I have a compost tumbler that I make liberal use of; however, I got to wondering if I could grow food from veggie scraps. Most of us have rooted an avocado pit with mixed results, but can you take the tops of carrots and grow them? I had to try.
Water Propagating Veggies from Scraps
Vegetable prices at the supermarket seem to just keep going up and up. I do grow veggies outside in the garden but was curious if rooting vegetable parts left over would even work. A little online research revealed that there are around 25 foods that you can root and will provide you with food all over again. This fun fact left me full of ideas and my next salad provided me with plenty of potential ‘victims.’
I keep basil indoors in the winter so I have a fresh batch of the pungent leaves but can’t get much out of the garden when it is covered in snow and ice. Therefore, growing plants from my cast-off vegetable parts seemed like a fun and sensible solution to getting fresh produce in my own home.
The first experiment was from a carrot top. I placed it in water, changing it every few days and the top sprouted! Next were roots feathering out from the cut end. After a while I put the carrot sprout in some potting soil. It took several months and was quickly joined by other carrot tops, but eventually I had little carrots. Elated and excited about regrowing kitchen scraps, I set about rooting other veggie parts.
A store-bought celery end quickly developed leaves and started right off. Even more rapidly are plants like lettuce and bok choy. After just a few days in water, they threw out new leaves and began to produce roots.
Other Kitchen Scraps You Can Regrow
Growing vegetables from tops that would be discarded is disarmingly easy. Rooting vegetable parts isn’t the only way to start new plants inside. Potato peelings are an amazing way to produce food indoors. Let them dry overnight and plant them immediately into soil. It will take a lot longer than planting seed potatoes, but provided the peelings have eyes, new plants will form.
Of course, I am wondering what else I can grow inside from my veggie scraps. Save a piece of ginger and plant it indoors for a consistent supply of the root even in northern climates. Garlic and onions just need the root end to grow new shoots and over time, new bulbs. Keep the end of your fennel bulb and plant it too. The plant will root.
Fresh herbs like basil and cilantro just require a healthy stem. Root this in a glass of water. Once it takes off, put the new plant in soil.
Now that I don’t simply compost my cut veggie parts I am able to extend my harvest and save money. Many of my plants do best under a grow light but they would certainly work in one of those hydroponic systems as well. Give them light, warmth, and a bit of fertilizer and your veggie scraps are new plants ready to provide your table with fresh produce.
If you haven’t yet tried it, this is an easy way to propagate new plants. So go ahead and save those scraps and grow vegetables and herbs from your garden – again!