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Growing Plants from Kitchen Scraps Is Surprisingly Easy

There are so many vegetables you can regrow, that growing plants from kitchen scraps is an easy way to start a garden.  You can start regrowing vegetables without spending a dime on seeds or transplants for your garden! 

Some vegetables need nothing more than a bit of water to get started. Others can require a bit more care and attention, but still make fun and cheap projects.

Easy Vegetables You Can Regrow

Some of the easiest to grow are members of the onion family such as leeks, fennel, and green onions.  After cutting the leaves for cooking simply place the white end with the roots into some water.  

The plant will begin regrowing from the center, pushing up new green stems in about a week.  You can leave it in water, refreshing weekly and using and reusing the new growth or you can plant it out into the garden. Regrowing lettuce on the stem is also started this way.  

I started a leek this way a couple summers ago and it grew happily in my garden up until this fall when it went to seed.  I have some of the seeds saved for this spring and already there are some self-seeded baby leeks in the garden.  

Carrot tops and pineapple are probably the best known plants that will grow.  They make fun house plants but they don’t produce any edibles.  Cut the tops off and place in water and they will grow.  

Avocado pits are another popular plant to start.  You can grow these by using toothpicks to suspend half the pit in water.  Once it grows roots you can pot it in soil and it makes a handsome house plant.  

One summer my best friend gave me an avocado she had started.  She was such a pro at them that she had a tiny jungle on her back porch!

Root Vegetables You Can Regrow

Root vegetables will also grow from scraps.  I have had volunteer potatoes show up in my compost bin from scraps and I’ve saved potatoes for planting.  Cut it into pieces, making sure each piece has a mm eye or two the plant into trenches.  Here are more details on how to plant potatoes.

Sweet potatoes regrow when the vines or the root of sweet potato plants are placed in water.  You’ll need to get an organic variety that hasn’t been treated to prevent sprouting.  The two times I tried with conventional grocery store types the potato molded before it ever sprouted.

Pothos and Sweet Potato rooting in water

Grow garlic from the cloves you buy at the store.  You can even plant it into a pot for indoor harvesting.  Here are more details about growing garlic.

Ginger is another root that is eager to grow.  Plant it directly into the soil in a sunny and warm place.  It makes a good house plant as well.  It does like to be warm, so if it’s not growing outdoors for you it may be too cold.  Here are more details about growing ginger.

Herbs That Will Root From Cuttings

Many herbs will root from cuttings such as basil, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram, and mints.  They can be started in just water but you may have better results using willow water.  

Willow has a great deal of rooting hormone in it, especially in the shoots of new growth.  You can chop up the tips of willow branches, cover with water and allow them to soak for a couple of nights.  Then strain the water and use it for starting your cuttings.

 Permaculture News has more details about making willow water.  If you want to learn more about using herbs, check out the Hebarium from The Herbal Academy.

For more ideas on herbs and other fruits and plants that can be grown from cuttings, check out 15 Reliable and Edible Plants For the Forgetful Gardener.

Seeds You Can Start Out of the Pantry

Plants that are started from seeds include pantry staples such as beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans.  Lentils make an airy little stem, very delicate and pretty.  I’ve even harvested more seeds from garbanzo beans I’ve planted from the store.  Plant beans and lentils one inch deep and five to six inches apart in a sunny spot for the best growth.

You can even grow pomegranates from the seeds!  Wipe off the flesh and juice, then plant immediately into soil and they will sprout and grow.

Start Growing Plants From Kitchen Scraps!

Growing plants from kitchen scraps is a fun and frugal way to increase the number of plants you can grow each season.  I especially like to have a few carrot tops and green onions sprouting in the kitchen in the winter to keep me busy before it’s time to order the seeds.  What plants do you like to regrow?  Share in the comments below!

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Friday 23rd of December 2022

I like to start celery that way


Monday 26th of December 2022


Rose Felton

Friday 20th of September 2019

After using up the celery stalks I planted the base in my garden area. I've only done 2 so far and my first one was doing great and then it died. I think all the monsoon rains we got made it go bad. The second one seems to be doing good so far. I've tried growing avacados, but they never seem to put on roots. My mom always grew them though. Don't know what I'm doing wrong.


Monday 23rd of September 2019

It's funny how sometimes plants are easy for one person and just won't grow for another. I have a friend who has trees from avocados seeds she planted, and I rarely can get them to grow.


Sunday 14th of February 2016

I always save a few potatoes from my annual harvest to become my next season's seed potatoes. I grow Yukon Gold potatoes and they save the best for winter eating. I started sweet potatoes in water but never got them planted, so enjoyed the foliage indoors instead until winter came and they were cold nipped in the windowsill. - Margy

Kathryn @ Farming My Backyard

Monday 15th of February 2016

Awesome! I keep meaning to try sweet potatoes.


Tuesday 19th of January 2016

Pineapples grown from the tops of pineapples will produce edibles! We've been growing them for 5 years now. It takes 2-3 years for the plant to fruit.

Kathryn @ Farming My Backyard

Tuesday 19th of January 2016

Sweet! I have to go eat some pineapple now. :)

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