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How to Grow Vegetables Using Produce Scraps

Coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables are few and far between, but that doesn’t mean saving money on produce is just a dream. Several store-bought vegetables can be easily grown in your own backyard or a pot in the kitchen with just a touch of TLC. Don’t worry about needing a green thumb — these guys are so eager to get back to nature they practically grow themselves!

 

 

 

Green Onions

The next time you bring home a bunch, save the often-discarded white-tipped roots and stick those babies in a jar of water in the kitchen. In a few days you’ll notice longer roots telling you it’s time to plant the growing greens in the ground. If you don’t have outdoor space, green onions will do just fine in a small pot in the kitchen.

Garlic

Have you ever found a forgotten clove of garlic that’s tips had turned green? Simply tuck those cloves (green tips facing up) in the dirt and water sparingly. In a week or so you’ll notice a single stalk emerging from the ground. Once that stalk has grown a curly tail, keep an eye out for the plant’s lower leaves to turn yellow — that’s how you’ll know when the garlic in the ground is ready to be harvested.

Celery

After chopping off the stalks from the base, take a gander down the remaining stalks at the tiny green leaves peeking back at you. Those, my friends, are baby celery stalks just waiting to make their debut. Keep the base cut side up in a shallow dish of water and set it in a sunny spot for 5-7 days, changing the water at least once. You’ll soon notice those baby stalks emerging upwards, and that’s your cue to stick them in the ground and watch ‘em grow. If you want your celery to grow grocery-store straight, slip a plastic barrel made from cutting off the top and bottom of a 2 liter bottle over the bunch. When your next recipe requires a single stalk or two, just snip as you please and leave the rest to keep on growing.

Potatoes

Nothing beats the satisfaction of harvesting your very own home grown spuds…well, except how good they taste! And since growing potatoes in a bucket is my preferred method, no heavy digging is required to pull up your bounty. While you can certainly purchase “seed” potatoes, the store-bought spuds will work just as well. Select a potato that has plenty of sprouts or “eyes” then slice the potato in two to achieve the most “eyes” on both slices.  Let the slices sit out on your counter for 3 days or until the cut flesh forms a dry, leather like skin. Once that’s done, find a well draining pot or bucket and add a few inches of soil to the bottom before placing your potato slices cut side down, at least 4 inches apart. Cover the slices with a few inches of soil, when the plants have grown a few inches out of the ground, cover them lightly with soil and continue to cover the new growth with soil as the plant grows. Water sparingly — potatoes will rot in water-logged soil. When the leaves on the plant have withered, it’s time to dump your bucket and collect your bounty.

Herbs

While it is possible to use a clipping from fresh herbs to grow some more, I like to invest in the fancy fresh herbs that still have their roots and soil intact. For only a few cents more you are taking home a well established plant that would cost at least $5 from the local garden store. Go ahead and use what you need for your recipe and then stick the herb’s root base in water for a few days to give those thirsty roots a drink. Once the roots have plumped up, it’s time to stick those herbs in well-draining garden soil and call it done.

Once you’ve had a taste of home grown, it’s hard to go back to store-bought grub. Not only does growing a few kitchen basics save you money, it’s also a relaxing way to sample “the simple life.” Check your zone for the best planting season in your area and get to growing!

This is a guest post by Vanessa from Dallas, TX
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15 thoughts on “How to Grow Vegetables Using Produce Scraps”

  1. Medicmom says:

    Going to try green onions in just a little while I have a bunch in refrigerator right now.

  2. Can you do this with regular onions, too? I have a big yellow onion on a shelf with a HUGE green sprout.

    • Medicmom says:

      I have had luck with this too.

    • Vanessa says:

      Yes, you can but you can skip the step of placing it in a jar of water. Instead, add water to the hole in the ground before adding your onion sprout side up. This onion will continue to grow a stalk which can be trimmed and used like green onions and by next year it will grow additional bulbs.

  3. Maris says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! I have a big garden and I love to save money, so this is just up my alley :)

  4. tommy zabawa says:

    I have been growing tomatoes and peppers from the seeds of store bought tomatoes and peppers for years. Just take out the seeds from them, let them dry out on a piece of wax pepper for 2 weeks and plant them in a small pot on a sunny window. I make mine into a small greenhouse, take a piece of glad wrap and put it on top of the pot and secure with a rubber band. Mist with a spray bottle, the soil and mist the plastic every 3 days. They will germinate faster that way and the plastic hold the humidity in. I also tried and it worked, clip off the tops of tomato plants, about 6″ and put them in water, they will root!. Then replant them again in a pot in a sunny window. Within a couple of months, you can plant them outside for new tomato plants.

  5. Newbie Sara says:

    I have done the potatoes before and they turned out great, but I do want to try the garlic and green onions sometime soon! Maybe after my spring cleaning I will get some pots for outside…. :)
    Anyone ever try sweet potatoes? Healthier than white but haven’t really seen eyes on them…

    • manny says:

      Sweet po’taters like heat. I usually grow 12-15 plants from 1 tater. I partially cover one tater in a Sara Lee cheesecake tin and sprinkle with water keeping the soil moist. Shoots will spout up in a week or so; after they are about 3 in tall they will have a good root system and I break them off and planted them in a bank of well composted soil about 12 in apart .. they grow down as opposed to reg potatoes that grow up the stalk. Keep them warm to hot and well watered. I put black plastic over the soil bank to get the soil hot and to keep the vines from rooting which draws energy away from the tasty fruit. I also plant shoots in medium pots mostly for indoors as the vines are beautiful ornamentals. Have fun!

      • Medicmom says:

        You can also grow your sprouts by placing tater in water. I did this last year and it worked great.

  6. edith817 says:

    Awesome tips!! Definitely will try the green onions and garlic next time!!

    • Vanessa says:

      Thanks! Garlic is so fun to grow, the shoots {called scapes} form these curly tails that are really beautiful. Good luck with the garden!

  7. Dana says:

    I like the idea of growing my own veggies. I would like to know how to grow bell peppers. Thanks for all the good info. I can’t wait to plant.

    • Jenay says:

      Save the seeds and dry them out. Plant them like you would any other seed that would buy in the store. I use one of those seedling starters with the lid to get them going, then when they are 4 to 5 inches tall, I move them to the ground, provided it’s nice enough outside. I’m from South Dakota, so sometimes it’s late April or early May even. I actually planted mine in pots last year and had better luck with 3 plants in a 18″ round pot, which surprised me.

      • guest24 says:

        I agree, Jenay. My peppers growing in the North Sun in Houston, became “trees” . The pot was hanging over the upstairs patio, so they could hang down. I got baby sweets and bigger, (small fist size) all year. As long as the bees and butterfly’s came, I had buds. Then bell peppers. Good luck Dana . You can do it.