A few month’s ago I saw a picture of romaine lettuce that someone had regrown from the heart of a stalk. Normally this is the tart piece we toss into the garbage, or if you have one, into your compost. I tried it. I took a heart and placed it into a little bit of water. A few days later from the centre, new leaves began to sprout. Then I thought about all the vegetables that have hearts…Cabbages (all sorts of them), swiss chard, all the lettuces, brussels sprouts etc. Over the next few days, either through my own purchase or from friends, I ended up accumulating a few romaine hearts, bok choy and celery. I placed the hearts into a tray, set it on the windowsill and waited. Within a week everything began to sprout. But my sprouts only grew so much.
Through trial and error I have learned a few things. I think the reason for the stunted growth is the sill itself. Even though I ended up placing a see-through cover on top of the hearts, the sill was drafty. My house is nearly one hundred years old and when it gets to 20 degrees celsius below 0 out, it whistles an unhappy tune.
The other lesson learned is dealing with rot. While living plant cells remain in the centre, the outer surface of the heart is dead. So sitting in water promotes rot, especially when it gets warm. The trick is to stay ahead of the game by changing the water often and washing the stalks under the tap once in a while. Sometimes the rot will occur up the centre, especially in the lettuces. Again simply wash it away.
Now a few weeks later some remarkable things are happening. The celery has grown roots and the the romaine has branched off. I think if I am to get my zombie plants to mature I need to plant them in soil. This is what I plan on doing next.
I realize growth regrowth gardening isn’t a new thing. Plants like potatoes and carrots sprout roots without any help. However, imagine if this could be developed into something that would reduced the 100 mile diet down to zero! Or that instead of composting everything, communities would set up regrowth greenhouses. We all know that eradicating hunger is possible. Perhaps regrowth gardening is one solution.