You don’t need seeds to plant a garden. Believe it or not, there are many fruits and vegetables you can regrow from table scraps. Just buy them once and you can have a never-ending supply! In this article I’m going to focus on fruits and veggies that are relatively easy to grow.
Note: Sometimes conventional produce is sprayed with chemicals to prevent sprouting and other regrowing tactics. For best results, choose organic or farm-fresh plants for your initial regrowing attempts.
Easiest Foods to Regrow
1. Lettuce – If you buy a head of lettuce, or even just some leaves, you can place the base or spare leaves in a basin of water in a warm, sunny location. In a few days, there will be roots forming and you can then transplant your new mini lettuce plant into soil. To harvest, simply cut the leaves about 2 inches long and let the plant grow again. If the plant bolts and starts forming a seed stalk, it’s time to start another one.
2. Celery – This plant can be grown from the residual base after you’ve used up the celery. Just set the celery base in water until roots begin to form, then transplant to soil. Let the plant grow until it is large enough to harvest, and then enjoy some fresh celery.
3. Garlic – If you like garlic, you know that each head has several cloves. Simply plant individual cloves and let them grow until the garlic head is fully formed. If the garlic attempts to flower, pinch off the “scape” flower stalk, and let it keep growing until the stalk starts dying back. Then harvest and dry your fresh garlic. If you want garlic faster, the green leaves can be harvested over the season.
4. Onions – These yummy flavor additions can be regrown from the root base with about a quarter inch of onion attached. Set in water until roots start forming, then transplant and cover with potting soil. You can trim the onion greens for green onions, or let a new bulb form.
5. Ginger – Just a two inch piece of ginger root can be turned into a full ginger bush with a little bit of patience. Make sure to use organic ginger so it will sprout, and choose a piece with a bud. Soak the ginger until the bud begins to swell, then plant with the bud and half the root on the surface of the potting soil. Roots will form under the root, and it will begin growing.
6. Potatoes – These little roots can be grown from a single “eye.” Some conventional potatoes may be sprayed with an anti-sprouting agent which prevents eye formation. If you want to grow your own potatoes, choose a potato that is already sprouting, or an organic option. Cut the eye off the potato with a bit of the flesh attached, drop it into the potting soil, cover, and water. Soon you will see the beginnings of a potato plant. You may need a larger container than normal for this one.
7. Sweet Potatoes – You will need an organic sweet potato for this one. Suspend the root in water, with at least one sprout near the top of the potato. A simple framework of toothpicks works well for this. Once the sweet potato starts growing, you can transfer it to a pot or the ground if you are in a warm enough climate.
8. Basil, Cilantro and Other Green Herbs – These beauties can often be rooted from a 4 inch sprig. Simply set the herb sprig in water in a warm, sunny location. If successful, you will see little white roots begin to form along the length of the stem. Once the roots are formed, transplant your new herb plant into potting soil and water. Keep it in a sunny location and enjoy watching your windowsill herb garden grow. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what will root and what will not. Also, you may find it takes more than one attempt to get the sprig to root and grow.
9. Carrots and Other Root Vegetables – These can all be grown again from their tops. Simply plant the top in potting soil, and keep it slightly damp and warm. The top will root and eventually form a new root under the soil. Beets, turnips, and other root veggies can all be regrown using this method.
Slightly More Complicated Foods to Regrow
You can use seeds from conventional veggies and fruits to also grow more of your own food. Pumpkin seeds, tomato seeds, pepper seeds, lemon and orange seeds, and even avocado seeds can all be used to grow your own plants.
10. Pumpkins – For this, clean and dry your seeds and plant them in rich, warm soil. Pumpkins don’t do well in cold weather, so don’t plant them outside until you know there won’t be another frost for a long time.
11. Tomatoes – Tomato seeds can be harvested from any conventional or organic tomato. Simply squeeze the seeds and their surrounding juice into a shallow bowl. Let it ferment for a day or two, then spread on a paper towel to dry. Once the seeds are dry, knock them into a small envelop and store until you are ready to use them. Plant in warm soil, and keep in a sunny location or outdoors. The easiest and fastest tomatoes to grow from seed are cherry tomatoes as they ripen the quickest.
12. Hot Peppers and Bell Peppers – You can grow these from seeds with equal ease. Choose a fully ripe pepper for saving seeds. Dry the seeds before storage, or plant straight from the parent pepper. Be careful when harvesting, growing, or handling any hot pepper or hot pepper plant. They will burn. Hot peppers need a hot environment, at least zone five, to successfully grow.
13. Lemons and Oranges – Lemon and orange trees can be easily grown from seed. Simply take the seed from your most recent lemon or orange and put it straight into potting soil and water. Do not let citrus seeds dry out before planting or they may not germinate. Let them grow and transplant as needed until the citrus begins producing fruit.
14. Avocados – An avocado seed can be germinated by suspending it in a cup of water. Once the sprout forms, transfer the seed to potting soil.
15. Pineapples – Another fun plant to grow from scraps. Simply twist the top off the pineapple and suspend it in a glass of clean water. Keep the water clean and fresh until roots begin forming. Then plant your new pineapple plant and watch it grow.