Growing Food From Scraps

Did you know that 1/3 of all the food globally is wasted? Yes, it is! 1.3 billion tons gets lost or wasted or not consumed. And only a small percentage of that waste can be diverted for composting. Compost will help lessen these waste but did you know that there is a better way to save food?

Save food and money by planting food scraps. Yes, there are foods that can be regrown from scraps – without starting from seeds. Take a look at what you are throwing away. You’ll be surprised what you can grow. We love teaching our kids about recycled and reducing waste. This is a great activity to do just that.

First things first. Aside from the common soil where plants grow, there are plants that grow in water and also dozens of windowsill plants from that can be from from vegetable leftovers. Ever grow a potato in a jar of water when you were a kid? Potatoes are not the only vegetables that can grow that way. In addition, there are plants that grows indoors or outdoors. If you don’t have the space to have an actual garden in the ground, it’s perfectly acceptable to have an organic garden in containers. Containers are perfect to grow organic tomatoes, green beans, green onions and many other organic vegetables.

Here are some of the samples you can start to grow plants out of food scraps.

Green Onions

Green Onion is the easiest vegetable to grow from food scraps. Once your finish with chopping green onions for your cooking, leave the base of the plant intact. The white part the green onions, the part with the little roots, can be used for planting. Submerge the white end with the roots in water and place in a windowsill or somewhere near natural sunlight.

A few days later, green onions will start to regrow. It starts to grow more roots and the green part of the onion grows back. Change the water periodically to keep the plant healthy, or you can transfer it into soil to continue growing. I love having several of these in my garden year round.Backyard-liberty-book


Celery not only provides a low-cal vegetable but it also provides other benefits such as antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids. These are good reasons to start growing your own celery. Plus, celery is super easy to grow from the parts you have leftover from cooking.

Just like green onions, you can grow celery without using seed. Once chopped, leaving the base of the plant intact, place the base in water. Replace water every couple of days to keep the plant healthy.

A week later, you will be able to see the difference. You’ll find small yellow leaves growing in the middle of the plant. Other stalks will start to deteriorate. Transfer the plant into the soil, either in a pot or in the garden.

Romaine Lettuce

The steps for growing Romaine Lettuce are the same as both celery and green onions. Cut off the lettuce you plan to use and leave a couple inches at the base of the plant. The romaine heart can then be set in water. New leaves will start to grow from the center and the outer leaves will die.

You can transfer the plant into the soil.

Carrot Tops

You can’t actually grow another carrot from scraps, but you can grow carrot tops, which are surprisingly good to eat. They are a little bitter, but very good for you. Even if you’re not a fan of bitter greens,  a carrot top plant makes a very good houseplant, and is a great project for kids.

To grow a carrot top, you will need to buy carrots that still have the leafy tops attached. When you cut your carrots, make sure there is about 2 inches of carrot still left that is attached to the leafy top. Next, fill a shallow dish with small pebbles and water. Put the carrot tops in the pan, cut side facing down. Place the pan of carrots in the sun. Make sure you  to keep enough water in the pan, it should always just cover the pebbles. Your carrot tops will soon grow into a really interesting plant that looks something like a fern. We have also tried growing beets this way, and the leaves on it are also very pretty.


Ever ended up with ginger in the fridge and no idea what to do with it? This happens most every time I buy it for a recipe that calls for a small amount. Ginger is a great addition to fresh juice, if you like it, but leftover ginger can also be used to grown new ginger! This way, you always have plenty of ginger around when you need it.

You simply plant the leftover ginger in moist potting soil. If the ginger has started to sprout a little bit, but the new buds facing up. Ginger prefers humidity, as it is a tropical plant. The climate in most houses is just fine for this plant.  Place your pot with the ginger in it near, but not in, direct sunlight. Green shoots will come up out of the soil and the roots will spread out.

It will take about 4 months for your ginger to grow before you can use it. You will then be able begin using pieces of the ginger root when you need it for a recipe. Just cut off the amount you need and be sure to cover the root back up once you’re done.


Regrowing a pineapple from it’s top requires a little more patience, but is well worth the effort.  Just be sure to leave a quarter inch of fruit when you cut the top off your pineapple. Take your pineapple top and scoop out the pineapple fruit from the top, leaving the rind and leaves still attached. Some fruit will still be left, which is fine. Let this dry at room temperature for a few days. Press your pineapple top into moist soil, either in a pot or in your garden.

If your pineapple plant stays indoors, remember that they like humid climates. Do not place it in direct sun or somewhere it will get overly dried out. A pineapple plant usually takes about 2 years before it starts to produce fruit, but in the interim, it makes a beautiful houseplant.


When potatoes start to grow eyes, many people might throw them in the trash. These eyes, while not ideal for eating, are actually the beginnings of a new plant, so rather than tossing old potatoes, grow them.

To grow baking potatoes, chop them up into a few pieces with a couple of eyes on each piece. Then plant the pieces in moist potting soil and soon they’ll begin to sprout. To grow sweet potatoes, plant the entire potato in moist potting soil.

Once the potatoes sprout, you can actually take cuttings and plant those separately to produce more plants.



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