We’ve all tossed out leftover veggie scraps, thinking they’re done for, but did you know many common foods can actually regrow from scraps?
My kitchen has turned into an experimental garden of sorts as I’ve (and my husband at times) tried to regrow everything from lettuce to celery with pretty good success. It turns out it’s easy, saves money, and makes for a fun project.
Before you throw out those leftover bits of carrots, cabbage, and onions, give regrowing a shot. With a little patience and the right conditions, you’ll be harvesting homegrown veggies from your countertop scraps in no time.
Read on to find out which foods you can regrow from scraps (plant parts or seeds).
Vegetables You Can Regrow From Scraps
We all hate wasting food, so why not give some common veggie scraps a second life by regrowing them? Below is a list of vegetables you can grow from scraps:
- Bok choy
- Spring onion
- Sweet potatoes
- Peppers (seeds)
- Tomato (seeds)
Growing Carrots from Scraps
Look for carrots with the green tops still attached. Avoid carrots that look dried out or limp. The fresher the tops, the better your chances of regrowing.
Next, place the tops in a shallow dish with a little water. Make sure the cut part that was attached to the carrot is submerged.
Put the dish in a spot with filtered light and moderate temperatures. After a few days or so, you should notice new green shoots sprouting from the tops and roots forming.
Once a good root system has formed, it’s time to plant your carrot tops in the soil. Bury the entire top and roots in a pot with well-draining, loose soil. You can also place it directly outside in a garden bed.
Beets are easy to regrow from scraps. All you need is the root end with some of the greens still attached.
We cut off the beet greens, leaving about an inch of the stems attached to the root end. Next, we placed the root ends in a jar with a little water and the greens facing up. Soon, new greens started sprouting from the top.
We start by cutting an Irish potato (white potato) into chunks that each have an “eye”—that’s the bud that the plant sprouts from. Let the chunks sit out for a day or two until the cut sides dry and callus over.
Next, we plant the chunks in garden soil, burying them about an inch deep with the eye facing up. We also keep the soil moderately moist.
We started seeing potato plants in about a week.
Growing Sweet Potatoes from Scraps
We’ve all tossed sweet potato scraps in the compost without a second thought. However, did you know you can actually regrow an entire sweet potato plant from them?
My family has been able to propagate new sweet potato vines from scraps, and it’s become a fun gardening project.
To regrow your own sweet potatoes, select a plump, healthy sweet potato. Next, cut the potato into wedges, making sure each piece has at least two eyes or buds.
Now allow the cut surfaces to dry out overnight.
Bury each wedge about an inch deep in garden soil with the eyes facing up. Water the soil regularly to keep it consistently damp.
Lettuce is one of the easiest veggies to regrow. All you need is the base of a romaine or any lettuce that still has its stem.
Place it in a shallow dish with a little water, and wait. In a few days, you’ll notice new leaves sprouting.
Once the roots start showing, you can plant your lettuce in the soil. Bury the roots, but keep the top few leaves above the soil. Place it in a spot with indirect light, and keep the soil moist.
Fruits You Can Grow From Scraps
Many common fruits can be regrown from the scraps and seeds you normally throw out.
Below is a list of some of them. Most of these will regrow from seeds that you would either discard or otherwise eat.
- Citrus (seeds)
- Pineapple (top)
- Pumpkin (seeds)
- Strawberries (seeds)
- Avocado (seed)
- Melon (seeds)
- Mango (seed)
- Winter squash (seeds)
Growing pineapples from scraps is something we’ve tried and had great success with. All you need is the leftover crown from a pineapple.
Once you’ve cut the crown off about an inch below the leaves, let it sit for a few days so the end can dry out and callus over. This helps prevent it from rotting when you plant it.
Next, place the crown in some water and put it where it gets sunlight. Now wait until it establishes roots. After that, you can plant it in the soil and keep the soil moist.
Now the key is patience. It can take up to 3 years for your pineapple plant to produce fruit .
Herbs You Can Regrow From Scraps
Here are some of our favorite herbs that will thrive with a second chance at life:
- Lemon balm
Growing Cilantro From Scraps
To regrow cilantro, take a few fresh stems and place them in water. Next, place the container where it can get some sunlight.
Add water as the days go by. In a few days, you’ll notice roots appearing.
When the plants are about three inches tall, transfer them to soil in a pot or in the outdoor garden.
Growing Celery from Scraps
Growing celery from scraps is an easy way to get free celery without having to buy an entire bunch from the store. All you need is the base of the celery stalk with the roots still attached.
We like to save the base of the celery after chopping the rest of the stalks. Make sure at least an inch or two of the stalk remains below the roots.
Next, place the base in a shallow dish with about an inch of water in the bottom. Also, change the water every few days to keep it fresh.
Within a week or so, you’ll start to see new leaves sprouting from the center. After another week, you can plant the celery base in the soil.
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to regrow from scraps.
We took a fresh stem and removed the lower leaves. Next, we placed the stem in a jar of water in a spot that received some indirect light.
We also changed the water every few days, and within 9 days, roots started to form. Once the roots were an inch or two long, we planted the new plant in the soil in a pot.
These are some of our favorite foods that you can easily regrow from leftovers right in your own home. Give them a try. You’ll be amazed at how much food you can produce from scraps that would otherwise end up in the compost or trash.
And, of course, growing your own food is rewarding in so many ways. Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor, but you also get the satisfaction of doing something good for the environment.
Happy planting and happy eating! We’d love to hear about your experiences regrowing plants from scraps. Let us know in the comments which crops you’ve had success with and any tips you can share.