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It’s natural that not being able to go to the grocery store as often has piqued people’s interest in growing their own food. It can be an intimidating learning curve, but one of the easiest ways to start learning and appreciating how food grows is to regrow your own scraps.

There’s no overhead since you were probably going to toss the scraps anyway, so you have nothing to lose. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s great fun for both adults and kids.

Some common vegetables and herbs that can be regrown from scraps are potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, celery, bulb fennel, carrots, turnips, parsnips and other root vegetables, lettuce, bok choy and other leafy greens, cabbages, basil, mint, cilantro and other herbs.

Not everything will sprout, so if you see no changes after a week go ahead and restart with a fresh scrap. For the most part, vegetables of the same category use the same regrowing methods.

Some root vegetables can regrow from scraps, but for the most part root vegetables will only regrow their greens which can be used in a wide variety of dishes. This includes crops like carrots, beets, turnips, radishes and daikon. For these vegetables, take about 1 inch from the top of the root and place the cut end in a dish with very shallow water – make sure the scrap is not submerged. Place it in a sunny area and change the water every other day. Once they sprout, the tops can be planted in dirt.

Other root vegetables that can be totally regrown from scraps are potatoes, sweet potatoes and ginger. Potatoes can be cut in half (make sure each half has at last one or two eyes) and left out overnight until they are dry to the touch. Plant them about a foot apart in a pot at least 8 inches deep. To regrow ginger, pull off a fresh chunk and soak it in water overnight. Plant the ginger with eye bud pointing up and cover it with 1-2 inches of soil. For both potatoes and ginger, place the pots in a sunny area and keep the soil moist (but not soggy otherwise the plants will rot). These require a bit more patience so give these plants about 2-3 weeks to grow sprouts.

Regrow leafy greens and celery by taking the bottom inch of the plant and placing in a dish with shallow water – again, don’t let the plant become submerged or it will likely just rot. Put the dish in a sunny area and change the water every other day. Once you see new growth, feel free to plant it in soil.

Use the same approach for the bottom inch of green onions, leeks or scallions. These plants can stay in water or be planted in soil. If you have old garlic that has begun to sprout new growth, you can grow the sprouts (also called garlic greens) in the same fashion but just make sure the water covers the whole bulb.

To regrow herbs, take a few stems and strip them of leaves, leaving a few leaves at the top. Place the stems in a jar of water in a way that keeps the top leaves from becoming submerged – narrow neck bottles are great for this. Keep them in a sunny area, but be wary of the jar becoming too hot. Change the water every few days and once the roots grow to be about 2 inches long, they can be transferred to soil. A 4-inch pot is a great size for an indoor herb plant. Keep it in an area that gets at least six hours of sun.

Brain train

Test your knowledge with today’s trivia question

What year was the first TED conference held?

Thursday’s answer: saffron

Health check

Since quarantine is all in effort to keep ourselves healthy, why not give your immune system a boost while you’re at it?

Zinc is a great trace mineral to help the immune system work properly.

Zinc aids in cell division and growth, healing wounds and breaking down carbohydrates. It also is needed for our sense of taste and smell. It’s known for its ability to help ease a common cold.

There are some foods that are rich in zinc, meaning you don’t necessarily have to take a supplement to make sure you have enough of it in your diet. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine the recommended daily amount for healthy adults is 11 milligrams for males and 8 milligrams for females.

Oysters have a whopping 74 milligrams of zinc in a 3-ounce serving. Crab and lobster also have high amounts at 6.5 and 3.4 milligrams per 3-ounce serving. Beef chuck roast has 7 milligrams in 3 ounces.

Some great vegan sources of zinc are chickpeas and cashews. Chickpeas have 1 milligram of zinc per 1/2 cup. One of the easiest ways to eat it is in hummus, which can be put on breads or eaten with chopped vegetables.

Cashews have 1.6 milligrams per ounce. They’re great for snacking or can be used as a substitute for cream in vegan recipes by being soaked and blended with water.

Hemp seeds, lentils, yogurt, pork chops, beans and chicken all have good amounts of zinc as well.

Other minerals and vitamins that help boost your immune system and increase productivity include:

Vitamin C: (citrus fruits, spinach and bell peppers)

Vitamin E: (bananas, chickpeas and chicken breast)

Vitamin A: (squash, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe)

Vitamin D: (fatty fish and orange juice)

Iron: (lean poultry and seafood)

Selenium: (garlic, broccoli and tuna)

Motivation

Everyone knows TED talks are great for when you need a bit of inspiration. Here are a few to help motivate you while working from home, all available on the TED YouTube channel.

“Why working from home is good for business” with Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic. Mullenweg reveals the lessons he’s learned over the years by having over 900 remote employees.

“10 ways to have a better conversation” with public radio journalist Celeste Headlee. Her job literally demands that Headlee maintains engaging conversation during a remote interview, so let her give you some tips.

“Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” with blogger Tim Urban. Procrastinators, you know who you are. The good news is you’re not alone. Urban explains how he got a handle on his own laziness and tackled his habit of procrastinating.

“Confessions of a recovering micromanager” with Chieh Huang, CEO and co-founder of Boxed.com. He spills the ill effects his addition to micromanaging had on his team and how he conquered his need to always hover over his employees’ shoulders.

Also: “The psychology of positivity” with Shawn Achor and “Your elusive creative genius” with Elizabeth Gilbert.

Water cooler: Variety of herbs, veggies can be started from scraps
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