Growing tasty, healthy produce from clean kitchen scraps isn’t garbage gardening. It can save money, cut down on food waste, and teach valuable lessons about nature and sustainability. From celery and onions to beets and ginger root, scraps often have plenty of life left. They just need a chance to avoid the compost pile.
Growing plants from “inedible” parts isn’t that unusual. Gardeners routinely grow crops from pieces of plants. Garlic, for example, is grown from single cloves, and tomatoes and peppers can be started from salvaged seeds. Even new potatoes are grown from their sprouting “eyes.”
To try your hand at this fun project, start with the following simple-to-grow scraps. You can also experiment with other vegetables by following the instructions for veggies that grow in the same or a similar way. Grow your new food indoors in decorative saucers or containers year-round, or move them outside to your garden in spring.
Head-Form, Leafy Veggies
Leafy vegetables that grow in heads, such as celery, romaine and bok choy, are some of the easiest scraps to grow. Just cut off the plant’s base, which you normally wouldn’t eat, so you have a piece about 1 inch tall. Place it cut side up in a shallow saucer, and then add 1/2 inch of water. Refresh the water regularly, and get ready for harvestable greens.
Leafy scraps will grow in water on a sunny indoor windowsill year-round. You can also transplant them from water into soil as soon as they show roots and new green growth. Use a decorative, soil-filled container or plant directly into warm garden soil. Plant your scrap so that soil covers the roots and base, but the top of the rooted scrap stays exposed..