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How to Grow Vegetables from Scraps

By Sarah Doolan

Let’s face it, our kitchen bins fill up way too quickly and while we could be composting, more often than not, we don’t.

There’s still life left in some of those veggie scraps you toss in the bin or compost, from the tops of carrots and beetroots to the roots of spring onions and leeks and even the stubs of celery. These scraps have the ability to reproduce more veggies – over and over again!

Here’s how

Grow carrot and beetroot salads

You’ve already eaten the roots of these root veggies, meaning they won’t grow more of the same. So look up, not down – they’ll still grow foliage. Toss beet leaves through salads or blend carrot leaves (yes, the leaves!) into pesto. Once you’ve chopped off the tops, sit them in a tray or dish of water. Place in bright light, but away from direct sunlight, and then change the water every 1-2 days to avoid slime build-up. You can leave in the dish or plant out, and harvest in a week or so.

It doesn’t take long for the ferny foliage of carrots to grow.

There’s enough energy in the root remnants to produce beet leaves.

Regrow spring onions and leeks

Spring onions and leeks come from the shops with their roots still in place. So once you’ve chopped the rest of the veg up to cook, place the root ends in a glass or container of water and put in a bright place that’s out of direct sunlight. Change the water every 1-2 days to avoid a build-up of slime, then, once you see them growing taller, replant them into your garden bed or a pot for an ongoing supply.

Lucky you – the roots are still intact when you buy your spring onions and leeks.

They’re so fresh they keep growing when you put them in water.

Regrow celery

The roots have already been chopped off when you buy your celery, but you can still create more as the base of the celery still contains the tissue essential for root production. As well, new stalks will emerge from the centre of the scrap. To start, push skewers or toothpicks through the fat, fleshy part, set it on top of a glass, then fill the glass with water until it touches the celery base. Change water every 1-2 days and place in bright light, but away from direct sunlight. It will take 2-3 week for roots to emerge and then you can plant them out.

Leafy growth starts soon after you water the celery base.

Get the family involved

As well as being a budget buster, these projects are also a great way to help kids fall in love with gardening. It lets them get their hands dirty while developing a hands-on appreciation of where plants – and food – come from.


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