Renewable vegetables: growing new plants from kitchen scraps

Spring onion and lettuce in a glass of water, a potato with an eye and onions with lots of green shoots

I discovered renewable vegetables by accident one day. I had bought spring onions and wanted to keep them fresh as long as possible, so I put the whole bunch in a water jar. Little by little, I used the onion tube, only to be amazed to find a few days later that it kept regrowing. Since then, spring onions have had a permanent place on my windowsill – the current specimens have already been there for several months.

Through a bit of research, I found out that other plants are also sprouting again. Regrowing vegetables has even become a trend now, called regrowing. The advantages are obvious: kitchen waste is recycled, saving money and resources. It is also fun to watch the little plants and their fresh shoots. Various vegetable scraps thus become pretty, edible houseplants.

Renewable vegetables: These varieties are suitable

  • Spring onions
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Salad
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Fennel
  • Beet

How to regrow the different vegetables

Continue to grow leeks and scallions

Ideal for beginners: the two leeks can be grown easily. You will need the bottom end of each vegetable with its white roots. Place them in a container and cover the roots with water. Leeks and scallions can continue to grow permanently this way. Optionally, you can move them to the vegetable bed after some time.

Grow new herbs from a stalk

Also good for beginners are herbs such as basil, rosemary and mint. Place a single stalk in a jar with a little water. Once roots have formed, you can plant the sprout in a pot with soil and enjoy fresh herbs regularly.

Small green lettuce leaves from the remains of a head. Lettuce is a vegetable that always grows back

© Jessica B.

Tender greens: new lettuce leaves sprout after just a few days.

Regrowing lettuce, cabbage and celery stalks

Lettuce regrowing works best with romaine and oak leaf lettuce. Celery and cabbage, especially Chinese cabbage, are also regrowing vegetables. For new crops, you need the stalk of each of these species, which you place in water. New leaves sprout after only a short time. Then you can decide whether to eat the tender greens whole right away or repot the plantlet for more yield.

Fresh greens of fennel and beet

These two vegetables are particularly suitable for regrowing their tasty leaves. For this you will need the fennel stalk or the top of the beet. Place both in small bowls with water. After some time, you can harvest the fresh greens as a salad addition or topping for pasta dishes or the like.

regrow ginger and turmeric

You may already know it: if you don’t use up the tubers of ginger and turmeric in a short time, small pointed shoots form. You can carefully cut these off and plant them in the soil. Make sure that the tip is pointing upwards. After that, patience is required: the shoots develop into respectable green stems quite quickly, but the actual root needs a few months before it can be dug up and used for cooking or homemade ginger shot.

Two freshly harvested garlic bulbs on a wooden board

© Constance L.

The wait was worth it: there is plenty of garlic to harvest.

Growing new onions, garlic, potatoes and sweet potatoes

Especially if potatoes are not stored in a dark and cool place, they quickly become wizened and get "eyes". These sprouting specimens can either be planted directly (z. B. into the Potato Pot) or cut into pieces with 1-2 eyes each. It’s best to let them dry for a few days before planting to prevent them from rotting. The same procedure also applies to sweet potatoes. Recipe tip for the new crop: sweet potato gratin with cardamom!

It is even easier to plant new garlic. Simply stick a single clove into the soil and give it some time to grow. Alternatively, you can grow garlic sprouts by placing the clove in water and harvesting only the green shoots.

It doesn’t take much to regrow onions either. When you peel an onion, cut off the bottom end with the roots anyway. You can put these roots in water for a few days or plant the piece directly into the soil. But often the bulb sprouts before it is used. No problem: these sprouts can be used like spring onions and can be grown just like garlic.

Tips and experience for regrowing vegetables

Change the water of the sprouts regularly, preferably every 2-3 days. How to prevent rot and unpleasant odors. I add a little coffee grounds every now and then, especially with lettuce. Thanks to its nutrients, this is a good natural fertilizer. Apart from that, all vegetables need one thing above all else, especially in the beginning: light and warmth. So choose a sunny location for renewable plant residues.

Despite good care, experience shows that regrowing does not work every time. It’s always worth a try, though; after all, you can only win.

Why not try it out with your favorite vegetables and report back with a comment on how the result was?. Have fun!

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