How to Re-Grow Your Food Scraps!

by Maddie Vlismas

Did you know that you can re-grow fruit, vegetables and herbs from your old kitchen food scraps? It's also *incredibly* easy to do, so no worries if you haven't perfected your green thumbs yet!

I grew up in a household of avid gardeners, which meant that I earned my green thumbs long ago, so I'm here to hold you hand and walk you through it, step by step! It's something we did as science experiments when we were young, but it popped up on my radar recently when I saw the Plastic Free Mermaid showing off her growing vegetable babies!

Basically the entire principle is this : cut the bottom off and place it in a dish so that the base is sitting in water, and wait for the roots to grow. When they do, plant it in soil!

It's important to plant in soil as this provides the nutrients the plant needs to flower or seed. Plants that are left in water will grow a few leaves, but not much more than that. 

Some things to note before you start :

- As a general rule, leave plants in bright, indirect sunlight

- Change the water every day or every other day to avoid slime

- When planting, keep the soil moist - not wet

- When transitioning your plant from indoor to outdoors, do so in gradual amounts of dappled light before moving it to a fully sunny spot. 

There's a few different methods to re-grow from scraps, so keep reading to find out how!

1. Growing from tops

You can grow the following from tops : carrot, turnips, beetroot, radish, swede & pineapple

Cut off the tops and stick them in a saucer of water. Allow tops to dry off a bit first to avoid rot. When small side roots appear, plant it in soil!

2. From bottoms

You can grow the following from bottoms : celery, onions, coriander, leeks, garlic, lemongrass, bok choy, fennel, cabbage, lettuce if roots are intact.

This is important! The base must be intact. Chop it off and place in a bowl with enough water to keep the base wet. Replace the water every few days to avoid slime and rot - ick. 

Celery and bok choy magically begin to reshoot within 1-2 days and like a sunny spot. Leave others like onions, leeks, and fennel until roots form, then plant. Make sure to cover everything except the new growth with soil when you are planting

3. Growing from cuttings

You can grow the following from cuttings : basil, mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavender.

Snip the top 10cm from a fresh herb stem, and make sure you're cutting just below where the leaf joins the stem. Trim off the bottom leaves and put it in water. When roots appear you can plant it in soil. 

4. Growing from Seeds

You can grow the following from seeds : tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, peppers, avocado, melons, microgreens, oranges, grapefruit, some lemons, limes

Collect the seed/s from a ripe fruit and leave out to dry fully before storing in an airtight container until you're ready to plant them!

You can grow avocado trees from seeds, but not every pit will produce roots so it's best to try this with a few seeds at a time. Sadly your avo tree won't grow fruit for about 7 years! You can grow roots from your avocado pit by sticking a few toothpicks in it to suspend it over a jar of water. Change the water every day, and after 3-6 weeks the pit will split open. Several weeks after that a stem, leaves and roots will begin to grow!


Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash


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