Don’t throw away those old potatoes! Or those romaine lettuce ends! There are lots of foods you can regrow from scraps — it’s easy, free, and you don’t need a lot of space! Keep reading for a list of 15 plants to grow from scraps to keep fresh produce ready all year long!
I’ve never considered myself to have a green thumb. In fact, I’m pretty notorious in my family for just the opposite!
However, when my husband and I moved our family to a small homestead on 5 acres, there were three large raised bed gardens on the property already. I figured since there was already space there, it couldn’t hurt to give gardening another try.
The first thing I planted was kale — and those kale plants grew like weeds! How excited to be able to grow your own food instead of spending money on pricey kale at the grocery store!
Can You Regrow Vegetables from Scraps?
Inspired by my success with the kale, I decided to keep going with my gardening experiment. In addition to seeds and starter plants, I looked for plants to grow from scraps.
Some were pretty self explanatory, like the green onions that I planted in the space around my kale. Those were as easy as sticking the roots/bulbs in the dirt!
I also found tutorials online which gave me ideas for which kitchen scraps you can regrow. I can’t wait to grow some romaine lettuce so we can have salads all summer!
What Do You Need to Regrow Scraps into Plants?
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Since the whole point of regrowing kitchen scraps is to avoid spending a lot of money, it defeats the purpose to spend a lot on supplies.
However, you may need some things to get started:
- Potting soil or gardening soil — The soil in the ground might not be ideal or nutritious enough to grow thriving veggies. If you don’t compost and make your own soil, I’d recommend buying gardening soil to establish your garden. I watch for sales on dirt and then stock up!
- Pots — though you can recycle and upcycle any type of containers you have on hand! I made a container garden out of an old wooden wagon!
- Garden trowel and/or shovel — I love my serrated edge digger because in addition to digging and planting, I can use it to cut roots or rip open bags of soil!
15 Edible Plants to Regrow from Scraps
This is a list of foods you can regrow from scraps — things we’ve already planted successfully and a few that are on our list for the weeks ahead.
1. Green Onion
It is extremely easy to regrow green onions from scraps — you don’t need a green thumb at all!
The next time you buy a bunch of green onions, keep the bulb end after you’ve used all the stalks. Plant the bulbs in a pot or container garden so that the top of the stalk pokes out of the dirt.
Green onions grow quickly, and within a couple days you’ll see new green shoots. Once they’re about six inches long, you can simply trim the shoots as needed and leave the bulbs in the ground. They’ll keep producing green onion stalks over and over!
Unless you already have kale planted, you’ll need to start with seeds or a small planter. However, once your kale is in the ground it will keep producing leaves for months and months!
Once your kale plants are mature, clip off leaves as needed, starting with the larger leaves at the bottom of the stem. As long as you leave a handful of leaves attached near the top, your kale will keep making new ones!
Kale was the first thing I planted in our new garden, as it can be planted in the fall and actually thrives in cooler weather. With 6 plants, we have enough kale to cook at least 2-3 times a week and we’ve given family and friends bagfuls!
Regrowing leeks works just like regrowing green onions. Save bulbs with at least an inch or two of the stalk. Plant the bulbs in the ground with the stalk peeking out and they will regrow!
As you can see from the photo above, our leeks are ready to harvest!
The next time you purchase fresh basil or visit a pho restaurant, save a sprig of basil! Cut the stem, keeping a few leaves attached. Place in a jar of water to generate roots, then you can move to a planter.
To regrow garlic, you can start with individual cloves or a whole head of garlic. Simply bury the cloves under about an inch of soil and keep watered.
The garlic is ready to harvest when it starts to turn yellow.
When potatoes start to sprout, they’re no longer good to eat. But why throw them away when you can use them to grow more potatoes…for free!
To regrow potatoes, cut a sprouting potato into chunks, so that each chunk has an eye and a sprout. Plant with the eye facing up and cover with a few inches of dirt.
Keep watered and in a few weeks those potato pieces will start to sprout and grow full sized potatoes!
7. Romaine Lettuce
When you cut the leaves off a head of romaine lettuce, keep the end! You can plant this in soil, water, and it will start to regrow leaves.
Similar to kale, you can clip the leaves as needed and your romaine plant will grow more!
Since we love our regenerating kale plants so much, romaine lettuce is next one our list to try!
8. Bok Choy
Bok Choy can be regrown just like romaine lettuce!
Celery can be regrown by saving the base and placing in a cup of water until leaves sprout. At that point, you can transfer the celery plant to a pot with soil.
In a few weeks the stalks will grow taller and thicker and soon be ready to enjoy!
Like basil, cilantro can be regrown from cuttings, though not quite as easily. However, once you have a mature cilantro plant, you can cut leaves as needed and it will keep on growing!
Rosemary can be regrown by cutting a 3″ piece from a mature plant. Strip the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and plant that end in soil.
It’s recommended to start in a small planter, keeping the cuttings moist and with indirect sunlight, until the begin to take root and grow. At that point you can transplant to their final location.
The next time you cook with onions, save the bottom piece of the onion that contains the roots! This one piece of onion can be sprouted and used to re-grow two or more onions!
To grow a full-sized onion bulb can take 3-4 months. Or you can clip the greenery from the onion and use that!
13. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are grown a little differently than regular potatoes. Instead of planting the potato itself, to regrow sweet potatoes you plant the sprouts, also known as “slips.”
You can start with a sprouting sweet potato like this one:
Or you can purposely sprout your own. Place it in a jar of water to grow the slips. Once they’re about 5 inches long, twist the slips and pull them out of the potato. Now you can plant the slips in the dirt – about halfway deep.
The really cool thing is that you can keep growing countless slips from one single potato!
Regrowing ginger from scraps is easy and your ginger root will continue producing as long as you take care of it!
Simply plant a piece of ginger root in a pot with soil, water, and wait for it to sprout. After a few weeks, your ginger root will grow so that you can begin harvesting small pieces as needed.
When you’d like to get a piece of ginger, push the dirt away until the root is visible, cut a piece off, and leave the rest planted. Recover any cut area with dirt so it can regrow.
Growing up in West Virginia, we had a huge mint plant in our yard. I loved it and that was one of the first things I wanted to plant in our new home!
I bought a small mint plant from the grocery store for a couple bucks — I think it was intended for an indoor herb garden. However, in my raised beds, the mint thrived, just as I hoped!
Mint is a fairly easy plant to grow and spreads quickly on its own. However, you can regrow mint cuttings as you would basil and start new plants as needed.
You can also take fresh mint cuttings from the grocery store and grow roots in water, then plant in soil.
Do you have anything you’d add to our list of foods you can regrow from scraps? Have you tried regrowing any other plants successfully? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
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