Veggie Tales

Turn celery scraps and carrot tops into food: 6 vegetables you can grow at home

Use leftover parts from store-bought veggies to sprout new life.

When you're spending long hours at home, there are endless possibilities for crafting and tinkering — and home gardening is really having a moment. You can even skip the seeds and grow new vegetables from scraps, or re-plant cloves of garlic to grow a fresh new patch of greens.

With just a few scraps of store-bought vegetables and a couple of neat tricks, you can turn your living room into a mini farm. All you need to get started is a cup of water or a small pot of soil.

This is the beginner's guide to growing your own (vegetables).

6. How to grow garlic greens at home

Growing garlic from a clove you’ve already purchased is about as easy as it gets.

If you have a garden, you can start right in the ground — and if not, you just need a pot and some soil. Since the roots are pretty shallow, a medium-sized planter will be fine.

Simply plant an unpeeled clove of garlic in the soil, about as deep as your thumb. Make sure the bottom of the clove (that's the flat part) is facing down, because that’s where the roots will grow.

If your garlic looks like this, it's time to plant it.maradon 333/Shutterstock

If you’re growing garlic indoors, place the pot on a windowsill or another area that gets plenty of light. You should see new life in as few as 7 to 10 days, according to Martha Stewart’s website.

Note: The clove won’t grow a new head of garlic like the one you planted, but it will shoot up new garlic greens. The shoots look similar to scallions, and are also called garlic scapes. You can use them in your cooking.

5. How to grow potatoes at home

The sturdy potato is a blessing for its versatility — you truly can't go wrong with fried, mashed, or roasted.

When the eyes of a potato start growing those creepy sprouts, it doesn’t mean the whole tuber is destined for the garbage. Instead, you can cut waste and grow food by planting the potato in the ground or a pot with plenty of space for the new potatoes to grow.

If you're using a planter, make sure it has decent drainage. Potato varieties that grow early, like Yukon Gold, are probably your best bet, reports Grow a Good Life.

Potatoes grow underground, from a leafy bush above ground.Shutterstock

Make sure your potatoes are also getting plenty of sunlight — at least six hours each day.

From the weird potato sprouts, new green shoots will emerge from the ground within about two weeks, according to Better Homes & Gardens.

Those shoots will become bush-like plants, and in a few months, new potatoes will start growing underground. And you can start planning your hard-earned potato salad.

4. How to grow onions at home

Similar to potatoes, replanting onions is easiest to do once your onions have started growing their own sprouts — those green protrusions that burst from the top of the onion.

Once that happens, do some minor surgery on the onion to get to those sprouts inside. They will grow new onions of their own. To make that happen, simply cut away the outer layers of the onion. As you work your way inward, you’ll be able to separate those green shoots, and replant each of them in soil.

I tried this last summer with a red onion. I planted three of those shoots, and they grew into small new onions, adorably resembling the Pokémon Oddish.

The sprouts on top are edible, too, and taste great sautéed.

Small red onion, grown from a store-bought onion. Nina Pullano

The fun doesn't stop with red or white onions from the store. You can grow other alliums, like green onions (scallions) and leeks, too. For those, simply cut off the bottom tip where the roots grow, and either start them in water or plant them directly into soil.

3. How to grow celery from scraps

Growing your own celery from the stump of a bundle is almost effortless. As The Office's Dwight Schrute put it, “Those who can’t farm, farm celery.”

All you need to do is cut off the bottom of a bundle of celery and place it in a few inches of water.

I began my own attempt at growing celery about a week ago. Here is what it looks like now:

Celery growing from a stump, after about one week. Nina Pullano

When your celery is strong enough, you can plant it outside or in a pot, making sure it's draining well and getting plenty of sunlight. In theory, you could then use that celery butt to start the process over, giving you endless vegetable-scrap celery — but no promises that will actually work.

2. How to grow lettuce from scraps

To grow lettuce, the method is pretty much the same as it is for celery. Cut off the bottom of a head of lettuce — romaine will work best for this. You can either start it in water, or skip that step, and plant it directly in soil.

You will see roots begin to form over the course of a week, and, about 10 to 12 days later, you should have a small bunch of leaves, according to Gardening Know How. However, don't expect to have a full salad immediately — this small-scale growing is more of a novelty than an opportunity to grow an indoor lettuce farm.

That said, if you're determined to make a home-grown salad, you can get a few heads going at once. Make sure they're all getting plenty of sun, and you may end up with enough leaves for a bowl of Caesar salad — or whatever else romaine is good for.

1. How to grow greens from carrot tops

Note: this won’t actually grow new carrots — for that you’ll need to start from seeds — but carrot greens are pretty tasty (and have a hint of carrot flavor to them).

Don't sleep on carrot greens.Shutterstock

Slice the top of a carrot, and plant it in soil with the stem side facing up — the same direction a carrot would normally grow in the ground.

From the top, new leaves will begin to grow, giving you a small bushel of greens to add to your cooking. Carrot greens taste great blended with other herbs, for a fun twist on pesto or chimichurri.

Feeling inspired to bring more nature into your home? Try your (green) hand at growing these seven hard-to-kill houseplants, or set up a bird feeder and start twitching from your window.

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