Whenever you use a fresh vegetable for a meal some scraps inevitably get tossed in the trash or compost bin. It seems like a huge waste and, unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of any other option for these extra bits. Fortunately, there is a way to use the scraps to your advantage. Many of these discarded pieces can be used to regrow some vegetables for you to enjoy. If you’re unsure how to do this, the following information about regrowing vegetables from scraps can help get you started.
How to Grow Vegetables from Scraps
Growing vegetables from scraps is easier than you may think. It can be done with a variety of vegetables, though you don’t use the same process for every veggie. Which part of the scraps to keep and what to expect from the regrowth are something to consider before you begin.
Leafy or Bulb Vegetables
Leafy vegetables are the ones that grow from a head, like lettuce, bok choy, or celery. When you use these, you cut off the base and keep the leafy areas for eating. Those bases are what is needed to regrow those veggies.
Bulb vegetables, like onions, fennel, or leeks, are similar in that you use the tops and discard the bases. Instead of throwing them away, hold onto those base scraps and use them to regrow these tasty veggies.
The process for regrowing both leafy and bulb vegetables is the same, so you don’t need any special materials for it to work. You’ll need a scrap about an inch tall of the plant you wish to grow. The bulb veggies should include the roots, though you won’t have to worry about this with the leafy ones.
For the leafy veggies, you’ll need a shallow saucer that contains ½-inch of water. The bulb pieces will need a bit more support to stay upright, so a small glass will do with about the same amount of water. You can use toothpicks gently pushed into the scrap and rested on the edges of the glass to keep the scrap upright. Stand the veggies in the proper container with the cut ends up.
Change the water daily to keep it fresh. It may take up to several weeks to see new shoots appearing on the scraps you’re trying to regrow. Once this happens, you can re-pot the vegetables, which we’ll discuss below.
Root Vegetables and Herbs
Root vegetables can also be regrown, though not in the way you may expect. For vegetables like beets, carrots, and turnips, you would normally discard the tops. These are the areas that you would need to use to regrow the vegetables, though you aren’t growing the root area this way. Instead, the leafy tops can be regrown to use in some delicious salads or other dishes.
For this process, cut about half an inch off the top of the vegetable. Place the scrap into a saucer with the cut side down and the leaves pointed up. Add a small amount of water to the saucer, changing it daily. You should see fresh greens growing within a week.
Herbs like basil, cilantro, and mint can also be grown this way. You’ll need about 2-3 inches of stem, which you can stand in a glass of water. After a few days, new roots should begin to sprout.
Other Regrowing Options
You can also try some other veggies when regrowing scraps, though they don’t get planted the same way as we described above. A scrap of ginger root which has a fresh, wet cut can be left out to dry overnight. Then you can plant it about an inch deep in a pot with soil.
Potatoes can also be grown from a thick section of the peel or a small potato piece that still has an eye. Let them dry a bit overnight, then plant them in a container of soil or right in the garden with the eyes facing up.
There are many other vegetables you can regrow like this, so if the one you want isn’t mentioned above do a bit of research to see how it’s grown.
Things to Keep in Mind
It may take about a week or so before you see any new growth, so don’t expect any miracles after only a day. If you don’t see any growth in 2-3 weeks it may be a good idea to discard them and start with a fresh scrap.
Regrowing scraps also won’t provide you with enough food to feed your family. Doing this is designed to supplement the meals you’re eating or give you some snacks to nibble on now and then. Plants grown in this manner are generally less full than those grown directly from seeds, and have a smaller yield.
Be sure to keep the regrowing veggie scraps away from heat since this will bake the delicate pieces. Room temperature is best for these new growths. You may also notice slimy bottoms, which is normal, especially for those sitting in water.
Transplanting should be done carefully so you don’t cause any unnecessary shock to your new growth. You also need to wait for the right time to be sure that the plant is ready to be moved from the original container to the soil. For the leafy veggies that were regrown from the base of the plant, you need to watch for roots growing on the bottom as well as new growth on top. The same goes for the bulb veggies like onions. Once you see those roots and sprouts, you can move them from the water to soil. The roots and base of all of these should be covered with soil while the sprouts should remain exposed.
For the root veggies, you can plant them about an inch deep in the soil after you see the new sprouts growing up from the top. Ginger and potatoes can both be planted directly into the soil, as long as the containers are large enough to handle the new growth of veggies.
Vegetable Options to Try
There are a wide variety of vegetable scraps that you can add to your list to regrow. Though not every veggie works for this, there are several great options.
For the bulb or leafy options that use the base, you can try:
- Green onion
- Romaine lettuce
- Bok choy
For the root veggies and herbs, some good options include:
There may also be a few on this list that you have in mind. The beauty of regrowing vegetables from scraps is that you can try anything. If it works, you’ll have even more tasty veggies at your disposal.
Growing vegetables from scraps
Regrowing from scraps is a fun and easy way to grow new vegetables and reduce food waste. While your harvests may be smaller, being able to re-use what would otherwise be garbage is a huge benefit for most people.
Have you ever regrown a veggie from scraps? Let us know, we’d love to hear what variety you grew and how it went.