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How to Grow Fruits & Vegetables from Food Scraps

Instead of tossing those veggie stems, butts and seeds, give them new life by regrowing them into plants. These gardening tips will help you get started.

Don’t toss those food scraps! Did you know that you can actually grow new plants from common food scraps that are so often destined for the garbage or compost bin? The stems, butts and seeds from many common fruits and vegetables can be turned into a fresh new crop with soil, water, sunlight and a little know-how. Here are 11 grocery-store staples you can easily grow more of at home from the food scraps you already have. So reduce your food waste and get fresh produce at your fingertips with these, er, scrappy tips.

1. Celery

Remove roughly 2 inches from the base of a bunch of celery and place in a shallow bowl with water, spraying the top daily to keep it moist. Replace with fresh water every couple of days until a new root system emerges, then transplant into the ground.

2. Herbs

Most herbs will propagate through cuttings—snip at a node (where sections of the plant merge), and place the cut portion in a jar of water on a windowsill. Replace the water every one or two days until roots emerge, then transplant to a container or the ground.

3. Garlic

Garlic is one of the easiest foods to grow from kitchen scraps—simply take cloves and place them pointy-side up in the ground, 4-6 inches apart. Plant them outside in fall before the first frost, and enjoy fresh garlic the following year. Plant them inside in a container any other time and enjoy garlic greens, but not a full head.

4. Ginger

If you’ve ever bought the exact amount of ginger you need for a recipe, you’re our hero. If you’re like most of us and always have some left over, give it new life by planting it and growing more! Soak the root in warm water overnight, then plant it sideways in a container, cover with soil and place in a sunny spot. Keep the soil consistently moist, and within several months you’ll have enough ginger to harvest.

5. Green Onions
Green onions

If you’re only using the green part of the onions, retain the white part with a small amount of pale green and place it in water on a sunny windowsill. Refresh the water regularly and use green portions as they grow, or transplant into a pot with soil for more extended use.