How To Regrow Vegetables From Kitchen Scraps

Turmeric replanted from roots.

Vegetables are expensive and in times like these when going to the market or supermarket means putting our health at risk, wouldn’t it be good if we could slash our grocery bill by growing certain foods ourselves?  Self-provisioning prompted by high prices for produce and empty veggie shelves in some supermarkets have prompted my family to grow our own foods.

Given the many benefits of productive gardening, there has been an increase in self-sufficiency in an intelligent response to the protracted pandemic situation. Many people, while sheltering at home, have turned to growing their own vegetables. My parents living in Ipoh who are in their late seventies have turned to regrowing most of their herbs and vegetables.   

When making a trip to the supermarket just to get a bunch of spring onions seemed so arduous with the strict SOPs, wearing of PPE and post-shopping self and groceries disinfection, my mother-in-law and I decided to plant vegetables and herbs from kitchen scraps.  One and a half years on, we are still regrowing kitchen scraps in used takeaway containers and tiny pots from our apartment balcony and kitchen windowsill.

What Vegetables and Herbs Can You Regrow?

There are many vegetables and herbs that you can regrow from scraps even without a garden. It’s fun, free, sustainable, and delicious.

These are some of the vegetables, tubers, and herbs that can be regrown from their parts and pieces in a tropical climate:

  1. Spring onion
  2. Cilantro / coriander leaves
  3. Parsley
  4. Garlic
  5. Malabar Spinach
  6. Bok Choy
  7. Ginger
  8. Turmeric (the leaves can be eaten too!)
  9. Tarragon
  10.  Potato
  11. Sweet Potato
  12. Lemongrass

Instead of throwing out those leftover stems and roots, simply place them in a shallow bowl or repurposed plastic container with a little water at the bottom. Place the container with your baby plant at a place with shaded sunlight and mist the leaves with water every day. After 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens, you can transplant your spring onion or Malabar Spinach into the soil.

The next time you’ve used up the edible parts of a vegetable or herb, check to see if it’s something that you can regrow in your home. Make it a fun experiment for the family during your time spent sheltering at home.  The kids will have something to look forward to everyday.  

Spring onions

There are many methods of growing spring onions. All types of onions will regrow and it’s a cinch to grow and regrow them. I will share with you two of our tried and tested methods, grown in confined areas in our apartment balcony and kitchen.

Growing From Onion Bulbs

Peel off the skin of onions, leaving the last layer of skin intact. Soak the root part of the onions in a container of shallow water. After several days, you’ll see roots and tiny green onions sprouting.  Change the water every other day. We leave the container on our kitchen windowsill.  When the spring onions are about 10cm in height, transfer the onions to a pot with potting soil and leave it on the balcony or garden. They grow better with shaded sunlight and don’t forget to water them every day.  

Spring onions sprouting out from onion bulbs soaked in water.

Regrowing From Spring Onion Roots

Buy one clump of spring onions from the supermarket. Use the green tops for recipes and leave about an inch attached to the roots and place them in a repurposed plastic container filled with a little water or plant it in potting soil. You will have new spring onions sprouting out in just days.

My edible garden from an apartment balcony with potted spring onions on the ledge and Red Malabar Spinach, Thai Basil and Rue herb (Stink Grass) in the foreground.

Cilantro / Coriander Leaves

Just like spring onions, herbs like cilantro and parsley can be regrown from their roots.  The steps are similar to regrowing spring onions from the roots. Use the green tops for recipes and leave about an inch attached to the roots and place them in a saucer of water or plant the root portion in the soil. 

Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach can be easily regrown from stems, again and again!  Buy a bunch of Malabar Spinach from the supermarket to start the project and you will never have to buy it again.  Use the leaves and soft stems for cooking and keep a few hard stems for regrowing.  Trim the stems to about 6” and cut them just below a node. Plant the stems in a pot of potting soil and allow them to root. Alternatively, cuttings can also be rooted in water and then planted in a pot.  

Once you’ve harvested your Malabar Spinach leaves, all you need to do is water them and wait patiently for the next harvest. Malabar Spinach leaves will regrow in just a matter of days. What could be easier?

Red Malabar Spinach replanted using stems.
Foreground – Red Malabar Spinach ready to be harvested. Background – Cilantro, spring onions and Green Malabar Spinach regrown from scraps.

Ginger

All you need is a piece of fresh ginger, some water, and some soil to get a plant growing. Ginger root is very easy to grow and once you get started, you can keep your supply of ginger in abundance. All you have to do is plant a piece of ginger root in potting soil, making sure that the buds are facing up. You will notice new shoots and new roots in about a week. The ginger roots can be harvested in about 6 months. Remember to save a piece of the rhizome so that you can replant it.

From my parents’ garden – from a single piece of ginger root, it multiplied to about half a dozen of roots. During the process, ginger flowers and foliage sprang beautifully.
Mesmerizing ginger flowers.
Regrow the turmeric roots in the soil and new turmeric roots will grow.
Tarragon is easy to root in water. Place the stems in a glass of water for a few weeks until mature roots have grown before transplanting them to potting soil.
Beautiful Tarragon plants, grown from cuttings. Tarragon is an aromatic culinary herb with impressive health benefits.

Growing your own food when you have yet to buy the seeds and gardening paraphernalia may put a downer on your first step to creating an edible garden.  Now that you know you can grow food from kitchen scraps and using things you already have at home, you have to try your hand at this fun project.  When you see how bountiful this project gets, I’ll wager that you’ll be so pleased with the harvest that you’ll want to keep this sustainable project going.  By growing food from kitchen scraps, you can connect with nature, reduce food wastage, have inexpensive organic vegetables, and save some money.  Don’t forget to rope in your kids in this fun project!  Seeing how food grows can be quite a revelation to a child.


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Health Freak Mommy
Author: Health Freak Mommy

A health freak mom to 3 teenage girls. Blogger since April 2007.