When preparing fresh produce there are always some parts of the vegetables that go to waste. Although veggie scraps make a great addition to a compost pile, there’s another option for you to consider before tossing everything out as garbage. You can regrow a lot of vegetable scraps. Scrap gardening is easy, fun and could even help you save money on your grocery bill.
Vegetables You Can Regrow
Some foods require more time to regrow than others, but once you get the cycle started you will always have some produce that is ready for eating.
- Romaine lettuce
- Onions (red or white)
- Bok choy, pak choi
- Sweet potatoes
- One of the easiest vegetables to regrow is celery. Leaving a base of about three inches, cut off the celery stalks to be used in your cooking.
- Place the celery base in a glass or bowl of water, depending on its size. Change the container water every other day.
- Within a few days you will see the outer stalks darken and start to dry up, while the inner leaves begin to grow and become a rich dark green.
- In a week to ten days, remove your celery base from the water and plant in a pot, window planter or in the ground if the weather is warm.
- Once your stalks regrow, cut off what you need and leave the base growing in the soil. Your plant will continue to regrow new stalks and supply you with free tasty celery for your family.
- Onions readily sprout while being stored. Once the sprouts are a few inches long, make a top-to-bottom slit in one side of the onion.
- Carefully peel the onionskin back to reveal the small onion sets in the center.
- Leave some of the root attached and plant the little bulbs directly in soil. Depending on the variety, an onion can take between 90 and 120 days to regrow.
- Cut the white bottom (with roots) off your scallions and plant in soil. You can plant the bottoms directly in the ground or a long window box style planter works well.
- When your scallions regrow, simply snip off the green stalks as needed, leaving the bulbs in the soil to continue growing more.
- You can get three to four cuttings before you need to start more plants. Staggered planting provides you with a nearly endless supply.
Pro tip: You can grow shallots following these same instructions.
Romaine Lettuce & Chinese Cabbage
- Remove all the leaves you plan to use, reserving a couple of inches at the base.
- Plant the base in a container of water and remove outer leaves as they begin to die. New growth will appear in the center and continue to grow a new head of lettuce or cabbage.
- When new growth appears, place your plant in a container with dirt and potting soil mixture to finish growing.
- Carrots readily sprout new leaves. They’re fun to grow in a container of water so that you can view the developing roots, but they must be transplanted to soil for proper development of the foliage. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the plant will regrow the large tap root that becomes a carrot, but the beautiful, frilly foliage would make a decorative addition to a garden or planted with blooming annuals in a container.
- Everyone discovers a few of their potatoes sprouting from time to time. Cut each potato into pieces that contain two eyes.
- Plant the potato pieces into a deep container or in the ground, making sure that the eyes are facing up. If you have a large round tub, you can plant three or four of the pieces.
- As the plants grow, mound the soil up around the base of the plants to protect the developing potatoes.
- The plants will eventually flower, and once they fade, it will be time to harvest small potatoes from the plant. If you want full size potatoes, wait until the plants die back and turn brown before harvesting. Depending on the variety, it can be from 70 to 120 days from planting until harvest.
Anything that you find sprouting in your vegetable bin is probably a good candidate for a garbage garden. By re-growing as much of your “garbage” as possible, you save money and, if you normally put your scraps in the trash, you help the environment by reducing landfill waste.