Composting leftover food is great and all, but what if you could make more food come from your table scraps? This isn’t the stuff of dreams for starving college students – it’s real. You can grow plants from table scraps.
It’s nice to know where your food comes from and bring some greenery into your home.
Save Money by Growing Plants From Table Scraps
Produce is often one of the most expensive things we buy at the grocery store, so it’s cut down on the money you spend each week. Rather than just hoping some squash grows out of your compost bin, why not just start growing your veggie garden from kitchen scraps on purpose?
Whether you only have a window sill to spare or if you’ve got an acre to dedicate to a garden, you can get started turning would-be-compost into tomorrow’s meals.
Don’t forget that PlantSnap can help identify plants with a photo if you’re unsure what’s growing in your garden.
18 Plants You Can Grow from Kitchen Scraps (With Instructions)
Even if you’re not much of a green thumb, it’s appealing to start growing food from your vegetable scraps! Luckily, you don’t need much space to grow plants from kitchen scraps.
- Avocados: Wash the avocado pit and use toothpicks to suspend the giant seed over a few inches of water. The water should be just high enough to cover the bottom inch of the seed. Keep the seed in a warm area without direct sunlight and check daily to top off the water as needed. After roughly six weeks, you should see a shoot and roots form. Trim the sprout down to three inches after it reaches six inches tall. Once it has leaves again, plant in rich soil and full sunlight. This tree does best in warm, moderately humid, sunny areas. While it’s certainly exciting to grow an expensive and tasty avocado in your own backyard, you’ll need to keep getting your avos at the grocery store for at least five years (and as many as thirteen). You can learn all about growing your own avocado tree here.
- Bean Sprouts: Soak a tablespoon or so of your chosen bean variety overnight. In the morning, drain the bean sprouts and then put them back into the jar or container. Cover the jar with a towel and rinse them again the next morning. Repeat until the sprouts reach your desired size. The same procedure works for wheat berries.
- Bok Choy: Take the “butt” of the bok choy and place it in a bowl of shallow water in good sunlight. Mist the top of the growing plant every few days. Transfer the bok choy to a pot or garden when roots begin to grow (generally 3-4 days).
- Cabbage: Same procedure as bok choy — take the bottom of the cabbage, place it in an inch of water in full sun, and wait for roots to form. Transfer to potting soil when roots appear.
- Celery: Take the bottom of the celery and put it in a bowl of warm water — just like for bok choy, cabbage, or lettuce. Wait for the leaves around the base to thicken and transfer to a pot or garden after about a week.
- Garlic: Take a single clove of garlic from a bulb and plant with the root side facing downwards. Garlic likes full sun. Trim the shoots as they grow to encourage the plant to produce a bulb.
- Ginger: This spicy root is quite easy to grow from the leftovers. Since many of us almost inevitably end up with some extra ginger when we use it, why not put it to use? Simply bury the ginger root in soil with the dimply sprouts facing up. You’ll notice new roots and shoots within a week or so. You can quickly have nearly endless ginger supply by pulling, using, and re-planting the root over and over.
- Green Onion: Place the base of a green onion in a container of water in direct sunlight. Ensure you’ve left the roots attached. Trim the green onions whenever you like and change the water every few days.
- Herbs: Many herbs, including basil and cilantro, will grow if you place a four-inch stalk into water with the leaves above water. Transplant to a herb garden when leaves appear.
- Lemongrass: Take the roots that are leftover from your lemongrass and place them in a bowl or jar with enough water to cover the roots. Place the bowl or jar in sunlight. After about a week, you’ll notice new growth and can move the newly-sprouted lemongrass into a pot or herb garden.
- Lettuce: Follow the same procedure as bok choy and cabbage.
- Onions: Like garlic, onions are easy to grow indoors or out. Cut the bottom inch or so from an onion. Plant that bottom inch with the rootlets facing downwards. Cover lightly with potting soil and keep in a sunny area.
- Peppers: Jalapenos, Serranos, and Habaneros will all grow easily and quickly from seeds. Simply scrape the seeds from your spicy pepper into some potting soil, cover them, and give direct sunlight.
- Pineapple: For a tropical fruit that takes up a bit less space, try growing your own pineapple. Take the top chunk of the pineapple fruit (with the leaves attached) and use toothpicks to suspend above water with the water just touching the base. Place in direct sunlight. Change the water every few days and transfer the plant to potting soil once roots have formed.
- Potatoes: The peelings or a chunk of potato with “eyes” can be grown into a new potato. Look for pimple-like brown bumps on the outside. Then dry the chunks or peelings from the spud overnight. Plant them four inches deep with the “eyes” facing up, and you’ll see green sprouts above ground in a few weeks!
- Pumpkin: The seeds of a pumpkin grow easily into a full, large plant. Be sure to plant pumpkin seeds (or the whole pumpkin) outdoors, as they quickly grow to be large plants.
- Sweet Potatoes: Cut the sweet potato in half and suspend it above a bowl of water. Roots and shoots will form within a few days. Twist off the shoots and place them in a container of water. They’ll start to grow their own roots. Once the new roots on the shoots are about an inch long, plant the shoots in soil.
- Squash: Sometimes it seems like squash will grow from your compost bin, whether you like it or not. The seeds of squash and pumpkin will grow easily if placed in soil. Ensure you’ve got enough space for this large garden plant.
Since pretty much any plant can help with seasonal depression, why not grow an edible one from your kitchen scraps? If you’re more interested in an outdoor garden, you might even be able to use some of these plants for a last-minute winter garden.