How to Regrow Foods From Scraps

father and young son organizing groceries in the kitchen
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The idea of regrowing your groceries might sound too good to be true. But in some cases it really is possible. You can regrow many fruits and vegetables from scraps often with minimal effort. Not only can this save you some money, but you also can enjoy the freshest produce possible right from your home garden. And you can pick your preferred growing methods, such as organic gardening. Check out these step-by-step instructions for regrowing common foods.

Green Onions

scallions being regrown
The Spruce / Sandhya Moraes
  1. Cut the Onions

    Remove the green onion stalks down to about an inch, leaving the bulb and roots intact.

  2. Plant the Bulbs

    Plant the bulbs root side down either in a container that has drainage holes or directly in your garden soil. Make sure the planting area gets at least six hours of sunlight per day. Cover the bulbs completely with rich, well-draining soil, but leave the short stalks sticking out above the soil.

  3. Water Regularly

    Water your onions whenever the soil starts to dry out, but don't let the bulbs sit in soggy soil. You should see noticeable regrowth in the stalks within days.

  4. Cut the Stalks as Needed

    To harvest, simply cut off as much of the stalks as you need.

Green Onion Growing Tips

The green onion bulbs should regrow their stalks in about a week. And as long as you leave the bulbs planted and water them regularly, they'll continue to regrow more onions. Expect to get three to four harvests from your bulbs before you need to plant new ones.

Celery

celery plants in soil
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  1. Cut the Bottom

    Cut off the bottom inch of a bunch of celery.

  2. Place the Bottom in a Bowl With Water

    Place the celery bottom in a bowl with the cut side facing up. Then, add a bit of water to the bowl, just enough to submerge the base of the celery.

  3. Set the Bowl in the Sun and Wait

    Move the bowl to a sunny spot, and wait for leaves and roots to form. This should only take a few days.

  4. Plant the Celery

    Once roots have formed, plant the celery in a container with drainage holes or directly in your garden. Cover everything but the leaves with rich, well-draining soil, and make sure the celery gets at least six hours of sunlight on most days.

  5. Wait for Your Harvest

    Wait for the celery stalks to grow back. Then, cut off as much as you need. As long as you leave the roots in the ground, your celery should regrow several times.

Tips for Growing Celery

Keep your celery's soil moist but not soggy. Also, celery plants prefer cool weather, so make sure to give yours shade from hot afternoon sun. Wait until the stalks are roughly 3 inches before you start harvesting, and expect to wait a couple months for full stalks to grow.

Ginger

sliced ginger root on a knife
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  1. Soak and Cut the Ginger

    Soak your ginger overnight. Then, cut it into pieces, making sure you have a couple of growth buds on each piece. They're the little bumps on the end of each finger.

  2. Plant the Ginger

    Plant your ginger about 2 inches deep in a pot or your garden soil with the growth buds pointing up or to the side. You don't want them facing down. The soil should be rich and loose, and the planting site should get partial to full sun.

  3. Water Regularly and Harvest

    Ginger likes to have moist but not soggy soil at all times. Shoots should start popping out of the soil in a few weeks, but you'll have to wait three to four months before there's enough growth to harvest. To harvest, simply dig up one of your rhizomes (pieces), and cut off what you need.

Tips for Growing Ginger

When harvesting, work from the edge of your pot or planting area to carefully lift the rhizomes. Take what you need, and replant the ginger. As long as you continue to give the plant the proper growing environment, you should have a perpetual supply of ginger.

Lettuce

lettuce on a wooden surface
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  1. Cut the Bottom

    Cut off the bottom of your lettuce, leaving about an inch of the leaves. Then, put this piece in a shallow dish of water near a sunny window. 

  2. Watch the Lettuce Grow

    Change the water every couple of days. Roots will begin to form within a week, and the leaves should produce noticeable growth.

  3. Pick the Leaves

    In a little less than two weeks, the leaves will be at their maximum size and ready for picking.

Tips for Growing Lettuce

Lettuce grown this way won’t get as large as it originally was. So don’t hesitate to harvest after about 10 to 12 days. After that, the plant will attempt to flower and go to seed, and the leaves will become bitter. 

Pineapples

person removing the top of the pineapple
The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak
  1. Cut the Pineapple

    Cut off the top (crown) of your pineapple roughly half an inch below the leaves. Then, carefully scoop the fruit off the underside to expose the root buds (the small dots around the outer edge).

  2. Strip the Leaves and Set Aside

    Pull off some of the lower leaves to expose an inch or two of the stem, and set the whole thing aside for a few days to allow the cut side to heal and dry out.

  3. Plant the Pineapple

    Plant your pineapple crown in rich soil that drains well. Make sure it's in a sunny spot that gets at least six hours of light per day. If you don't live in a tropical area, plant your pineapple in a container that you can take indoors to a sunny window during cold weather.

  4. Water and Fertilize Regularly

    Keep the plant consistently moist as the roots form. In a couple of months, back off to watering roughly once a week. Fertilize monthly during the spring and summer. Expect it to take two to three years for the fruit to develop.

Tips for Growing Pineapple

Not every pineapple plant will end up producing fruit, but they still do provide interesting foliage with their long, sword-shaped leaves. If you get fruit, wait until the pineapple skin begins to change from brown to yellow before harvesting. Then, simply saw the fruit off your plant. 

Potatoes

potatoes in soil with hand holding one potato
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  1. Cut a Piece From Your Potato

    Acquire a potato that is beginning to sprout (form "eyes"). Then, cut a 1-inch chunk from the potato that includes one or two eyes.

  2. Wait for the Piece to Dry

    Give the piece a day or two to dry out and skin over.

  3. Plant the Piece

    Then, plant the piece of potato about 3 inches deep in a well-draining pot or the ground with the eye (or eyes) facing up, and water well. The planting site or pot should have loose, slightly acidic soil and get at least six hours of sunlight per day.

  4. Tend Your Potatoes

    Water whenever the soil begins to dry out. You should see green shoots emerge from the soil in a couple of weeks, which will form a bushy plant.

  5. Harvest

    In about 20 weeks, the potatoes should be ready for harvesting. You'll know it's time when the leaves above ground start to turn yellow and die. Simply dig up the potatoes, brush off any soil, let them dry on the ground for at least a few hours if possible, and then store them in a cool, dry place.

Tips for Growing Potatoes

Small potato varieties mature more quickly than the large potatoes. If you don’t plan on eating the potatoes right away, wait a couple of weeks after the leaves die to dig them up. Also, be careful not to pierce the skin as you’re removing them from the soil, as this can lead the potatoes to rot before you eat them. 

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato slips forming
The Spruce / Sandhya Moraes
  1. Bury a Sweet Potato in Soil

    Bury all or part of a clean sweet potato under a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil moist and warm.

  2. Wait

    Wait for slips (sprouts) to grow from the sweet potato and reach at least 4 inches in height. This can take a few weeks. It's possible for each potato to produce 30 to 50 slips.

  3. Remove the Slips

    Carefully twist off each slip from the potato at the base. Then, place the slips in a shallow container of water with the bottoms submerged. Roots should develop within a week.

  4. Plant the Slips

    When the roots are a few inches long, the slips are ready for planting. Sweet potatoes need loose, well-draining soil. Gently place each slip in a hole, and cover the bottom half with dirt. Then, water the plants well and continue to water whenever the soil begins to dry out. You'll see green shoots in a couple of weeks, turning into lush vines.

  5. Harvest

    Once the foliage starts to yellow, it’s time to harvest. It typically takes between 100 and 140 days for sweet potatoes to mature.

Tips for Growing Sweet Potatoes

When grown outdoors, sweet potatoes must be harvested before your area’s first frost for best results. Avoid watering for about a week prior to harvesting. Then, cure your sweet potatoes in a warm, dry spot for at least 10 days prior to eating. 

Enjoy the Satisfaction of Home Gardening

These are just a few of the foods you can regrow from scraps. Some are more time-consuming than others. And some might not produce food quite like what you’ll get at the grocery store. But if you enjoy the satisfaction of growing something yourself, there’s really not much you have to lose when planting a scrap you otherwise would have tossed.