What you can grow from leftover food scraps

There’s a lot more you can do with food scraps than just throw them away. In fact, many vegetables that you consume daily can regrow into new plants right at home.

Whether you’re working from a recipe that calls for a celery stalk or you have some leftover herbs, you may already have the tools needed to get your at-home gardening started. That’s because those tiny end pieces that you typically toss into the trash can easily be transformed into more food, just by putting their ends in water or soil.

Aside from having access to fresh produce right at home, growing your own food comes with lots of benefits, including improved physical and mental health, cost savings and help for the environment. Produce purchased from the grocery store is often traveling further from farmers to consumers, because our current food system relies upon long-distance transport and global delivery networks. One USDA study found that supply chains with greater food travel distance will use more energy and therefore generate more pollution than locally grown produce. Research shows that fresh produce can travel over 1,500 miles before it’s consumed.

Ready to start your at-home garden? Here are a few ideas on how to get started.

Make your own supply of fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs can make a big dent in your wallet and are some of the most perishable items in the produce section. Luckily, herbs like basil, mint and cilantro are some of the easiest plants to grow, because they root easily in water.

Grow your greens at home.

Did you know over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United States each year? This can lead to pesticide residue left on your food. Growing produce at home can help ensure you know exactly what’s going into your food—and it’s as easy as placing your celery or lettuce roots into shallow water in the sun. Learn how to grow your own greens.

Plant garlic and onions.

From Asian to Italian to Mediterranean cuisines, onions and garlic are staples in much of what we eat. Needless to say, it would be awesome to have these produce items on hand at home when you need them. Luckily for us, they’re some of the easiest plants to regrow indoors or outdoors.

For green onions, simply place the white base with roots in a cup of water and set them in a sunny place. For garlic, place a clove in potting soil outdoors and in direct sunlight.

Looking for more ways to grow your green thumb? Take a look at our tips for sustainable gardening this spring.

Learn how to practice sustainability with food storage