Want to regrow your kitchen scraps? The new book, No-Waste Kitchen Gardening, by Katie-Elzer-Peters, shows you how to choose and prepare vegetables, fruits, and herbs for regrowing both indoors and outdoors. It’s edible recycling!
Find out which food scraps you can regrow right in your kitchen.
The images in this post are used with permission from Quarto Publishing Group who also provided copies of No-Waste Kitchen Gardening by Katie-Elzer-Peters for me to review and you to enter to win (now ended).
If you have spent any time on Pinterest or Facebook looking at food and garden ideas in recent years, you have probably seen images of veggies like celery or the shoots of green onions regrowing in a dish of water. Or carrot tops regrowing in soil. And herbs like basil rooting in water for more plants. This book shows you how it’s done—and, unlike some of the misleading info out there—there are specific tips for success.
Depending on what you grow, indoor regrowing may never produce much more than some garnishes or small amounts of new edibles, but the bigger purpose is having fun with experimental gardening while reducing food waste. Plus, it’s a great way to better understand how plants grow.
Plant life cycles are amazing and plant propagation is addictive—I’m not biased at all—and finding new life in beet tops or potato eyes is a great way to start. Experiment on your own or use it to entice the kids in your life into the world of growing plants.
Grab a copy of the book here at Amazon, learn how each plant grows, how to choose the right part of each plant to woo regrowth—and just start exploring the options. I’ve been doing this for several years now and its like the joy of houseplants with added intrigue and some garnishes on top!
Know Your Plant Parts for Regrowing
Regrowing vegetables can involve seeds, roots, stems, or leaves, that we may grow in water or soil, depending on what works best for the plant.
The book walks you through a basic understanding of plants and their growth stages so you can understand what parts to choose for regrowing.
Sometimes regrowth will yield more of the same, other times it brings something different. Green onions rooted at the base will produce more green onion shoots. But, harvested carrots and beets have finished their root-growing days (the main part we eat) so instead will produce more edible leafy greens on top instead.
39 Vegetables, Fruit, and Herbs You Can Regrow
This will give you an idea of some of the foods you can try regrowing.
Tips for Success
- Start with healthy, organic vegetables, fruits, or herbs.
- Avoid anything treated with growth retardants (used to prevent sprouting in grocery stores).
- Know which part of the plant can regrow.
- Provide the right growing conditions.
- Know what to expect. Some plants regrow entirely, others provide partial growth. Hybrids do not grow true to their parents.
Stems to Regrow in Water
The bottom of the vegetable must be intact for this to work.
- Bok choy
- Green onions
- Lettuce and heading vegetables such as Napa cabbage
Herbs to Grow from Stem Cuttings
This has a list of herbs you can grow indoors. Check if yours is annual, biennial, or perennial so you know what to expect for lifespan.
These instructions for rooting softwood cuttings will work for herbs as well.
- Lemon balm
Root Veggies to Regrow for Leafy Tops
Use veggies that still have their leaves attached. These roots will not regrow but the leaves will.
Tuberous Roots & Stems to Regrow Entire Plant
Start with an organic potato or yam that has not been treated with growth retardant. It’s the eyes that sprout new growth.
- Sweet potatoes
- Ginger | See How to Grow Ginger from the Grocery Store
Bulbs, Stems and Modified Stems
When each of these are regrown indoors, they produce edible leaves only (like green onions), not bulbs as they do outdoors.
- Bulbing onions | see instructions here
Be sure to look up specific instructions before growing these:
- Citrus | Lemon, lime, tangerine | If you manage to grow them to fruit, they will not be true to the parents, but it’s quite a feat after several years!
Exception: Satsuma tangerines grow similar to parent.
- Hot and Red Peppers | Green peppers are immature fruit and don’t have ripe seeds—use others instead.
- Melons | Ferment the seeds first using this tutorial for saving tomato seeds.
- Mango | This has step-by-step instructions for growing mango from seed.
- Microgreens (e.g. Coriander, Fennel, Lentils, Mustard, Sesame, Sunflowers) | This shows how to grow microgreens.
- Pumpkins and winter squash | Grow outdoors
- Tomatoes | See How to Grow Tomatoes and How to Grow Tomatoes from Cuttings
Fruit trees – usually require stratification (a cold, moist period) or scarification (scratching the seed coat to allow moisture to penetrate it). And many need cross-pollination (more than one tree) to produce fruit.
- Apple and pear
- Stone fruits – cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, sour cherries
These are worth trying but don’t expect fruit any time soon! If they ever do flower and fruit, it can take many years, but they still make good houseplants.
The book has step-by-step instructions with photos for regrowing many of these plants.