How to Turn a Veggie Into a Plant: Gardening the Fast Way
Looking for a secret shortcut to make plants grow fast?
How about a gardening trick that turns trash into food?
Regrow vegetables and fruits to transform them from stems, cores and seeds into fresh, delicious plants you can eat.
It requires very little time and space, and no extra money!
In this article I’ll explain how fun, fast and easy it is to regrow vegetables and fruits with your kids even if you have a black thumb.
Why Regrow Your Food?
Two words: instant gratification. Kids today crave it. Adults often strive for it, too.
If you want to grow a family garden, go for it! It’s fun for kids to watch fruits and vegetables grow and then eat their newly grown bounty. You can use seeds or starter plants, but either method requires some patience.
The quickest way to reap fully grown, edible plants is to regrow your food from the uneaten parts of other fruits and veggies. It’s fun. It’s cool to see the process. It’s instant gratification gardening (or the closest thing to it).
How Does Regrowing Vegetables Work?
Sure, you can compost table scraps too, but this is a fun alternative or addition.
ABC News in Arizona did a piece on regrowing lettuce. You can see how amazed the adults are in this segment.
Certain foods naturally begin to put on new growth from the base or discarded remnants. Onions and potatoes are probably the best examples of vegetable regrowth in action. Who hasn’t found a potato or onion left in the veggie drawer for a few months that had started to sprout?
But here’s the cool part…
Toss that alien-looking spud—shoots and all—into a pot of soil, and you’ll easily grow a handful of fresh ones for an upcoming dinner.
Speaking of Onions …
Did you know a green onion is considered an herb?
And while it’s perfectly fine to eat the white section, the real flavor is in the green part that many people cut off and throw away! Eat the green, save the white and regrow them.
It’s easy to regrow vegetables with this super-fast project that you and your kids can enjoy together.
Whether you try this adventure as an experiment, to fortify your family or as a way to pique your kids’ interest in gardening, everyone will enjoy it!
Plus, you’ll see continuous rewards for your efforts.
Follow the steps carefully, and you and your family will most assuredly achieve success when you regrow vegetables and fruits.
#1: Decide What to Grow
So what’s for dinner? And what leftover scraps can you use to regrow?
Before you start this adventure, talk to your kids about the process. Ask what fruits and vegetables they’d like to use for this experiment. Don’t be surprised if someone wants to grow a candy bar or ice cream sundae.
Don’t Toss These, Regrow Them
Here’s a basic list of what you can grow and how long each fruit and vegetable will take, in order from quickest to longest.
- Green onions—2″ bottom with roots will start to grow within 3-5 days.
- Romaine lettuce—2″ core at the bottom will start to grow within 3-5 days.
- Celery—2″ bottom of stalk will start to grow within 3-5 days.
- Carrots (regular, not baby)—the top with the green part will begin to sprout right away and can be replanted in the soil to grow new carrots.
- Potatoes (red, white and sweet)—will sprout within days and grow over several months
- Garlic—cloves sprout within 2-3 weeks and will regrow new cloves.
- Onion—begins to sprout within 2-3 weeks after its peak.
- Pineapple—the crown on top of a fresh pineapple will begin to take root in 2-3 weeks and produce a new pineapple in approximately 2 years.
- Avocados—the pit can be started in water and then planted in soil to grow an avocado tree. Note: This may or may not ever produce fruit.
Do a video search beforehand of what you will grow so you can watch a sneak peek of what to expect. This will also help drum up excitement.
Be sure to set expectations. Some fruits and vegetables will produce more food in as little as a few weeks, while others take longer. They are all certainly worth the wait!
#2: Ready, Set, Regrow
Gather the discarded fruits and vegetables you decide to plant.
Place each type in a different cup, bowl or other shallow container. (Note: Larger vegetables like celery and lettuce will need their own containers.)
Told you it’s easy.
Be sure to change the water every couple of days. Check online for specifics.
Bonus activity: Have each of your kids make a chart so they can track and measure growth as they regrow vegetables.
Figure out if you want to leave your “pre-plants” inside or out.
If inside, place them in a sunny window where they get plenty of light. This also works during the winter months to enjoy the taste of fresh-grown food all year long.
If you grow them outside, they’ll probably grow better, since plants prefer lots of light. Keep in mind you may have to deal with bugs. Plus, you’ll have to replace the water more frequently since it evaporates quicker in the hot sun.
Any plant can be started indoors and later put in a pot to continue to grow.
#3: Take it Outside
Smaller plants can be potted. But root veggies like potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic need to grow in soil.
It’s really simple to regrow vegetables and fruits, isn’t it? Even a person with a black thumb can do it.
#4: Reap What You Sow
Once you harvest (pick) your bounty, it’s time to eat.
Discuss regrowing with your kids—preferably over a meal from your garden. Decide if you want to try a traditional garden, as well. You never know—you may have sprouted some young gardeners in the process!
After you eat your regrown vegetables, take the remnants and start regrowing them again.
Some Final Thoughts…
Regrowing food is a great family project. It’s fun and fascinating.
The perfect way to get kids interested in gardening: Turn something that most people throw out into delicious food for the dinner table!
Studies show that kids who achieve garden success feel invested in the produce they have grown—and they’re more likely to eat it. Even if they don’t, they feel a big sense of accomplishment, pride and esteem.
What do you think? Have you ever regrown food before? Are you ready to try it? What fruits and vegetables will you grow first? Let us know how your regrowing goes and share photos in the comments.
Chris Sabbarese is a DIY gardener and landscaper with a passion for working in the yard and promoting green education. Chris enjoys connecting with growers everywhere via Corona Tools. Other posts by Chris Sabbarese »