About three months ago I wrote a post (see Container Gardening and Growing Scraps) about experimenting with plants you can grow from scraps or seeds saved from grocery store produce. I figured it was time for an update so you can see what worked and what didn’t!
In this post I’ll give you a little info on what I did to grow these plants, but it isn’t really intended to be a “how-to” article. It’s more to show you how my experiment turned out. There are tons of great articles and videos out there if you want more details on how to do it! I included a video at the end of this post to help you get started.
Plants You Can Grow From Scraps: Success!
I probably had the most fun with this one because you can grow SO MUCH garlic from one bulb! And it’s super easy. I just separated the garlic into cloves, and stuffed them in a glass (root side down) with about an inch of water. Once they started sprouting roots, I planted them outside. I never actually intended to harvest my garlic (it was more for pest control than for eating) but I’ve been using it up more than I expected! Next year I’ll plant more and plan on leaving it in the ground longer so it can get a bit bigger.
2. Green Onions
Green onions are also super easy to grow! You just take the unused portion (with the roots) and stick it in a glass of water and keep it in the window for a few days. These start growing crazy fast! You can plant them outside right away, but it’s kind of fun to watch them grow in the window for a couple of days. I had a ton of them, but ended up pulling them up because they were crowding out my flowers. I kept this one to harvest though.
You can also regrow bulb onions if you cut off the bottom inch above the root end and plant it in soil. I did this and had one little onion start growing, but then the roots were eaten by some sort of larvae.
3. Romaine Lettuce
You can regrow romaine lettuce from the root end scrap. I cut mine a couple inches above the base and placed it in a cup of water in my kitchen windowsill. Once it started getting some leafy growth (but before it sprouted actual roots), I planted it in a pot. After a couple of weeks, It started growing enough that I could have harvested some greens if I wanted to! I decided to hold off and let it go to seed so I could collect them and see how they grow.
I’ll confess that I don’t have any actual lemons, but I do have little lemon trees growing! I saved seeds from two different lemons and only one set of seeds sprouted. I thought that was pretty interesting. There’s no guarantee that these trees will ever produce good lemons, but if you have the ability to graft in some branches from good lemon trees there’s a chance they could! I’m curious to see what kinds of genetics I end up with in these little trees. I hope I can grow some little meyer lemons someday!
So here I just saved some seeds from a roma tomato I bought for salsa. Surprisingly, they actually grew! They sprouted into a super healthy roma plant and it’s even got flowers! I’m curious to see what the fruit looks like, and if it’s any good.
6. Sweet Potatoes
I almost gave up on this one. It took F O R E V E R before I finally got some shoots. I kept digging up my potatoes to see if they had any roots. Most of them rotted, but this one had the tiniest root so I left it in the ground. Eventually I put it in a pot because I needed the row space, and I guess it was able to get a little warmer in there. I’m really excited to see what we can do with these! The leaves are so pretty!
Some people like to use toothpicks and water to sprout their avocado pits, but I opted to just stick it in a pot of soil. I started with three pits, and this is the only one that got a root. It’s taken it a long time, but hopefully I’ll get some leaves soon! This is one of those plants where there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get good fruit, unless you are able to graft in a branch from a good tree. I hope I can get my hands on a hass branch so I can have a shot at growing my own avocados! And I think it would be super fun/useful to learn how to graft
If you want to grow your own plants from scraps, check out this video. It was my starting point for this project!
For more ideas and instructions for plants you can grow from scraps, check out this article from BuzzFeed.
A couple of things I tried were failures. I tried growing celery from a scrap (the same way I did the romaine lettuce), and it did well until I transplanted it into the hoop house. I’m guessing it didn’t like the extra heat, and it quickly turned into compost.
I also tried growing jalapenos from seeds I saved from a store bought pepper. Not a single one sprouted… It was a bummer. Another failure was cilantro. Supposedly you can root cilantro you get from the produce section in water, but mine never sprouted roots.
And now you know of seven plants you can grow from scraps! I’ll try to post another update in a few months so you can see the progress on some of these. I’ve got my fingers crossed for sweet potatoes, lemons, and avocados!