Start Gardening From Scraps With These 11 Foods You Can Regrow

Before and after photos of growing green onions from scraps

Grow A Vegetable Garden From Scraps With These Tips

It surprises some people to learn this, but there are several herbs and vegetables you can regrow from their own scraps. If you’ve got the patience for it, gardening from scraps can be a fun and rewarding practice, plus it can help you cut down on food waste and save money too.

The foods I’ve chosen to feature in this post are some of the best you can regrow, whether inside your home or out in the garden. Most only need water and a bit of sun, while others may take a bit more time or effort.

Keep in mind that if you’re planning to garden from scraps, you’ll almost always get better results using scraps from garden-grown or organic produce. Some conventionally-grown produce gets treated to prevent it from sprouting, which makes further growth impossible.

Gardening From Scraps: 11 Foods You Can Regrow From Scraps

Photo showing how to grow green onions from scraps by placing the root end in water
Learn how to regrow green onions was a real eye-opener for me!

1. How To Grow Green Onions From Scraps

Wondering what is the easiest vegetable to regrow? If you’re looking for an easy win, look no further than green onions.

After using the green tops and white centers of green onions, collect the bottom parts (the root sections) and set them aside. To regrow them, trim the root sections to about 1 inch above the roots, then set them in a container of shallow water in a sunny area. Refresh the water as needed and watch your green onions grow!

2. How To Grow Potatoes From A Piece Of Potato

You can grow a whole potato plant (or sweet potato plant) from a relatively small piece of potato — ideally a piece that has at least two root eyes. You can plant the potato piece directly in your garden with the eyes facing up, or wait for it to sprout inside.

To sprout a potato in water, use toothpicks to suspend a piece of potato with two eyes so that the cut side is submerged while the eyes remain up out of the water. When you see roots starting to grow in in the water, plant your sprouted potato in a pot or out in your garden.

Photos showing how to grow romaine lettuce from scraps by placing the root end in water
Being able to grow a few extra lettuce leafs is nothing to sneeze at.

3. How To Grow Romaine Lettuce From A Cut Heart

Grow another round of romaine leaves by placing the bottom of the cut heart into a bowl of warm water. You won’t end up with a whole new head of romaine lettuce, but you can grow enough additional leaves for a few sandwiches.

Related: Want Your Lettuce To Stay Fresh Longer? Make This Easy DIY

4. How To Grow Mint From A Mint Stem

To grow mint from scraps, start by removing the bottom leaves from a mint stem while keeping the top leaves intact. Soak the stem with the cut side down in a glass of warm water, then wait for new roots to sprout before transferring it to a pot.

Photos showing gardening from scraps using carrot ends to grow more carrot tops
Carrot tops make a wonderful garnish, and they’re easy to regrow.

5. How To Grow Carrot Tops From Carrot Ends

When you buy carrots with the tops intact, cut the topmost part of a carrot off with the top still attached. You can regrow the carrot tops from this little piece of carrot!

Start by soaking the little carrot piece in a shallow bowl of water for one week, then transfer it to soil once roots start to form. The tops will continue to grow beautiful greens that make a delicious addition to salads and pestos.

6. How To Grow Basil From A Basil Stem

The process for growing basil from scraps is almost identical to the process for regrowing mint (see #4 above). Just take a basil stem, remove the lower leaves, and place the stem in water until it start growing new roots. You’ll have bunches of basil before you know it!

Photos of someone regrowing celery in water from celery scraps

7. How To Grow Celery From The Root End

Trim the celery down to about an inch or two above the base. Place the celery base in a bowl of water and leave it somewhere where it will get a decent amount of sunlight.

New leaves will soon begin to sprout from the middle, but give it a week or so after that to increase in thickness before transferring it to a pot of soil.

8. How To Grow Bok Choy From The Root End

If you’re interested in growing bok choy from scraps, you’ll be happy to know it’s as easy as regrowing romaine lettuce! Grow a few more bok choy leaves by placing the stem end into a bowl of warm water.

Photo of cilantro stems being placed in water to regrow cilantro from scraps
Regrow herbs like cilantro and start a tasty indoor herb garden!

9. How To Grow Cilantro From Cilantro Stems

To grow mint from scraps, follow the same process I outlined for mint and basil: remove the bottom leaves from a few sprigs of cilantro, then soak the stems in warm water until new roots form. Then transfer them to a pot of soil and let your cilantro flourish!

10. How To Grow Cabbage From The Root End

Get a few more leaves from a head of cabbage by placing the root portion in a bowl of warm water. Bonus coleslaw is the best kind of coleslaw!

Photo showing a pineapple crown, which you can use to grow a pineapple plant in your garden from scraps

11. How To Grow A Pineapple Plant From A Pineapple Crown

While you certainly won’t be growing a pineapple right away, you can grow a nice new houseplant in just a few weeks. If you’ve really got a green thumb, you could end up with a homegrown pineapple after a few years!

The trick is to grab hold of the pineapple crown by the leaves, twist, and pull it off so the stalk is still attached. Then remove some of the lower leaves to expose the stalk, and make sure there’s no fruit flesh attached to the stalk that will cause it to rot.

Place the pineapple crown in a glass of water and wait until new roots begin to sprout, which should take about three weeks. At that point, you can transfer the rooting crown to a pot with fast-draining soil in a sunny location.

Related: How To Cut A Pineapple The Quickest And Easiest Way

Do you regrow any foods from scraps at home?

Photos showing how to grow romaine lettuce from scraps by placing the root end in water

How To Grow Lettuce From Scraps

Jill Nystul
Don't toss that lettuce heart — use it to regrow leaves you can use on sandwiches! This works with bok choy and cabbage as well.
4 from 1 vote
Active Time 2 minutes
Growing Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 2 minutes

Equipment

  • Bowl or jar

Ingredients
  

  • Head of romaine lettuce
  • Warm water

Instructions
 

  • Take the base of a head of romaine lettuce (with about an inch of leaves still intact) and place it in a bowl of warm water.
  • Replace the water every couple of days to keep it fresh.
  • Your lettuce will start getting roots first, and in a couple of weeks you'll be able to harvest a few tender leaves.

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • If you buy lemongrass with a bit of root from the grocery store, put it in water to get more root growing than into dirt. It will keep growing. Mine went for years although this year’s extremely cold winter probably killed it. So, I’ll probably just do it again.

  • We don’t eat a lot of peanut butter but the zero waste tip is MUCH appreciated. Our next ’empty jar’ will be used for my breakfast oats. We do enjoy jam on our toast (specifically Dickinson’s brand). Pour some vinegar and oil in that ’empty jar’ and you have a serving of salad dressing — great on salads with fruit and nuts.

  • You can also grow an avacado. Just put toothpicks near the top and suspend in water. Makes a nice houseplants but I don’t think you’ll get any avocados .

  • Pineapples don’t need to be soaked prior to planting in soil. It is actually more beneficial to not do this as the plant (many) get used to being in water then go into shock when in soil (without water). Herbals have way more than what is listed here, rosemary, mint, and lemon balm. Potatoes grow yes, our sweet and white ones will make more for us but they propagate differently. Garlic also grows from the parent host, save seeds from your tomatoes & plant them. I could go on and on with tips.

  • I must say I never throw away the onioni part of green onions or scallions. I always use that part. My father used to use a regular onion when growing scallions, though. I would probably use this because I like the more subtle taste of the green onion, and as I get older it “repeats” less on me. So just wanted to pass on that a small yellow onion can be used as well. Just insert toothpicks mid way to allow just the bottom part to sit in the water.

    Thanks for all the tips! With the cost of food nowadays, any way to save is wonderful!

  • Thank you! Perfect timing for this as we have our 12 yr & 4 yr old granddaughters living with us & they are learning about planting, as well as recycle & reuse, and composting. Perfect ideas for them. Time to get our garden growing! Thank you!

  • You can grow ginger by planting a root. Plant it in a pot, keep moist but not wet, and in about 6 weeks it will sprout. Put it in your garden when danger of frost is past, or continue growing in a pot. If you need a piece of the root to grate or use, just find an outside part and cut off what you will use while leaving the rest to grow.

  • My mother was a depression baby and learned to reuse everything possible. When I was a child she taught me to cut off the top 1/2″ or so of a carrot, place the cut side down in a throw away lid (mayonnaise jar lids worked best) with enough water to come up a little on the side of the carrot cutting. My job was to watch it daily & re-water it as needed & let her know when the roots and green top were growing. Then, on a Saturday morning, it was my job to plant the carrot cutting into a sunny spot in her flower bed. It always worked. Since mother’s day is this Sunday, I’m remembering things she taught me over the years. This is one of the nice memories I have about my mother’s wisdom. Love you Mom.

  • I want to grow elephant garlic in the worst way………….looked on the internet and found that growing elephant garlic is easy…………so here goes nothing…………….wish me luck !

  • With the tomato seeds – what I do is scrape the seeds that are left on the cutting board onto a paper towel. I then fold and fold and fold the paper towel until it is long and skinny. After a few days the seeds should be dried with the juice of the tomato absorbed into the paper towel. Then I use my finger nail to carefully scrape the seeds off the papertowel – and then plant them in the dirt. I do this for my favorite campanile tomatoes (yum!) and ONLY when the growing season is right to plant tomatoes.

  • Chilli peppers, sweet peppers, citrus fruits in fact almost anything with seeds will grow if looked after properly. I love harvesting seeds with my granddaughters(all 6 of them), then helping them to sow and grow the plants. Sprouting beans or pulses are particularly good for young children as you can be eating the end result in a week or so. This holds their interest while slower growing ‘plants’ are doing their thing!

  • This was the most informative post ever, thank you for writing it! I especially liked the comments. I first started looking at you website for a twofold reason, one was for your homemade cleaners and laundry detergent. The other was to do research for my own websites. Although you do have the occasional “ladies only” articles most of your content is very informative to either gender.. Today’s article is a prime example of your well written stuff! Thanks.

  • You can propogate rosemary as well. Just be sure to use new growth and not the woody stems. Cut a sprig about 4-6 inches long, strip the bottom “leaves” and put in a glass of water on your windowsill. It will sprout roots and can then be planted in a pot or outside.

  • These are wonderful ideas! I am growing lit tics from seed right now. You can grow pineapple too. Cut off the top, and set in a dish of water-it will send out roots in a week or so. Then plant in a pot. It takes patience though, it’s a slow grower.

    • Just do not e in a hurry for the fruit! It normally takes twenty to twenty two years to mature and start blooming. Mine is now 23 years old and bloom sporadically. It is now about five metres tall

    • Plant your garlic in a large container -then there is no problem with being over run by garlic. You can also plant the entire plant and pot into the ground – do not use a biodegradable pot, though!!

      • Last fall we planted cloves of garlic in our garden beds. Cover well with straw. In the spring uncover the garlic and let it continue to grow. When the lower leaves of the plant turn yellow you can dig it up. I had the most awesome garlic in the spring. I am still using it to this day. Kept it in my unheated but somewhat insulated garage and it was just fine when I went to use it. Also was able to use it over the winter too. The garlic in the beds never got out of control. I do have some garlic chives which spread just like onion chives and maybe that is what you all are experiencing. Garlic chives are fantastic on meats, fish, salads, anywhere you want garlic flavor but not the strong taste of the whole clove. Good luck and happy gardening.

    • Not sure which type you have tried that has gotten out of control. Each glove planted will grow into a bulb ( hopefully ) and when pulled up, there is nothing to grow unless you replant. If you leave a bulb in the ground, then yes this might grow on, but you would have to wait a few years to have an issue and its easy enough to dig up the cloves / bulbs to stop it happening. Its not like bindweed.

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