Regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Leaf cabbage regrown from root_webYes, it does work. At least with some vegetables. Potatoes are the most prolific ones in that department and they seem to be able to grow from even the smallest parts left, for instance, in compost. That is how I end up with potatoes growing in many of the containers in which I grow other vegetables – I only garden in containers, at home, basically – where I never planted them. Even after two to three years in the composter those scraps are still viable.

Other vegetables, however, can (also) be grown from scraps in different ways. Though I have to add a caveat and that is that some will regrow and others won't and that of the same type even.

Celery: The bottoms of stalk celery often will regrow and will then keep producing new celery stalks. I have done it more than once but also managed to kill them more than once. How I killed them? I have no idea.

Cabbage: I have tried this successfully with the bottom of a shop-bought leaf cabbage (a savoy kind of cabbage) and while it took some while (a couple of weeks) it works to regrow new leaves in head formation though they will never set proper heads again, and even multiple “heads” may appear.

Theoretically, more than likely, all cabbages will regrow from such scraps though I cannot entirely vouch for that not having tried and done it. Proper heads, however, even if it was a “head” cabbage will not form again. Or so the theory goes.

Spring Onion: Put the bottoms of those, the bulbs, for you really, theoretically and practically only use the green bits (just like large chives), into a pot and they will regrow. Keep cutting and using the green regrowth.

I have also been running a trial to regrow radishes, for the leaves though as they can be eaten, for new radishes will not happen, by having planted the tops in pots. A couple, unfortunately, died but while others did grow and that quite well. The leaves can be used in stews and such, though they also could be used in salads but they are quite peppery in taste.

Lettuces, of all different kinds, apparently, can also be regrown from the bottom bits but I have not, as yet, experimented in that department as I am not the greatest lettuce fan, even though being vegetarian.

Apparently there are also several others that can be regrown, such as turnips (from their bottoms), as well fennel (also from the base), as well as onions (from root base, though it more often than not does not work), garlic, and apparently even mushrooms can be regrown from the stalk. Will have to give that a try some day.

Maybe it is just a case of experimenting with what can be regrown from scraps (not seeds) – or from cuttings, such as in the case of basil. There may be more there than we are aware of. Most herbs can be regrown from cuttings, but then again those cuttings are not really kitchen scraps.

Then there are others that can be regrown from the seeds that we discard as scraps in the kitchen, such as bell peppers, and as well as others. Getting bell peppers to grow properly in the British or similar climes is not too easy though.

Come on, give it a try. I sure will try more.

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