: Peta Stavelli

Allen and Unwin $29.99