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Zero Waste Gardening: How to Grow an Abundant Garden from Kitchen Scraps

Zero Waste Gardening: How to Grow an Abundant Garden from Kitchen Scraps

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Did you know that a typical four-person family discards anywhere between 10 to 20 pounds of scraps per month?

It’s shocking how much food waste we generate, especially considering a large portion comes from perfectly usable vegetable scraps.

Instead of throwing them away, why not use those kitchen scraps to grow your own vegetables? It’s simpler than you think.

5 Best Vegetables to Grow From Scraps

Here are some of the best vegetables to regrow from scraps:

1 – Green Onions

Green onions usually come with little roots at the end of their bulbs, which is good news for us because we can use those roots to propagate new green onion plants.

Slice the ends of the bulbs—making sure to keep the roots attached—and place them standing up in a small glass or jar. Fill the glass with just enough water to cover the roots.

Set the glass on a windowsill. After a few days, you’ll notice green shoots emerging from the top of the bulbs.

Change the water regularly, and within a few days to a week, you’ll have fresh green onions ready to harvest and use in your favorite dishes!

2 – Lettuce

You know that bottom part of the lettuce that often gets discarded?

Next time you make a salad, keep it.

Place the base in a bowl with a bit of water and position it in a windowsill or any other location that receives good sunlight.

Mist the bowl a couple of times every other day, and within three to four days, you’ll notice roots and new leaves begin to appear.

When this happens, transplant the lettuce into regular potting soil to keep it growing. Make sure the soil is well-draining and loose.

3 – Potatoes

Did you know you can grow potatoes from potato peelings? It’s true!

The secret is all in the eyes—the potato eyes, that is.

Potato eyes are small sprouts on the surface of potatoes. They sort of look like little dimples or bumps. Each of these eyes has the potential to sprout into a new potato plant.

When peeling a potato, leave some flesh attached to the skin, about half an inch or so. The flesh serves as a source of nutrients and moisture for the potato peeling as it begins to sprout and grow.

Also, try to include at least two eyes on each potato peeling to increase the chances of sprouting.

Dust the peelings with sulfur powder to prevent rotting, then place them on a tray in a single layer to dry out. If you don’t have sulfur powder on hand, you can skip this step.

Once the peelings have dried out, transfer them with the eyes facing upward to a planting bed with loose, well-draining soil.

Cover with one to two inches of soil, water thoroughly, and place in a sunny location.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll notice the peelings sprouting. Gradually add more soil to the pot as the potato plant grows.

4 – Tomatoes

You can grow tomatoes from tomato slicings. Tomato slices contain seeds that have the potential to sprout and grow into new tomato plants.

Place your tomato slices in a small pot and cover it with about an inch of potting mix.

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, and within two weeks, you’ll notice a few sets of true leaves sprout from the slices you’ve planted.

Transplant them into larger pots or directly into your garden bed.

5 – Mint, Cilantro, Basil, and Other Herbs

I don’t remember the last time I bought herbs from the supermarket. I have a near-unlimited stock growing right in my kitchen!

To grow a mini herb garden, snip off four to six-inch stem sections from your store-bought herb plants. Remove the lower leaves on the stem, leaving two to three sets of leaves at the top.

Place the cuttings in a glass filled with clean water, making sure at least one node is submerged. Refresh the water every few days to prevent stagnation.

Roots should appear within a week or two. Transplant the rooted cuttings into individual pots and place them in an area with bright, indirect sunlight, like the windowsill.

You can also plant them directly on your garden bed, but some herbs, like mint, oregano, and lemon balm, can quickly take over your garden if not contained. Planting them in raised beds should prevent excessive spread.

And that’s it—water once in a while, and before long the herb cuttings will start producing new growth!

Other Ways To Use Kitchen Scraps

Other than regrowing vegetables, there are several other ways to utilize kitchen scraps:


Turn kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost to enrich garden soil, improve soil structure, and promote plant growth.

Vegetable Broth

Save veggie scraps like carrot ends, onion peels, and herb stems to make a deliciously nutritious veggie broth.

Simmer the scraps in water with spices and fresh herbs to create a flavorful base for stews, sauces, and soups.

Homemade Air Freshener

Citrus fruit peels like orange, lime, and grapefruit make for an excellent homemade air freshener.

Boil the peels with fragrant spices or herbs like cinnamon sticks, rosemary, or cloves, and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.

Veggie Chips

Cut carrot peels, kale stems, and potato skins into thin, uniform slices using a mandolin or knife.

Toss the slices with olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and bake or air-fry for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve with your favorite dip!

Pesto Sauce

Blend wilted greens like spinach, arugula, kale, or collards into a flavorful pesto sauce.

Toss in a handful of nuts, a few cloves of garlic, and some Parmesan and you’ve made yourself a versatile pesto that can be used as a spread, dip, or pasta sauce.

Final Thoughts

Growing a vibrant garden from kitchen scraps is not only cost-effective but also sustainable. It’s an excellent way to add a touch of green to your windowsill, reduce waste, and harvest a little something extra for your next meal.

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Thursday 30th of May 2024

Thank You Again Lisa for ; "The Practical Planter" library of Nourishing Resources, Smart, Clever Articles and a Harvesting, Abundance of Healthy, Intelligent Fun ! C'est Bon Magnifique !

Lisa Bridenstine

Thursday 30th of May 2024

Thanks for reading Stanley!