How to regrow vegetables from offcuts: Our top tips

Growing vegetables is a great way to impress kids and adults alike, but it may seem like a daunting task. We want to help you get growing, so we’ve created a list of the easiest vegetables to regrow from the scraps you’d have otherwise thrown away. You’ll be amazed to find you can grow new leaves or even entirely new plants just from the parts of the plant we don’t eat.    

Why regrow vegetables?

  • Save money. Not only on the cost of the veg but also on fuel/bus fare to the shop to buy them!
  • Save time. You’ll get a continuous source of recipe ingredients and garnishes right when you need them.
  • Reduce waste. You’ll never have to toss out a half-used bunch of vegetables that you forgot where in the fridge.
  • Wow, the world. It’s a foolproof project that’ll impress kids and adults alike, with your mad green-thumb skills.

Some of the methods will require a range of plant pots and soil, but we’ve also got a list of great upcycling ideas, from reusing our tubes to ice cream tubs. 

foods you can regrow from scraps

How to regrow vegetables? 7 examples:

Spring onions

To regrow spring onions, you need to:

  • Slice off the ends of the bulbs, leaving roots attached.
  • Stand the bulbs root-end down in a small jar. Add enough water to cover the roots, but leave the top edges above water.
  • Set on a windowsill and keep the roots moist. After a few days, green shoots will emerge from the tops of the bulbs. After this, the onions will then grow very at a swift pace.
  • Keep the roots submerged and change the water at least once a week.
  • When the shoots are four or five inches long, you can plant them in the ground or a pot filled with good quality potting soil. Repotting is necessary because if you keep the root ends in the jar, they will produce green shoots for a while but will eventually weaken and stop growing. 

You can regrow lettuce by saving the root section at the bottom of the lettuce. To get the best results, use hearts of lettuce like the Little Gem or Romaine varieties.

  • Cut lettuce leaves, making sure to leave 3-5cm of height on the root section.
  • Place the root in a bowl with enough water to submerge the roots (around 1cm).
  • Place this in a sunny position and change the water every other day.
  • After two weeks, when the lettuce sprouts new leaves and roots, you should plant it into potting soil for prolonged growth.
  • Harvest when the leaves grow to baby leaf size (10cm).
tips to regrow celery

As mentioned above, you regrow celery from the base of a matured plant.

  • Cut all celery stems off, leaving 3-5cm of stem at the root section.
  • Place the root in a bowl with warm water.
  • Place the cutting in a sunny position and change the water every other day.
  • When the celery sprouts new leaves, you should plant the root into the soil.
  • Harvest when the plant has large, healthy stalks.

Sweet potatoes
Growing sweet potatoes will take a while, but it’s an exciting project. Unlike a regular potato, if you plant a sweet potato into the ground, it will grow a plant and not produce any more sweet potatoes.

You need to grow ‘slips’ to crop sweet potatoes; these are sections of stems and roots that grow from nodes on the potato. 

It’s best to start growing sweet potatoes indoors between February and April. Once the last frost of spring has passed, you can move the potatoes outside.

  • Pierce toothpicks or wooden skewers into the middle of the sweet potato. Add lots of water into a jar and place it in with the top facing up (this is the pointy end).
  • Place in a sunny position and change the water regularly.
  • Roots, stems, and leaves will begin growing from nodes called eyes on the potato over the next few weeks. 
  • When the slips have grown substantial roots and stems, you can break it off the sweet potato and plant it into soil indoors, potting it on as it gets larger.
  • Sweet potatoes are frost-sensitive, so planting them outdoors is best done after any risk of late frost (end of May – June). Growing them in the ground during the summer is advised because the tubers can get quite big! 
  • You can harvest the potatoes before the frost in the autumn or when leaves begin to turn yellow and die-back.

Forgotten garlic cloves that become too dry are great for growing into new garlic bulbs. The best time to start growing your garlic is between November and April.

You can also use fresh cloves as these will grow even faster!

  • Split a garlic bulb, leaving the skin on each of the cloves.
  • Place the garlic cloves upright into a shallow bowl or jar, with only the bottom of the clove submerged in water. 
  • Place in a sunny position and replace the water every other day.
  • Once the shoots have grown, you can finish here by harvesting them. They are great in pesto or as garnishes for a fresh garlic flavor!
  • If you would like to grow full garlic bulbs, you need to plant these sprouted cloves into the soil. Use a deep pot that is at least 1ft wide and plant one clove per pot.
  • Full bulbs typically take nine months to mature; they are ready when around half of the leaves turn yellow.
tips to regrow vegetables

Sadly you can not regrow whole new carrots from cuttings. You can grow nutritious carrot tops quite effortlessly. These leafy greens are high in vitamin C and K and are best blanched or sautéed.

  • Cut a 2-3cm section from the top of a carrot. Carrot cuttings tend to rot which leads to problems down the line. To prevent this, dry them out over 3-4 days by leaving them in a cool, dry place.
  • Place the dry cutting into potting soil. Submerge most of the cutting so that only the top of the carrot is exposed. 
  • Place the pot on a sunny windowsill and water when the first 2-3cm of soil is dry.
  • Harvest the carrot tops after 2-3 weeks.

Plants with seeds
Many of the fresh foods you eat have seeds, all of which can grow more food.

  • Experiment with growing seeds by separating them from any fleshy plant matter. Chilli peppers are easier to grow, but pulpy foods like a tomato may be more difficult. Removing the pulp reduces the chance of the seed rotting and for seeds like tomatoes allows germination to occur.
  • Dry your seeds by placing them onto paper towels for up to a week.
  • Plant seeds into soil and water regularly!