Whenever I’m buying carrots and beets I make sure some amount of the top stalks are there, the larger area the better, and it doesn’t seem to matter if they are old or dried out.
I clip the stalks down to a 1/4 inch long and then cut about 1/2 inch of the beet or carrot top itself.
The carrot tops are then put in any shallow container – I use old plastic lids and a salvaged glass microwave turntable- and water added to just below the stalk growth. Situate anywhere in bright, indirect sunlight (mine are on the sill above the kitchen sink) and replace any evaporated water every other day or as needed.
The new green stalk growth appears in 2-3 days and I start harvesting after about a week.
Beet tops I put in plain old soil in a 6″ pot or in any larger planter that has empty space on my patio. In about a week the new stalk and leaves sprout. I live in a warm climate ( 78F average ) and find the amount of stalks prolific, about 12-15 per beet top. I save the water from most steamed and cooked foods like spinach, broccoli, etc. and pasta, squashes and the like to add in with the regular gardening water, believing it adds some nutrients too.
The young, tender shoots from both veggies taste great in our salads and the rabbits really love the older ones.
I hope this works for you as well, in small spaces close to the kitchen and kids enjoy and can personally adopt this project. Simpler, healthier eating to ya’ll!
Note: This article was an entry in our October – December 2014 writing contest. Click here to find out about our current writing contest.