Step by Step Tutorial on How to Grow Vegetables from Scraps

vegetables in the garden

Not everybody knows how to grow vegetables from scraps. However, this is a very useful skill which you can learn quickly. The idea here is to reuse what remains of your vegetables when cooking, instead of throwing them away. Naturally, this is a way of saving up some money and improving your gardening skills. You should know that some vegetables are harder to grow than others, but they’re still worth the effort. Today we are going to look at some examples of vegetables you can use for your own project on growing them from scraps.

How to Grow Vegetables from Scraps for Beginners

1. Get What You Need

The first step is to gather all the materials you need for your garden with vegetables from scraps. Obviously, you will use the scraps (roots you didn’t use, leaves, etc.). Besides that, you should buy some

  • clear containers;
  • garden soil;
  • a planter.

The clear containers are used for storing the scraps in water until they root again, while the rest for when you need to plant the vegetable.

2. Grow Lettuce

Close up of lettuce leaves found in a pink bowl
Image source

Lettuce is one of the vegetables you should think first when deciding on how to grow vegetables from scraps. Cut it and leave around 2 inches of the base untouched. Put the base of the lettuce in a clear container (or simply a glass), together with ½ inch of water. Keep the glass in the sunlight and change the water daily. In around a week, you should see some new leaves sprouting, as well as some roots beginning to form. Plant the lettuce in the soil. You can harvest it when the leaves are 6 – 8 inches long.

3. Basil

Close up of basil leaves found in a ceramic pot
Image source

Take the basil stems (3 inches from a fresh stem) that have leaf nodes and place them in a glass of water. Just like with lettuce, you should keep the glass in the sunlight. Make sure the leaves stay above the water. When the roots grow to 2 inches in length, take the plant and move it to a pot. The same process can be applied for mint as well.

4. Carrots

A bunch of carrots with greenery seen from above
Image source

Take some fresh carrots with some greenery at the top. Cut off a piece of 2 inches from the crown and put them in a saucer with the cut side down. Add water until they’re half submerged. The saucer should stay on a windowsill so that it has enough light. As time passes, add some more water to prevent the tops from drying. In 1-2 weeks, you will see them sprouting.

5. Celery

White man hands chopping celery on a wooden surface
Image source

Another one of our ideas on how to grow vegetables from scraps is celery. Cut the celery, but leave 2 inches of the base. Take it and put it on its base in a glass. Add ½ inch of water and keep it all in the sunlight. Every other day, change the water. In around a week, you should notice the leaves in the center turning a dark green. Next, transplant it into the soil. Let it grow and when you see it’s full of stalks, you can harvest it.

6. Garlic

Several garlic cloves placed on a wooden chopper
Image source

We’re sure it happened to you as well to see in your pantry garlic sprouting green shoot. As you might already know, the green part has a bitter flavor, so it’s not recommended for cooking. But instead of throwing the garlic away, you can take advantage of it and grow some more. Take the whole bulb or just the budding clove and place it in a bowl or cup. Add water until you cover the bottom of the cup and touch the cloves.

It’s important not to submerge the cloves, otherwise, the water will be smelly, cloudy, and they will rot. In a few days, the garlic will start growing roots. Change the water every couple of days. However, you don’t need to plant it into the soil. Just change the water and offer it enough light. When you see the shoots reaching 3 inches in height, you can harvest it.

7. Onions

A bunch of colorful onions and white garlic
Image source

Cut the onion bottom, but leave all the roots intact. It’s best to have as much as possible from the bottom. Ideally, you should cut a 1 ½ or 2 inches of the “meat”. Let it dry a couple of days in an area with a good ventilation and with shade. It might even take only a couple of hours for the onion to grow the necessary callous, so check on it.

Take a pot and fill it 2/3 of the volume with compacted soil. Make a hole in the center and place the onion bottom there. Cover it up with another thin layer of soil (1-2 inches). Water it when you notice the soil is dry. When the onion develops several leaves, take it out of the pot. Remove the old scales and separate the plants by slicing them. One onion may give off more than 1 plant.

8. Lemongrass

Lemongrass chopped on a white surface
Image source

Another step in our guide on how to grow vegetables from scraps is to grow your own lemongrass. A popular element in the Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, it has a fresh flavor people love. Take the lemongrass and cut the tops off. Put the stalks in water and change the latter every 2 days. In around 2-3 weeks you will see that the stalks start growing some roots. When you notice the roots are solid, plant the stalks. Make sure you choose a sunny location.

9. Rosemary

Rosemary leaves on small branches
Image source

Cut 2-3 inches parts from the top of rosemary stalks. Try to get some parts that belong to new growth. Pull and strip the leaves off the stem, but leave a couple at the top. This will give the stem some energy to support the new root growth. Place the cuttings in a container with water and let them sit there for a while. Make sure water is covering the leaf nodes on the stem but is found below the leaves. Every few days, replace the water. Rinse the stems when you repeat the process.

Depending on the season and the conditions, the roots may take even 2 months to grow. For this reason, it’s better to keep an eye on it. Then, transplant it to the soil and you can have your own rosemary supply.

10. Avocado

Close up of an avocado sprout growing out of a seed in a white pot
Image source

One of the most difficult things, if you want to know how to grow vegetables from scraps, is to grow an avocado plant. Take the seed of an avocado fruit and wash it. Take three toothpicks and suspend it over a water-filled container. Make sure the broad end is down and the water covers 1 inch of the seed. Place it in direct sunlight and add water when needed.

In 2 – 6 weeks, you will see roots and stems appear. When the stem grows to 6 – 7 inches, cut three inches out of it. The roots will get thick, and the stem will leaf out again. Then, place it in a pot that has a diameter of 10 ½ inches. Put the seed half in the rich humus soil. Water it lightly and frequently and offer it plenty of sunlight.

When the stem reaches 12 inches in length, cut half of it. This will encourage the appearance of new shoots. However, if you grow a plant from a seed, you will wait between 5 and 13 years for it to flower and to have a fruit. Moreover, the fruit may not be good for eating.

11. Ginger

Two slices cut out of a ginger root, on a wooden surface
Image source

Yet another suggestion if you want to know how to grow vegetables from scraps is ginger. Cut a part of a ginger rhizome and place it in potting soil. Make sure that the small bugs are heading upwards. If you don’t know what part to choose, you should know that the rhizome is the part you are cooking from the ginger. Place the entire container in direct sunlight. The environment should be moist and warm. Once you notice the plant is established, you can harvest it. Take out the entire plant from the soil, cut a piece of the rhizome and then replant it.

12. Potatoes

Close up of a white potatoes mound
Image source

Most likely you ended up at some point with potatoes that got wrinkly and started sprouting eyes. Don’t throw them away, but practice on them how to grow vegetables from scraps. Cut out sections that contain minimum 2 eyes. Place them 8 inches deep into a soil filled with nutrients. If you don’t have a soil that is rich in nutrients, add compost. As they grow, potatoes will spread out, so make sure you cover the new roots with soil as well.

13. Pineapple

Close up of pineapples placed in a straight line
Image source

We end our guide on how to grow vegetables from scraps with a difficult choice that’s not a vegetable, but it represents a challenge: the pineapple. Many avoid trying to grow pineapple indoors because there’s no guarantee you will get a good product at the end. The principle behind is rather simple: you need to cut off the crown and place it in water. Soon it will begin to grow some roots, moment when you should plant it in the soil. From this point on, it might take up to three years for the plant to reach maturity, so you need to be patient.

Finally, you can see here a video illustrating some of the steps described above:


Learning how to grow vegetables from scraps is a great idea for those who want to improve their gardening skills. Most of the processes are very simple, so you can even ask your kids to help you with some steps. Other than that, you should think about all the money you can save if you choose to take this way.

Image source: 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts