Do It Yourself

16 Sustainable Gardening Foods That Re-Grow From Scraps




The next time you make dinner for yourself and your family, you may want to think twice before you toss your kitchen scraps into the trash or compost pile…

Did you know that there are a good deal of commonly used vegetables and herbs that will actually regrow from the scraps that you normally throw away?

I had heard that you could do this with pineapple, but I was surpsied to see some of the other plants that will actually regrow.

Check out this article that I found by Andy Whiteley, over on  Wake Up World:

16 Sustainable Gardening Foods That Re-Grow From Scraps

Looking for a healthy way to get more from your garden? Like to know your food is free of the pesticides and other nasties that are often sprayed on commercial crops? Re-growing food from your kitchen scraps is a good way to do it!

There’s nothing like eating your own home- grown vegies, and there are heaps of different foods that will re- grow from the scrap pieces that you’d normally throw out or put into your compost bin.

It’s fun. And very simple … if you know how to do it.

Just remember … the quality of the “parent” vegetable scrap will help to determine the quality of the re-growth. So, wherever possible, I recommend buying local organic produce, so you know your re-grown plants are fresh, healthy and free of chemical and genetic meddling.

Leeks, Scallions, Spring Onions and Fennel

You can either use the white root end of a vegetable that you have already cut, or buy a handful of new vegetables to use specifically for growing.

Simply place the white root end in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. I keep mine in the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water each week or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.


Lemongrass grows just like any other grass. To propagate it, place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a glass jar with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position.

Within a week or so, new growth will start to appear. Transplant your lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor position. You can harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.

Celery, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage

Similar to leeks, these vegetables will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water – enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position, occasionally spraying your cutting with water to keep the top moist.

After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.

Alternatively you can plant your cutting directly into soil (without starting the process in water) but you will need to keep the soil very moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear. 


Ginger is very easy to re-grow. Simply plant a spare piece of ginger rhizome (the thick knobbly bit you cook with) in potting soil with the newest (ie. smallest) buds facing upward. Ginger enjoys filtered, not direct, sunlight in a warm moist environment.

Before long it will start to grow new shoots and roots. Once the plant is established and you’re ready to harvest, pull up the whole plant, roots and all. Remove a piece of the rhizome, and re-plant it to repeat the process.

Ginger also makes a very attractive house-plant, so if you don’t use a lot of ginger in your cooking you can still enjoy the lovely plant between harvests.


Re-growing potatoes is a great way to avoid waste, as you can re-grow potatoes from any old potato that has ‘eyes’ growing on it. Pick a potato that has robust eyes, and cut it into pieces around 2 inches square, ensuring each piece has at least one or two eyes. Leave the cut pieces to sit at room temperature for a day or two, which allows the cut areas to dry and callous over. This prevents the potato piece from rotting after you plant it, ensuring that the new shoots get the maximum nutrition from each potato piece.

Potato plants enjoy a high-nutrient environment, so it is best to turn compost through your soil before you plant them. Plant your potato pieces around 8 inches deep with the eye facing upward, and cover it with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the other 4 inches empty. As your plant begins to grow and more roots appear, add more soil. If your plant really takes off, mound more soil around the base of the plant to help support its growth.


You can re-grow a plant from just a single clove – just plant it, root-end down, in a warm position with plenty of direct sunlight. The garlic will root itself and produce new shoots. Once established, cut back the shoots and the plant will put all its energy into producing a tasty big garlic bulb. And like ginger, you can repeat the process with your new bulb.


Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.

As you use your home-grown onions, keep re-planting the root ends you cut off, and you’ll never need to buy onions again.

Sweet Potatoes

When planted, sweet potato will produce eye-shoots much like a potato. Bury all or part of a sweet potato under a thin layer of soil in a moist sunny location. New shoots will start to appear through the soil in a week or so. Once the shoots reach around four inches in height, remove them and re-plant them, allowing about 12 inches space between each plant. It will take around 4 months for your sweet potatoes to be ready. In the meantime, keep an eye out for slugs… they love sweet potatoes.

To propagate sweet potatoes, it is essential to use an organic source since most commercial growers spray their sweet potatoes to prevent them from shooting.


Mushrooms can be propagated from cuttings, but they’re one of the more difficult vegies to re-grow. They enjoy warm humidity and nutrient-rich soil, but have to compete with other fungus for survival in that environment. Although it is not their preferred climate, cooler environments give mushrooms a better chance of winning the race against other fungi.

Prepare a mix of soil and compost in a pot (not in the ground) so your re-growth is portable and you can control the temperature of your mushroom. I have found most success with a warm filtered light during the day and a cool temperature at night. Just remove the head of the mushroom and plant the stalk in the soil, leaving just the top exposed. In the right conditions, the base will grow a whole new head. (In my experience, you’ll know fairly quickly if your mushroom has taken to the soil as it will either start to grow or start to rot in the first few days).


To re-grow pineapples, you need to remove the green leafy piece at the top and ensure that no fruit remains attached. Either hold the crown firmly by the leaves and twist the stalk out, or you can cut the top off the pineapple and remove the remaining fruit flesh with a knife (otherwise it will rot after planting and may kill your plant). Carefully slice small, horizontal sections from the bottom of the crown until you see root buds (the small circles on the flat base of the stalk). Remove the bottom few layers of leaves leaving about an inch base at the bottom of the stalk.

Plant your pineapple crown in a warm and well drained environment. Water your plant regularly at first, reducing to weekly watering once the plant is established. You will see growth in the first few months but it will take around 2-3 years before you are eating your own home-grown pineapples.

View the original article here (and see a bonus tip not included in this article).

Have you ever regrown any of these?

I am really interested in the pineapple (It goes great when sliced, dusted with cinnamon sugar, and served up next to a juicy steak)!

Do you know of any more that you plants, vegetables, or herbs that you can regrow from cuttings or scraps?

Let us know what you think about sustainable gardening.


Want to add some seeds in with your scrap grown veggies? Survival Seeds Playing Cards are a great companion to scrap grown vegetables, they include tips on where, when, and how to grow healthy food for you family! For $2.95 s/h you will have 52 new kinds of seeds ready to grow in your garden! Click Here ==>

Want more tips? Check out these great articles on our site:

Vertical and Container Gardening: Charts and Images

5 Gardening Tips and Tricks That Everyone Should Know

Survival Gardening: 20 Plants to Grow This Spring

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  1. Vicki

    February 17, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    You can also regrow carrots. Cut off the tops of the carrots, leaving about 1/2 to 1 inch of the carrot. Replant the carrot, and it will regrow. I have several carrots growing in my garden that I have regrown, along with lettuce, celery, scallions, and the potted pineapple in my greenhouse. If you can find some turmeric root (Asian grocery stores are usually the best source) you can pot it and grow it like ginger–the two plants are related.

  2. C.Green

    February 17, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    This is exciting but knowing which are GMO or not is My MAIN Concern if
    I were to grow any foods?? Also, How does one get the seeds out of a fruit/veggie AND dry it for use in the Future?? I’d hate to get seeds
    & dry them just to learn they were done wrong & won’t grow for me!! I
    would be sick over this…OR worse, you trade someone “Seeds” for an Item you really need & the seeds don’t grow….They needed food ^ counted on you & now they are hungry, having lost several months waiting for the seeds to produce & nothing good happened! Who has books
    to help me dry seeds “Correctly”?? peace & thanks

    • Ron

      March 5, 2014 at 8:00 AM

      C. Green,
      I take my seeds and place them on a corelle plate and sit the plate of seeds in my oven. If you have a natural gas stove, the pilot light heat will dry them without burning them. Of course you must check them daily to make sure they don’t dry out all together and be useless. I also dry my eggshells in this fashion and then crush them into a powder with a mortar and pistil to add to my tomato plant holes when planting.

  3. Bob

    February 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    I have been replanting root veggies for several years with great
    success. I find Walmart potatoes sprout in about a month.
    You gave me an idea. I will try veggies like romaine bok choy
    etc which grow mainly above ground in my aquaponic system

  4. Rosabel Baldwin

    February 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Pineapple. I grew mine as you suggested in the beginning..twisting the top off. I had no idea what it would do, but did it as a challenge. I placed it in a saucer of water until I saw roots sprouting, then I planted it in soil and placed it in my south facing bedroom window. For four years I watered and nursed it as the leaves grew so long they almost crowded me out of the room. But after 4 years of caring for it, as I was wiping the leaves down, I noticed a little white speck where the leaves sprout from. Was going to pick it out, but realized it was a fruit growing. That summer I harvested a baseball sized fruit that was so sweet and juicy. Gave the plant to a friend and it died soon after. Homesick for it’s Alaska home?

    • Daniel

      April 9, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      I wanted to do pineapples but read somewhere that after your years of work these plants will only usually produce one fruit, sometimes two but that is it. So I don’t believe your friend did anything wrong to the plant it was just done.

  5. FACE

    February 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Two questions:

    Do the leeks/scallions/spring onions NOT need any additional nutritional sources? Are the water and sunlight (for photosynthesis) sufficient enough to produce a nutritious vegetable, from one cutting to the next, over and over?

    Recommendations on plant spacing, and planting-to-harvesting time frames – especially for those to be grown outdoors – would’ve been extremely useful.


  6. yogiman

    February 17, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    If you’re confined to space and want “home grown” potatoes, get several old used tires. Fill the first one with dirt and start your plant. As it grows, add another tire and dirt. Go as high as you like to grow.

    They won’t be big potatoes but there will be a “bucket full”.

    • Mike

      February 22, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      Please do not use tires, they are fine for average plants, but they are not good around food. Many people also use old railroad ties for frames. Both leach stuff into the soil your food is eating. They make cloth tubes, with rings to hold the dirt, to grow potatoes in. Same principal. As the plant grows the tube gets taller. Like the tires they also have a small footprint.

      • Kathy

        February 26, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        Where did you get cloth tubes?

  7. harley

    February 17, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Sweetpotatoes – stick 3 tooth picks 120 degree apart and stick the end into water. Multiple new plants will grow out and form roots. Plant the plants in hills I think about a couple of feet apart. What you do with the rest of the potatoe is up yo you

  8. MSUEH

    February 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Yup, have done most of these, easily. My brother in Miami has a fruiting avocado tree – which he started from seed. Yummy. Not warm enough in WA to do that though ;-/

  9. Heather Darnell

    February 17, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    I planted a pineapple top as you described several months ago in SC. I heavily mulched it for the bizarre snow and ice, and covered it with a heavy jar. But my understanding is that it can take more like seven years, and that each plant would produce at most two pineapples! We will see…

  10. richard1941

    February 17, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    I am still using scallions that I brought home from the grocery store two years ago. Just cut ’em off above the root area. Also, Chinese “stinky weed” (AKA garlic chives) just keeps growing forever. I let some go to seed and now I have an infinite supply. I tried celery a long time ago, but it did not work out. Gotta try again.

    Also, be advised that the leaves of many vegetables such as radishes and carrots are actually edible. Why waste them on your horse?

    I hate pineapple; I don’t think I’ll try that one. Where can I get some celery root that is guaranteed to be vegan, holistic, homeopathic, hallal, kosher, and gluten-free? Is it safe to eat stuff that was growing in dirt? Who knows what the bears did in that dirt when it was their land?

    • richard1941

      February 17, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Also, I did the toothpick in an avocado seed thing and got a real tree with the small purple fruit. The tree had three main branches. I cut two of these off, and grafted twigs from a tree with the large green fruit. My high school German teacher taught me how to do this as her father was an orchardman (cherries) in Czech in the 1930;s. For a long time we had one tree with two kinds of fruit. The price was right!

      Hint: the pointed end of the seed should be pointed UP. Also, never plant a tree close to a property line, fence, or building. They grow bigger than you expect! This I know from bitter experience.

      • Jay

        August 20, 2018 at 2:28 PM

        Hey Richard , that’s an interesting talent which You learned and I now have learned also , thanks … and My Dad’s side came from what is now Czechia as well ! I’m interested to learn more about My Family’s History … so do You still have contact with Your old Teacher !? I wonder if You could get in touch with Her , We might be related … most of My Family were separated since 1948 , as The Czechoslovakian Republik chose to holocaust Its Own People Who weren’t Slavic … so They were either murdered , or tortured , raped and imprisoned or concentration encamped and/or marched to the Borders and thrown out of the Country of Their Birth for thousands of Years for absolutely no reason whatsoever , other than speaking the German Language and having a History of German Culture !!! It was a mass extermination with no Young Men around to defend Them , Czechoslovakia’s dirty Secret Ethnic Cleansing , which the entire Planet has seemed to overlook … so the few older Folks have long passed away and The Czech Republic has totally destroyed All Records of Those People Who had Always lived There and Who were or spoke German ; Austrians , Germans , Hungarians , Romanians (, and Czechs and Poles Who married Them too ; All Bohemians , Moravians and Silesians Of These Backgrounds included) !8 Plus , in a Complete Coverup , because The Czech Republic does not want to admit or reinstate or compensate or even acknowledge It’s horrible betrayal of It’s Own Citizens , and The Horrors that The Czech Governments and Some of People have done in Their Recent Past … only within the Last Seventy Years … and The Laws which They enacted then to make This Awful Holocaust happen are still on The Books Today and The very Same Laws are in The Czech Republic Right Now , believe it or not !!! Totally Incredible , but very very True Truth !8 Yet The Czech Republik is a full shameful Member of The European Union , with no investigation or burden of responsibility taken or given to Them either way whatsoever !!! Incredible in This Modern World in which We All Live !8 ……Well , My Name is Jay and l’m glad to have read Your Article Comments and wish that You can get in touch somehow … and I’m looking forward to Your Response ! Take Care !

  11. Perry

    February 18, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    I have been twisting tops off pineapples for at least 15 years. The resultant plants grow large and fill my home as well as the homes of family and friends. The plants thrive inside during the cold seasons and outside in the summer. Just never do get fruit. When I lived in Puerto Rico I would get fruit in two tears or so.

  12. Amy

    February 18, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Just a note on the sweet potatoes; Take a whole sweet potato, suspend it over a dish of water, or a pyrex bread pan, with just a small part of the sweet potato in the water. Use tooth picks or those corn holders for corn on the cob to keep it suspended. In a very short time, you will see many small plants begin to grow out of the potato.

    When the plant, called a slip is a few inches tall, carefully remove it and place it in water to root. When it is rooted, and about 5-6″ tall it can go into the soil to grow potatoes. You can continue to use that same sweet potato over and over for more slips.
    Sweet potatoes like warmth, 70 degrees or higher to really begin to grow well. We did this method last year using only ONE potato, and harvested about 70-80 lbs of potatoes in the fall.

  13. Keith Darby

    February 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    I have been trying to grow pineapples for 5 years without success now I know the correct way to do it I hope for better results. I grow squashes and tomatoes without even trying here, I just throw the seeds on the compost heap and away they go!
    I also threw some Papaya seeds on there about 2 months ago and I now have 12 trees about 3 to 4 ft in height!

    I have lemon grass as an ornamental plant, that needs cutting regularly!


  14. TJ Shine

    February 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    In Washington State I found a potato in the cupboard that had rolled to the back and starting growing “eyes”, I simply stuck the whole potato, root eyes and all, into our garden. Three months later I went to clean the garden out of weeds and prep it for planting and I noticed this huge wed in the back. I had forgotten about the potato planting and when I pulled out this weed I had a chain of about 20-30 potatoes come out of the ground! Easy-peasy!

  15. Mike

    February 22, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    Dried beans. They are easy to grow and take little maintenance. Save out about 3 dozen beans from a bag. They are planted dry and close together. Bury them 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. We grow pole beans in old wine barrels that have been cut in half. These are available at most gardening stores at the beginning of spring. Beans are an incredible food that can keep you and your family well fed year round. Keep them cool and dry, and they will last through the winter. And just a few more beans can feed you for another year.

  16. Ron

    March 5, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I have grown new plants from BEET Tops, CARROT tops, RADISH tops, BRUSSEL SPROUT bottom ends, EGGPLANT tops, GINSING tops, CAULIFLOWER HEAD bottoms, HORSERADISH tops and many varieties of melon bottom ends. My garden is always growing whether inside of the house during the winter or outside during the summer. The best thing is – NO PRESERVATIVES or CHEMICALS! Simply follow Vicki’s advice about cutting. I plant directly into aged compost and they do very well! I do suggest that you start the new growths in the house in the winter to provide faster growth once late spring/summer allow for planting outside.

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  28. Mitch Faircloth

    August 8, 2019 at 12:56 PM

    One of the easiest ways to grow tomatoes without having to dig the seeds out of the fruit. Simply slice the tomato. Lay the slices on top of some moist soil in a pot and walk away. The meat of the tomato will feed the seeds. Once the shoots appear, cover with some more soil and water. Once shoots get 6 inches or more, separate and transplant. Can grow indoors or out.

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