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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Regrowing Produce from Scraps

Jun 30, 2019 11:00AM ● By Emily Miranda

Home Grown

July 2019 
Story by Emily Miranda

MY INITIAL INTEREST was piqued when one of my family members brought home a green onion plant. As I researched how to plant and grow green onions, I found myself clicking on several gardening links, coming to a surprising discovery. Not only are green onions easy to grow, they can also be regrown—along with other fresh produce—from scraps, providing a regenerating supply of fresh vegetables and greens. 

Here’s a simplified list of produce that can regrow from kitchen scraps. If your favorite produce isn’t mentioned below, do a quick online search—you may be surprised to find it, too, can be reproduced: 

• Onions:  Start them indoors or out. It’s simple – cut off the root end of the onion, leaving the roots intact.  When cutting off the bottom, try to leave a 1½- to 2-inch base.  Leave the base to dry in a shaded, ventilated area for a couple hours to allow callousing.  Next, plant the base, roots down, in a pot or directly in your garden where it will get full sun.  Cover with 1-2 inches of potting soil, water as needed, and let it grow. 

• Scallions/green onions:  Cut off the ends an inch from the roots before slicing and dicing.  Place the ends in a glass of water just enough to cover the roots, and set them where they will get direct sunlight.   Change the water every couple of days and watch the greens grow.  When it’s 3-4 inches tall, plant in potting soil.  Snip off what you need without worry of stunting their growth—they will continue to grow as long as you let them. You can regrow leeks and fennel using a similar process.

• Garlic sprouts: To grow, place garlic cloves in a small bowl, glass or jar. Add water until it touches the bottom of the cloves without submerging them to avoid rot.  Place in a sunny window; change out the water every couple of days and the bulbs will produce roots. Green shoots will start to grow out of the top; these are garlic sprouts.  Harvest the sprouts when the shoots are 3 inches or taller.  They’re excellent on baked potatoes, salads, dips, etc.

• Celery: Chop off the base of the celery.  Next, place it in a small saucer or container with the base side down and the cut side facing up. Set the saucer in a sunny windowsill.  Let it sit in water for around a week, changing out water every other day. New growth will develop in the center of the stalk, whereas the outer parts will begin to dry out. Once new growth has turned from yellow to dark green, plant in soil, leaving the new leaves uncovered. Water consistently and watch it regrow. Harvest when celery has fully matured. Repeat the process as many times as you please.

• Romaine lettuce: Cut lettuce a few inches up from the bottom of the heart.  Place in a bowl with heart side down and chopped side facing up.  Fill bowl with half an inch of water and keep in sunlit area, changing water out every day. Sprouts will start to grow from the center. Once sprouted, plant directly in soil.  Pinch off the baby greens to eat, or let the lettuce fully mature. When it reaches 6-8 inches tall, cut the lettuce off above the soil line to leave the base of the plant intact for constant regrowth. •