Food waste is a big problem, especially when it comes to produce. But did you know most of the vegetables you buy can easily be replanted from their scraps? Here are five you can buy at the store and then plant in the garden to enjoy all over again.
It's a problem we've all had: You go to your fridge to fix something to eat, only to discover that your produce drawer runneth over with produce gone bad. Brown lettuce, sprouting potatoes, garlic that's all green on the inside, the works. If only there were a way to repurpose those veggies without having to toss them straight into the trash...
Hey, wait a minute! They're plants, so there definitely is. They grow in the ground, after all, so why not take those inedible scraps and bulk up your homegrown outdoor pantry? To that end, I consulted my resident horticulture expert with 30+ years of experience doing what most of us struggle with—keeping plants alive. His name is Dad, but you can call him Neil. Anyway, here are five plants that are ridiculously easy to replant and enjoy over and over again.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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Have a head of garlic whose cloves are starting to sprout? Instead of throwing those in the trash, put them in the ground! This aromatic kitchen staple is super simple to grow. Just plant the sprouted cloves in some good soil in your yard with the sprouts facing up, and make sure they're getting plenty of sunlight and water. They require minimal upkeep, and soon you'll have a bounty of garlic to use in the kitchen. If you'd like, you could also turn this into a learning experience for the kids—just put the sprouting glove in a glass with a little water near some sunlight, and wait for the shoots to get taller.
The leaves are what you're after, but don't throw away the base! Instead, place it in a small amount of water (no more than a half inch), and keep the water at that level until new leaves start to grow. Then take your little baby plant and put it in some soil. Boom! Like a phoenix from the ashes, you've got a whole new head of lettuce.
If you're like me, you always have a couple pieces of ginger that you never end up using. Instead of giving them a one-way trip down your sink's disposal, give them new life! Immerse them overnight in some water, and then pot them up the next day. Make sure the pot they're moved to gets plenty of sunshine. Bonus: When they sprout, they're a really attractive plant with beautiful flowers. Just make sure you bring the pot in when it's cold, as ginger doesn't do well with freezes or cold snaps.
Remember what we did with lettuce? Well, lather, rinse, and repeat with the base of your celery stalk. It'll take a little longer (up to 7 days), but pot it up once it starts sprouting and thickening, and you'll have all the celery you can possibly slather in peanut butter and raisins.
All hail the potato, bringer of French fries! No one wants to eat a sprouting potato, but you can easily take the sprouting "eyes" of a potato and increase your potential for future fries. As with ginger, soak the sprouting pieces and then plant them (if you're in the South as we are, sometime mid-January is best). A fun tip for cleaner potatoes? Buy a bale of hay and place the sprouting eyes in it, making sure you keep the bale wet. This will result in cleaner potatoes that don't need all the dirt scrubbed off!
That's just five of the many, many plant scraps you can reuse to minimize your grocery budget, get the most out of the food you've already bought, and grow your own garden. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and plant the earth! Your forgotten veggies—and your wallet—will thank you.
Re-Grow Your Food from Kitchen Scraps
Neither a Biblical resurrection nor a science fiction horror reanimation, we offer this tip for saving on your food budget: buy some vegetables or fruit once and then instead of throwing the scraps away, re-plant them so they can re-grow.
Many vegetables and fruit pieces that end up in the compost bin or trash can easily be re-grown into a virtual unending supply of fresh fruit and vegetables that you pay for only once.
Besides saving money, re-growing produce produces less waste and is an excellent teaching opportunity for your children.
Keep in mind that it’s the quality of the parent plant that ultimately determines the quality of the plant that you will re-grow, so always look for the strongest possible scrap to re-plant.
18 Foods you can Regrow from Kitchen Scraps
Please welcome Heidi from Barefoot and Paleo back to the blog! If you missed her last guest post, be sure to check out How to Reuse 13 Things You’d Normally Throw Away. Alright, here she is with 18 Foods you Can Regrow from Kitchen Scraps!
I’m excited to be back at My Heart Beets today to expand on this post and talk about how you can regrow your own garden from food scraps you normally throw away.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 31 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States goes uneaten (source). In 2012, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated and only 5 percent was diverted for composting (source). We can change the amount of waste produced dramatically – by regrowing our food scraps into edible plants. Not only is this practice environmentally friendly (keeping food waste out of landfills) but it is also makes economic sense for our wallets (serves as free food). It’s also a nice learning experience for kids. They get to learn about the process and watch their food grow.
For the best results, use organic fruits and vegetables along with organic compost soil. I would also suggest looking at a planting schedule for your area before starting your indoor or outdoor garden.
In addition to regrowing scraps, you can also save your vegetable seeds to grow your favorite vegetables. I’ll talk about this at the end of the post.
Celery, Bok Choy, Cabbage, & Romaine Lettuce
Step 1 – Cut the base off and put it bottom down in a bowl of shallow water (no more than ¼ inch paste the base). You need to add enough water for the whole base to be covered but do not saturate otherwise it will become soggy. Replace the water every few days.
Step 2 – In 1 week you should see regrowth coming up through the center. Once this happens you will want to transfer the vegetable to a container or plant it in the ground for further growth. Be sure to plant with only the new growth above the soil and water regularly.
Step 3 – In about 5 months the plant will be full grown and ready to harvest.
Step 1 – Remove the head/cap of the mushroom.
Step 2 – Plant the mushrooms stalks in soil with only the top surface of it exposed.
Step 3 – Harvest when fully grown.
Green Onions, Leeks, Lemongrass, Fennel, & Scallions
Step 1 – Save the last 2 inches of the bottom of the plant (roots intact). Place in a cup of water (mason jars work wonderfully) with the roots down, leaving ½ inch of the top exposed. Then place on a sunny windowsill. Replace the water every day.
Step 2 – In 3 to 5 days you will see regrowth. For green onions, leeks, scallions, fennel, and scallions you can leave them in the cup of water. For lemongrass, plant in soil.
Step 3 – Harvest when fully grown, only cutting what you need for cooking while leaving the roots in the water. Repeat the steps with the same root ends. Harvest lemongrass once it becomes a foot tall. Cut off what you need without uprooting the plant.
Step 1 – Plant a large garlic clove in a small container root-end down and 2 inches below the soil. Each clove will produce 1 bulb of garlic.
Step 2 – Place the container in a sunny windowsill where there is plenty of direct sunlight and keep the soil very moist.
Step 3 – Once the garlic is establish, cut back the new shoots so the plant has energy to produce more bulbs. Harvest when fully grown, about 5 months.
Tip –I tried to plant it in the ground once it started to regrow and it died immediately. I would recommend keeping garlic in a container so you can keep the soil very moist.
Note from Ashley:I wrote a post on how to grow garlic scapes in a shot glass that you might want to read!
Basil, Rosemary & Cilantro
Step 1 – Cut about 2 to 3 inches of new growth from an established basil plant, just above two leaf nodes.
Step 2 – Remove the bottom leaves and place in a cup of water – making sure the bottom is fully submerged in water. Place in a sunny windowsill and replace the water regularly.
Step 3 – In about 2 months you should see roots forming. Let the roots grow to at least 1 inch long then transfer into a container or in the ground. Water regularly to see a full plant grow.
Step 1 – Soak a fresh chunk of ginger overnight. Be sure the ginger has a few growing buds (little bumps on the end of the ginger).
Step 2 – Plant the ginger in a container with the growth buds pointing up in moist soil and water every day until shoots appear then water regularly.
Step 3 – Harvest in 1 year or until the buds have grown into usable pieces.
Sweet Potatoes & White Potatoes
Step 1 – Cut the potato in half and push 3 toothpicks midway around the potato. Place it cut side down in a glass of water, you want the potato to hang down in the water about ½ inch. Place on a sunny windowsill and replace water every few days.
Step 2 – In 2-3 weeks you will see potato plants (slips) growing out of the top. Once the splits reach 5-6 inches long, twist them off and put them in a cup of water to generate roots. Once the roots reach 1 inch long, plant them in loose, well-drained soil either in a container or in the ground. Water every day for a week then water regularly until harvested.
Step 3 – Harvest in 2 to 4 months or when the plant reaches 1 foot in height. A good indicator the potatoes are ready to harvest is when the tops of the plant die off or turn yellow. Carefully search the soil with your hands – don’t use anything sharp, it could puncture the potatoes.
Tip –Store sweet potatoes in a warm, dry place for 2 weeks. This is what gives them a sweet taste.
Step 1 – Place carrot tops bottom down on a plate.
Step 2 – Add water to the plate so there is ¼ inch of water past the base. Set near a sunny windowsill.
Step 3 – Once the carrot has regrown greens, transfer to an indoor container and water regularly.
Tip – You can use the carrot greens in a salad if you like. In addition to these 18 foods, you can also grow an Avocado Tree & a Pineapple Tree for decoration. While there’s a chance you may see fruit after a couple years using these methods, it really depends on your climate.
Step 1 – Twist or cut the top off of a pineapple and remove the first few layers of leaves from the bottom.
Step 2 – Place the crown in a cup of water, bottom down, for 3 weeks or until you see roots.
Step 3 – Once roots form transfer it to a well draining house planter and keep moist.
Step 1 – Clean and dry your avocado nut.
Step 2 – Push 3 toothpicks in the nut around the top. Place the nut bottom down in a glass of water. Make sure there is at least a ½ inch of water covering the bottom. Place on a sunny windowsill.
Step 3 –In about 3 weeks you will see the nut crack and roots form. Once this happens transfer to a medium planter and keep moist.
Tip –To determine the top from bottom: look for a small circular shaped dark brown spot on the side that is more flat, this is the bottom. The top will have more of a cone look. We never had issues growing avocado trees (for decoration) from our compost pile but this may not work depending on your climate. And finally, if you are growing your vegetables from seed, here’s how to plant them:
Step 1 – Save seeds from all your favorite vegetables, rinse with water, and set out to dry for a day or two.
Step 2 – Place each seed 1 inch below the soil and lightly cover with soil.
Step 3 – Once your seedlings are about 2 to 3 inches high transfer to larger containers or place in the ground. Water regularly.
Tip –Starting vegetable seedlings inside will give you the best results. Use small containers or paper egg cartons to start seedlings (you can put paper egg cartons right into the ground). I had success with bell pepper seeds, all types of squash, tomatoes, and cantaloupe. Have you tried to regrow food from kitchen scraps? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
Heidi Fiscus is an entrepreneur, real foodie, wife, and proud mama. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside barefoot, experimenting in the kitchen, learning new things, and traveling to new places.
Seeds have a sell or use by date on its packaging. Many stores will discard or drastically reduce the price of seeds at the end of the season. To get a deal on seeds, shop at the end of season sales, last year I bought seed packets for
#9 Big Box Home Supply Stores
Shopping at our big box home store (I won’t say any names but it rhymes with Some Heap O’) I was asking a sales clerk when they would put their plants on clearance for the end of the year. She informed me they no longer reduce the plants because it is more profitable for them to just throw them away! It was against their policy to even let the customers take the ones out of the trash. The employee was kind enough to turn her head and I pillaged and plundered my way through their trash can and came out with a bounty fit for Martha Stewart. Talk to the garden manager and ask if you can help reduce their waste by taking these plants being exiled to the landfill and give them a new life.
So if you are visiting a big box store take a peek in the trash, you never know what garden goodies are lurking in there.
.03 each! Seeds can be viable for years past their use-by date, just plant more of them or perform a germination test. Learn more about how to test for seed viability here.
If you buy organic or locally grown produce, you can save the seeds from the food you eat and grow your own plants from the seeds you save. I have a permanent shelf over my sink where you will always find seeds drying that I harvested from dinner ingredients.
To learn more about how to save seeds from your food click here
More perennial vegetables to grow in your garden
Outside of the basic perennials, there are several others that you need to meet &ndash and eat. Some you may find at a farmers market, the rest you will have to plant for yourself!
11. Bunching onions &ndash Egyptian onions &ndash Allium proliferum
Walking onions produce bulbs at the top of each plant, all of which can be planted or eaten. They taste more similar to a shallot than an onion, and they are truly lovely vegetables!
You might be wondering, how do they &ldquowalk&rdquo?
Well, as soon as the mature bulbs on top become heavy, they gracefully fall over and plant themselves where they land. It is all a matter of evolution.
They can travel 24 inches every year, making for some excitement and good nature in the garden.
12. Good King Henry &ndash Chenopodium bonus-henricus
This is the poor-man&rsquos asparagus that no one is talking about, but perhaps they should be.
It adapts well to a garden or food forest, as it will grow in both partial shade and full sun.
Like other plants in the Chenopodiaceae family, including the wild harvested goosefoot, all plant parts will be high in oxalic acids (like spinach and sorrel), so you will want to enjoy it in moderation.
13. Lovage &ndash Levisticum officinale
Lovage is a beloved herb that has been cultivated since the Middle Ages. But why is it that so few people seem to know it today?
It does have a much stronger flavor than celery, yet that is a trait to be admired!
Just a few plants in your garden will be enough for the entire family, seeing as how they grow 6-7 feet tall. If you haven&rsquot tried it in your soups and stews, buy some seeds and get ready for spring planting.
If you cannot manage to eat it all fresh, the leaves can be hung and dried in large bunches, ready for using all winter long.
14. Ramps &ndash Allium ursinum
Otherwise known as ramsons, bear garlic or wild leeks, these leafy greens are among the first to pop up from the forest floor.
Seeing as how all parts are edible, including the leaves, stems and flowers, they are a very useful perennial indeed.
Growing them from seed has proven to be difficult. Though they will flourish in the right environment, especially when the bulbs are transplanted and mulched over.
Enjoy them fresh, as is, or in a wild garlic pesto.
15. Daylilies &ndash Hemerocallis
When we think of edible flowers, our minds automatically jump to nasturtiums. And yet, there are so many edible flowers out there that we haven&rsquot dared yet to try. Some of them may include:
It also turns out that ornamental daylilies are edible too! Who would have thought that Dining on Daylilies could be so tasty?
16. Ostrich fern &ndash Matteuccia struthiopteris
One seasonal vegetable you may not expect to find on this list, rather on a fancy menu, is the humble fiddlehead fern.
Before you get all excited about foraging for fiddleheads, you better learn more about them first, because they can be a bit fiddly.
Find more details on How to Find, Identify and Cook Fiddleheads @ Fearless Eating.
17. Radicchio (typically grown as an annual) &ndash Cichorium intybus
Red chicory, or radicchio, which looks like a small red cabbage, is a distinctive vegetable commonly eaten in Italy. However, the further one gets from Europe, the less it is recognized.
Let&rsquos give it the recognition it deserves, and say that it is not only frost tolerant, it is a superb addition to your diet, for it is the bitterness which makes it extremely healthy.
Radicchio can be planted in spring or summer/early fall and harvested twice a year.
18. Three cornered leek &ndash Allium triquetrum
While it may be an exotic, native to the Mediterranean, three cornered leeks are a forager&rsquos dream.
Just like with ramsons, you can transplant some bulbs to your garden, and know exactly where to &ldquohunt&rdquo in April and May when they begin to flower. Leaves can also be harvested in late autumn when other crops begin to wane.
And don&rsquot get me started on lacto-fermenting the flower buds&hellip
Gardening on any level can be challenging. It is always best to start with the basics, and grow upwards and onwards from there.
Begin with annuals &ndash grow as many buckets of tomatoes you can eat! Learn how to can and preserve your crops. Then embrace the diversity of perennials and acquire a love for new flavors, textures and dining experiences. Perennials will broaden both your garden horizon and your mind.
If you have fallen into the depths of permaculture and organic gardening, chances are great that you&rsquove also heard about a book called Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier.
There are more than 100 species of perennials to discover, what are you waiting for?
16 Sustainable Gardening Foods That Re-Grow From Scraps
Did you know that there are a good deal of commonly used vegetables and herbs that will actually regrow from the scraps that you normally throw away?
I had heard that you could do this with pineapple, but I was surpsied to see some of the other plants that will actually regrow.
Check out this article that I found by Andy Whiteley, over on Wake Up World:
16 Sustainable Gardening Foods That Re-Grow From Scraps
Looking for a healthy way to get more from your garden? Like to know your food is free of the pesticides and other nasties that are often sprayed on commercial crops? Re-growing food from your kitchen scraps is a good way to do it!
There’s nothing like eating your own home- grown vegies, and there are heaps of different foods that will re- grow from the scrap pieces that you’d normally throw out or put into your compost bin.
It’s fun. And very simple … if you know how to do it.
Just remember … the quality of the “parent” vegetable scrap will help to determine the quality of the re-growth. So, wherever possible, I recommend buying local organic produce, so you know your re-grown plants are fresh, healthy and free of chemical and genetic meddling.
Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel
You can either use the white root end of a vegetable that you have already cut, or buy a handful of new vegetables to use specifically for growing.
Simply place the white root end in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. I keep mine in the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water each week or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.
Lemongrass grows just like any other grass. To propagate it, place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position.
Within a week or so, new growth will start to appear. Transplant your lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor position. You can harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.
Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage
Similar to leeks, these vegetables will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water – enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position, occasionally spraying your cutting with water to keep the top moist.
After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.
Alternatively you can plant your cutting directly into soil (without starting the process in water) but you will need to keep the soil very moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear.
Ginger is very easy to re-grow. Simply plant a spare piece of ginger rhizome (the thick knobbly bit you cook with) in potting soil with the newest (ie. smallest) buds facing upward. Ginger enjoys filtered, not direct, sunlight in a warm moist environment.
Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, roots and all. Remove a piece of the rhizome, and re-plant it to repeat the process.
Ginger also makes a very attractive house-plant, so if you don’t use a lot of ginger in your cooking you can still enjoy the lovely plant between harvests.
Re-growing potatoes is a great way to avoid waste, as you can re-grow potatoes from any old potato that has ‘eyes’ growing on it. Pick a potato that has robust eyes, and cut it into pieces around 2 inches square, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry and callous over. This prevents the potato piece from rotting after you plant it, ensuring that the new shoots get the maximum nutrition from each potato piece.
Potato plants enjoy a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to turn compost through your soil before you plant them. Plant your potato pieces around 8 inches deep with the eye facing upward, and cover it with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil. If your plant really takes off, mound more soil around the base of the plant to help support its growth.
You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.
Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.
As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.
When planted, sweet potato will produce eye-shoots much like a potato. Bury all or part of a sweet potato under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, allowing about 12 inches space between each plant. It will take around 4 months for your sweet potatoes to be ready. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slugs… they love sweet potatoes.
To propagate sweet potatoes, it is essential to use an organic source since most commercial growers spray their sweet potatoes to prevent them from shooting.
Mushrooms can be propagated from cuttings, but they’re one of the more difficult vegies to re-grow. They enjoy warm humidity and nutrient-rich soil, but have to compete with other fungus for survival in that environment. Although it is not their preferred climate, cooler environments give mushrooms a better chance of winning the race against other fungi.
Prepare a mix of soil and compost in a pot (not in the ground) so your re-growth is portable and you can control the temperature of your mushroom. I have found most success with a warm filtered light during the day and a cool temperature at night. Just remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil, leaving just the top exposed. In the right conditions, the base will grow a whole new head. (In my experience, you’ll know fairly quickly if your mushroom has taken to the soil as it will either start to grow or start to rot in the first few days).
To re-grow pineapples, you need to remove the green leafy piece at the top and ensure that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife (otherwise it will rot after planting and may kill your plant). Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch base at the bottom of the stalk.
Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first, reducing to weekly watering once the plant is established. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take around 2-3 years before you are eating your own home-grown pineapples.
View the original article here (and see a bonus tip not included in this article).
Have you ever regrown any of these?
I am really interested in the pineapple (It goes great when sliced, dusted with cinnamon sugar, and served up next to a juicy steak)!
Do you know of any more that you plants, vegetables, or herbs that you can regrow from cuttings or scraps?
Let us know what you think about sustainable gardening.
Want to add some seeds in with your scrap grown veggies? Survival Seeds Playing Cards are a great companion to scrap grown vegetables, they include tips on where, when, and how to grow healthy food for you family! For $2.95 s/h you will have 52 new kinds of seeds ready to grow in your garden! Click Here ==> http://t.survivallife.com/get-growing-21965
Want more tips? Check out these great articles on our site:
Vertical and Container Gardening: Charts and Images
5 Gardening Tips and Tricks That Everyone Should Know
Survival Gardening: 20 Plants to Grow This Spring
The 22 Rifle: Myths And Truths Exposed
10 Common Household Items For Your First Aid Kit?
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February 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM
You can also regrow carrots. Cut off the tops of the carrots, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of the carrot. Replant the carrot, and it will regrow. I have several carrots growing in my garden that I have regrown, along with lettuce, celery, scallions, and the potted pineapple in my greenhouse. If you can find some turmeric root (Asian grocery stores are usually the best source) you can pot it and grow it like ginger–the two plants are related.
February 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM
This is exciting but knowing which are GMO or not is My MAIN Concern if
I were to grow any foods?? Also, How does one get the seeds out of a fruit/veggie AND dry it for use in the Future?? I’d hate to get seeds
& dry them just to learn they were done wrong & won’t grow for me!! I
would be sick over this…OR worse, you trade someone “Seeds” for an Item you really need & the seeds don’t grow….They needed food ^ counted on you & now they are hungry, having lost several months waiting for the seeds to produce & nothing good happened! Who has books
to help me dry seeds “Correctly”?? peace & thanks
I take my seeds and place them on a corelle plate and sit the plate of seeds in my oven. If you have a natural gas stove, the pilot light heat will dry them without burning them. Of course you must check them daily to make sure they don’t dry out all together and be useless. I also dry my eggshells in this fashion and then crush them into a powder with a mortar and pistil to add to my tomato plant holes when planting.
February 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM
I have been replanting root veggies for several years with great
success. I find Walmart potatoes sprout in about a month.
You gave me an idea. I will try veggies like romaine bok choy
etc which grow mainly above ground in my aquaponic system
February 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM
Pineapple. I grew mine as you suggested in the beginning..twisting the top off. I had no idea what it would do, but did it as a challenge. I placed it in a saucer of water until I saw roots sprouting, then I planted it in soil and placed it in my south facing bedroom window. For four years I watered and nursed it as the leaves grew so long they almost crowded me out of the room. But after 4 years of caring for it, as I was wiping the leaves down, I noticed a little white speck where the leaves sprout from. Was going to pick it out, but realized it was a fruit growing. That summer I harvested a baseball sized fruit that was so sweet and juicy. Gave the plant to a friend and it died soon after. Homesick for it’s Alaska home?
I wanted to do pineapples but read somewhere that after your years of work these plants will only usually produce one fruit, sometimes two but that is it. So I don’t believe your friend did anything wrong to the plant it was just done.
February 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM
Do the leeks/scallions/spring onions NOT need any additional nutritional sources? Are the water and sunlight (for photosynthesis) sufficient enough to produce a nutritious vegetable, from one cutting to the next, over and over?
Recommendations on plant spacing, and planting-to-harvesting time frames – especially for those to be grown outdoors – would’ve been extremely useful.
February 17, 2014 at 3:32 PM
If you’re confined to space and want “home grown” potatoes, get several old used tires. Fill the first one with dirt and start your plant. As it grows, add another tire and dirt. Go as high as you like to grow.
They won’t be big potatoes but there will be a “bucket full”.
February 22, 2014 at 1:39 AM
Please do not use tires, they are fine for average plants, but they are not good around food. Many people also use old railroad ties for frames. Both leach stuff into the soil your food is eating. They make cloth tubes, with rings to hold the dirt, to grow potatoes in. Same principal. As the plant grows the tube gets taller. Like the tires they also have a small footprint.
February 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM
Where did you get cloth tubes?
February 17, 2014 at 4:41 PM
Sweetpotatoes – stick 3 tooth picks 120 degree apart and stick the end into water. Multiple new plants will grow out and form roots. Plant the plants in hills I think about a couple of feet apart. What you do with the rest of the potatoe is up yo you
February 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM
Yup, have done most of these, easily. My brother in Miami has a fruiting avocado tree – which he started from seed. Yummy. Not warm enough in WA to do that though -/
February 17, 2014 at 9:05 PM
I planted a pineapple top as you described several months ago in SC. I heavily mulched it for the bizarre snow and ice, and covered it with a heavy jar. But my understanding is that it can take more like seven years, and that each plant would produce at most two pineapples! We will see…
February 17, 2014 at 11:22 PM
I am still using scallions that I brought home from the grocery store two years ago. Just cut ’em off above the root area. Also, Chinese “stinky weed” (AKA garlic chives) just keeps growing forever. I let some go to seed and now I have an infinite supply. I tried celery a long time ago, but it did not work out. Gotta try again.
Also, be advised that the leaves of many vegetables such as radishes and carrots are actually edible. Why waste them on your horse?
I hate pineapple I don’t think I’ll try that one. Where can I get some celery root that is guaranteed to be vegan, holistic, homeopathic, hallal, kosher, and gluten-free? Is it safe to eat stuff that was growing in dirt? Who knows what the bears did in that dirt when it was their land?
February 17, 2014 at 11:31 PM
Also, I did the toothpick in an avocado seed thing and got a real tree with the small purple fruit. The tree had three main branches. I cut two of these off, and grafted twigs from a tree with the large green fruit. My high school German teacher taught me how to do this as her father was an orchardman (cherries) in Czech in the 1930s. For a long time we had one tree with two kinds of fruit. The price was right!
Hint: the pointed end of the seed should be pointed UP. Also, never plant a tree close to a property line, fence, or building. They grow bigger than you expect! This I know from bitter experience.
Hey Richard , that’s an interesting talent which You learned and I now have learned also , thanks … and My Dad’s side came from what is now Czechia as well ! I’m interested to learn more about My Family’s History … so do You still have contact with Your old Teacher !? I wonder if You could get in touch with Her , We might be related … most of My Family were separated since 1948 , as The Czechoslovakian Republik chose to holocaust Its Own People Who weren’t Slavic … so They were either murdered , or tortured , raped and imprisoned or concentration encamped and/or marched to the Borders and thrown out of the Country of Their Birth for thousands of Years for absolutely no reason whatsoever , other than speaking the German Language and having a History of German Culture . It was a mass extermination with no Young Men around to defend Them , Czechoslovakia’s dirty Secret Ethnic Cleansing , which the entire Planet has seemed to overlook … so the few older Folks have long passed away and The Czech Republic has totally destroyed All Records of Those People Who had Always lived There and Who were or spoke German Austrians , Germans , Hungarians , Romanians (, and Czechs and Poles Who married Them too All Bohemians , Moravians and Silesians Of These Backgrounds included) !8 Plus , in a Complete Coverup , because The Czech Republic does not want to admit or reinstate or compensate or even acknowledge It’s horrible betrayal of It’s Own Citizens , and The Horrors that The Czech Governments and Some of People have done in Their Recent Past … only within the Last Seventy Years … and The Laws which They enacted then to make This Awful Holocaust happen are still on The Books Today and The very Same Laws are in The Czech Republic Right Now , believe it or not . Totally Incredible , but very very True Truth !8 Yet The Czech Republik is a full shameful Member of The European Union , with no investigation or burden of responsibility taken or given to Them either way whatsoever . Incredible in This Modern World in which We All Live !8 ……Well , My Name is Jay and l’m glad to have read Your Article Comments and wish that You can get in touch somehow … and I’m looking forward to Your Response ! Take Care !
This herb is unique because it is a biennial, which means that it grows only for two gardening seasons and then dies. In its first year it produces the delicious leaves that are commonly used for sauces (like this garlic-parsley butter from Saveur), and the second year it goes to seed. A benefit of its final year are its edible roots, which are considered the most flavorful part of the plant.
- Place in a glass of water in a sunny spot on your windowsill.
- Transfer the cuttings into soil when roots appear.
6. Sprout New Greens from Root Vegetables
Give a few root vegetables from the store light, moisture, and warmth, and they’ll sprout leafy tops you can eat. The action happens fast: Most sprouts begin to appear within a week. There are two methods for sprouting, depending on your willingness to sacrifice a whole vegetable. Either way, because root vegetables have nutrients that help them survive winter underground, they will keep growing leaves as you pick them, almost until it’s time to get back into your garden again.
Beets, carrots, celery root (celeriac), parsnips, parsley root, rutabagas, turnips, and winter radishes all sprout readily. (Don’t use potatoes their sprouts are toxic.) Expect to be able to harvest greens for about a month.
How to Sprout Using Whole Vegetables
Bury the root vegetable in a pot of peat-base potting mix, leaving the top exposed. Water regularly to keep the soil moist. Discard the entire vegetable when it stops sprouting new leaves.
How to Grow Greens Using Root Vegetable Pieces
With this method, the foliage won’t be as lush, but at least you&aposll be able to regrow a few leaves after you&aposve used the rest of the vegetable in your recipe. Slice an inch or so off the top and set that top piece in an inch of water in a saucer, refilling as needed.
Regrowing Scallions Is the Easiest Quarantine Project Ever
Placing bets on which quarantine habit most survives post-quarantine, my money is on the regrowing of scallions. (Sorry sourdough, but the only other thing I can commit to feeding daily besides myself is my cat.) I’d even take it a step further and file this under “things I should have been doing all along,” or more emphatically, “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?”
For those not yet in the know, you basically never have to buy scallions again. Armed with nothing more than a small glass or jar, and access to a water supply and a sunny spot, a lifetime supply of scallions—the world’s most versatile garnish—can also be yours.
16 oz Ball Mason Jars with Lids, Set of 4 for $14.77 on Amazon
Once you get started, you're going to need more than one.
The process is a simple one: First, cut the scallion or green onion on a slight bias just above the white part, leaving a little bit of green. Next, submerge the bulb in a glass of cold water, with just enough water to clear the roots. Finally, wait not much more than a few days, and witness the BOUNTY. Easy, am I right? Why haven’t we all been doing this all along?
It’s not rocket science, but it is plant science, and so to understand how this phenomenon works, best practices for regrowing scallions, and other vegetables to which you may apply this miraculous (read: scientific) process, I spoke with a plant scientist.
“Gardening is the most inexpensive and forgiving place to practice trial and error and patience,” says Becca Amos, Certified Horticultural Therapist and a Senior GreenHouse Instructor with the Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenHouse Program on Rikers Island. For those whose thumbs have proven the opposite of green, the scallion jar is the perfect first step toward the possibility of growing your own food.
What Makes It Possible for Scallions to Be Regrown in This Way?
“Scallions are geophytes, a.k.a. underground storage organs,” explains Amos. “They’re full of stored energy which remains present when their greens are removed. Their roots grow from the basal plate, (which is) all that’s needed to regrow.” (Basal plate = plant spinal cord, basically.) Other vegetables that are also geophytes include onions, potatoes, turmeric, and ginger.
“By hanging onto those roots and providing the whole situation with enough sunlight,” she continues, “the plant is able to photosynthesize and keep coming back. Plants WANT to grow!” (Evidenced by my own scallion jar, which not only has grown in near defiance of my personal track record with greenery, but is downright lush.)
Can You Keep Your Scallions Growing in Water Indefinitely, or Should They Be Transferred to Soil at Some Point?
“There are varying opinions about this,” Amos explains. “Some folks have had luck keeping scallions in water for up to a year and others advise transplanting into soil or a well-draining medium like river rocks or a sandy mix for longevity.” You can even use potting soil and replant in the same jar as you were keeping them in water.
Royal Imports River Rocks, 5 lb. for $13.99 on Amazon
For taking the next step from regenerating scallions to eternal scallions.
“The crucial key to scallion regrowing success is keeping up with changing the water every couple of days,” says Amos. “Slimy, murky water will stunt growth or rot the roots.”
What Are Other Vegetables That Can Be Regrown in This Way?
Seksak Kerdkanno / EyeEm / Getty Images
“Leeks, onions, fennel, and celery operate in a very similar way as scallions when regrowing,” says Amos. It’s just a matter of making the cut at the appropriate spot to promote regeneration.
“If you want to experiment with (other) food scraps ,” she encourages, “I highly recommend putting a potato on your window sill for the simple fun of watching an eye do its thing, and observing how much stored energy is in a potato! Just wow.”
“And for the ultimate patience game,” she continues, “once you master changing water regularly with your scallions, go for avocado pit propagation.” Avocado pits can be anchored with a tripod of toothpicks, making sure to keep the top side up for sprouting, in the same orientation in which it’s found inside the avocado. An avocado pit should be submerged about halfway in water.
“Just when you’re ready to give up, you’ll see progress,” says Amos.
Johner Images/Getty Images
Is This the Same Process as “Rooting?”
“[Rooting is] the action of a plant producing roots,” says Amos. “Roots are for anchoring, absorbing nutrients and water, and/or storing energy, depending on [what kind of plant] you are. Propagation often involves trying to coax new roots from existing plant material in order to create another plant—depending on the kitchen scrap you’re trying to grow, you might be rooting or, in the case of scallions, you’re just keeping them happy.”
And speaking of keeping something happy, an abundance of scallions means an abundance of scallion recipes . Try Yaso Tangbao’s Scallion Pancake with Egg and Pork Floss recipe . Then read up on the differences between scallions, green onions, and chives .
I would love to be able to grow my own fruit and vegetables, but my yard is very small and gets almost no sun, and the soil is less than rich. I try to go to a local farmer’s market at least once a week, but when I can’t, I hit up my friends who have gardens. They are usually more than willing to give me what I want, and they never charge me. The more I explore these tips and tricks, the easier it is for me to get my five servings and keep up with my savings.
How do you get your produce? How do you keep your spending down and make your purchases last? I’d love to get your insights on this topic, so please share in the comments below.