If you want to grow your own vegetables for quick, cheap food, the absolute quickest – and cheapest – way to get fresh food on your table is growing vegetables from scraps.
Yep, seriously, you can grow your own vegetables from small scraps of leftover vegetables you bought at the store. It’s unbelievably easy and if you’ve got kids it’s a wonderful little gardening or plant science project.
Growing vegetables from scraps is also an amazingly cheap way to grow food frugally as you’re not paying for seeds and lots of these vegetables don’t even need soil or a proper pot to grow them in. You can literally grow them in a jar in your kitchen.
Sounds good, huh?
Well to help you start regrowing vegetables I’ve got for you here:
- A list of the best vegetables to grow from scraps
- PLUS tips on how to regrow vegetables in water.
Do save the tips for quick reference and for more super simple gardening tips for beginners check out my other grow your own posts.
The Best Vegetables To Grow From Scraps
All of these vegetables will grow well from scraps. I’ve roughly ordered them by how useful I think they are when trying to grow your own food.
(I totally know you’re going to raise your eyebrows at some of them. But bizarrely there are a bunch of veggies we’ve got out of the habit of eating even though they can be really tasty and super healthy.)
- Collards & Spring Greens : collard greens – or as we Brits call them spring greens – are I reckon the best vegetable to grow from scraps for frugal food as you really can start a vegetable garden with them. I regrew the spring greens below from scraps in barely a month last year and a small bed of them kept us in fresh green leafy veg all summer long. For a step by step guide check out these tips on growing collard greens from scraps …
- Kale : kale needs no introduction as a super healthy food and again it is super easy to re-grow from the leftover stem.
- Turnips : I know they have a bad name but young turnip roots are actually delicious and turnip greens – which is the bit of the veggie we can regrow – are really healthy and very popular in Italy where they are known cime di rapa. They can be cooked like kale or any cabbage or brassica leaves but can also be eaten young in salad and sandwiches.
- Beetroots : even those of us who love beetroot, often chuck away the leaves but again they are healthy, tasty and can be regrown from scraps.
- Carrots : carrot leaves are another leaf that gets ignored. They are not as useful as the above but can be tasty in pesto and soups.
- Leeks : leeks like all the allium family will regrow from scraps and very easy to regrow quickly.
- Spring Onions : spring onions in theory should be one of the easiest vegetables to grow from scraps as they nearly always come with their roots still on and are very quick to regrow. But in my experience it’s quite fiddly to give them enough water without them getting soggy and they end up rotting so I wouldn’t bother.
- Soft herbs : soft herbs like mint, oregano, parsley, sage & basil are super easy to regrow from cuttings. With a little bit of patience you can grow yourself a decent pot of herbs especially from quick growing mint and basil. And herbs aren’t just good for flavourings. They actually have natural antibiotic powers which can be used in simple natural remedies for colds and the like and are brilliant for repelling all sorts of household & garden pests.
- Celery : celery isn’t the quickest vegetable to grow from scraps but is lots of fun to watch, so is a fab vegetable to regrow with kids.
- Fennel : fennel like celery isn’t the quickest veg to regrow but again is a cool kids gardening project that gives lots of opportunity for exploring plant science.
How To Regrow Vegetables In Water
OK now onto how to actually grow these vegetables from scraps. It really is unbelievably simple:
- Take your cuttings :
- Tops of root veg
- Bottoms of non-root veg
- A few leafy stems of herbs
- Put cuttings in water :
- Root tops in an old jar lid
- Bottoms & herbs in a jar or a small bowl or cup
- Change water every day or so. The roots will drink lots so make sure your jar lid doesn’t dry out.
- Keep your eyes peeled for first signs of growth in just 24 hours – this is a fun bit for kids and a fab opportunity for a plant photo diary.
- As you change water keep a look out for new roots :
- Once you’ve got some decent roots, you can plant them up in pots to grow on indoors or straight out into the garden. If you struggle at all with cats in your garden or foxes, I would plant them in pots first to get them more established, as cats and foxes think its the most enormous fun to dig up newly planted small plants!! I give mine a week in my little greenhouse to toughen up. (The copper tape is to keep slugs & snails off them).
When your vegetables are big enough to start harvesting – in two or three weeks time – don’t yank the whole thing up. Just cut what you need and your veggies will magically grow and grow again, so you have an ongoing source of fresh, free food. How good is that?
For more simple tips on how to grow your own food easily check out these posts …
- Growing vegetables for beginners on a budget
- Vegetables to plant in early spring
- Quick growing vegetables
- Growing zucchini & courgettes in pots
- Growing mushrooms for beginners
And for even more tips follow my grow your own food board on Pinterest.