How to Grow Your Own Vegetables Using Only Household Waste

How to Grow Your Own Vegetables Using Only Household Waste

How to Grow Your Own Vegetables Using Only Household Waste

Growing your own vegetables is a rewarding way to save money on groceries while enjoying fresh, homegrown produce. With a bit of creativity, you can grow vegetables at home using common household items that would otherwise be thrown away. This guide will show you how to recycle household waste into plant food and materials to grow a bountiful vegetable garden.

Selecting Vegetable Varieties to Grow

When deciding which vegetables to grow, opt for varieties that are relatively easy to cultivate and productive. Good options for beginner gardeners using household waste include:

  • Leafy greens – Lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, etc. Grow quickly and require little space.

  • Root vegetables – Carrots, radishes, beets. Can grow in shallow containers.

  • Vine crops – Cucumbers, peas, beans. Grow well vertically on trellises made from household materials.

  • Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes produce heavily. Grow well in containers and hanging buckets.

  • Herbs – Basil, parsley, cilantro. Very productive in small pots.

  • Potatoes – Grow well in containers, old buckets, or burlap sacks filled with compost.

Focus on 2-3 productive veggie varieties suited to your space and climate. Seeds can be sourced inexpensively from nurseries or seed catalogues.

Making Your Own Potting Mix from Household Waste

Store-bought potting soil can be expensive. With a little effort, you can make your own quality potting mix using household food/yard waste.

  • Use compost made from food scraps, leaves, grass clippings etc. Compost adds key nutrients.

  • Blend compost with coconut coir or shredded paper/cardboard for moisture retention.

  • Add perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage and aeration.

  • Mix in used coffee grounds and crushed eggshells – they contain calcium, nitrogen and other minerals.

  • For seed starting mixes, more vermiculite/perlite is needed to keep the mix loose and airy.

Experiment with different homemade mixes to find one that performs well for your plants. Test drainage and adjust ratios as needed.

Repurposing Household Items as Planting Containers

Many types of household “waste” can be repurposed into functional and unique planting containers for vegetables. Here are some ideas:

  • Plastic buckets, bins, bottles – Drill drainage holes in the bottom. Paint/decorate as desired.

  • Old laundry baskets – Line with burlap sacks or plastic trash bags with drainage holes poked in the bottom.

  • Used kitchen pots and pans – Shallow pans work well for herbs and greens.

  • Glass jars or vases – Use for small herbs like parsley or basil.

  • Hanging planters made from nylon stockings, mesh bags, or sachets can work for tomato and cucumber plants.

  • Bathtubs and sinks – For larger root crops like potatoes and carrots. Drill holes for drainage.

Get creative with unique containers you have around the house. Just ensure they have adequate drainage!

Providing Support Structures from Household Materials

Many vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and beans need physical support structures they can climb on as they grow. Some handy household support solutions:

  • Old kitchen utensils – Wooden spoons, spatulas, ladles stuck upright in pots make great supports for vining tomatoes and pole beans.

  • Plastic mesh bags – Onion/potato bags, berry cartons, mesh pouches make perfect reusable trellises and supports.

  • Wire fencing or grilles – Old oven racks, wire fencing can be positioned around containers to support plants.

  • Nylon or fabric strips – Old pantyhose, T-shirts, rags can be tied to supports to give tendrils something to grab.

Get creative reusingplastic, wood or metal household objects as plant supports. Ensure supports are secured firmly and check frequently as plants grow.

Converting Leftover Food Waste into Fertilizer

Nutrient-rich fertilizers can be made right at home by repurposing food waste:

  • Coffee grounds – High in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium. Sprinkle around plants monthly.

  • Crushed eggshells – Provide calcium and help deter pests. Work into soil monthly.

  • Rotten/overripe fruit – Blend and strain juice to make fertile “compost tea.” Use to fertilize monthly.

  • Banana peels – High in potassium and magnesium. Bury peels around plants or add to compost.

  • Seafood shells/waste – Crush shells, bury fish waste to provide calcium and chitin.

Refrain from using meats, fats or dairy which can harbor pathogens. Use plant-based kitchen scraps only.

Get Growing!

With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, it’s easy to grow bountiful vegetables at home with reused household items and food waste. Try making your own potting mix and fertilizers. Repurpose plastic, glass and metal containers. Use scraps to make hanging planters, trellises and other supports. Your plants will thrive with these eco-friendly, cost-effective growing methods.