Growing your own food is one of the best ways to ensure that you are feeding your family the best quality foods possible. While most of us probably don’t mind the time it takes to start and keep a garden going, it can be incredibly expensive to buy all the seeds to get started. Luckily, there are a handful of vegetables that you can actually sprout from existing produce.
As a note, there are many plants, including pumpkins, apples, and tomatoes, which can be grown from seeds of the plant that you buy at the store (or get from a farmer’s market). However, I’m not going to include those on the list since it’s not really that different of a process from buying and planting a seed—just cheaper!
Plants that can be sprouted
For all of the below plants, you will need part of the plant, some water, sunlight, and lots of patience. The process is a little different for each, so read on below!
Note: Some sites will add carrots to this list, but you cannot regrow an edible carrot from a carrot top. A carrot is a taproot and cannot be regrown once it’s removed. All you are sprouting is the carrot plant itself.
You can regrow avocados from the pits, but unlike most seeds you can’t just stick it in the ground. Clean off the pit with water and stick three or four toothpicks at equal distances. Then, suspend the pit over a glass of water, with the bottom inch or so in the water. Leave it until it begins to sprout, changing the water out occasionally. It may take up to six weeks, and not every pit will sprout. Once the sprouts are around five or six inches tall and roots have formed, plant it.
Basil and Cilantro
Both these herbs can be regrown from clippings. Leave the stem in clear water, making sure to keep the leaves above water and to change the water occasionally. Roots should eventually form, and can be replanted.
Cut off the bottom part of the celery (sometimes called the flower because of the shape) and place it in a bowl of warm water in direct sunlight. The stem will start to thicken and roots should grow from the bottom. Once roots have formed and it begins to sprout, plant it.
Garlic is a little trickier to grow, but not impossible. Simply place the bulb in a small jar, submerging the bottom half in water. Sprouts will begin to form from the top. When this happens, go ahead and plant the bulb. Once the plant becomes established, cut off all new shoots to encourage the formation of the tasty bulbs.
Lettuce and Bok Choy
Similar to celery, you can regrow romaine lettuce and bok choy by cutting the thick base of the lettuce and set it in a bowl of water. Remember to mist the top so that it stays moist. It should begin to grow new leaves and roots, and you can replant it.
This only works with whole lemongrass stalks, but similar to other herbs you can place the stalks in water, making sure to change it every couple of days. After a couple weeks, sprouts will form and you can either keep them in water and use them, or replant.
You can cut the top off of a pineapple and suspend it above warm water in order to sprout it. Once that happens, plant it in a large bowl and keep it inside. However, don’t expect to be eating your homegrown pineapple for at least two years, as that’s about how long it takes for each pineapple.
To sprout, cut the sweet potato in half and suspend with toothpicks above water, much like you would an avocado. Sprouts will appear after a few days. Once the sprouts reach four inches tall, twist them off and place them in water to encourage root growth. Once roots have formed, plant the sprouts.
Turnips are extremely easy to grow from cuttings. All you have to do is place the top of a turnip in a bowl of warm water. Wait until the roots have fully formed, then plant it.
Plants that can be simply replanted
Unlike the above vegetables and herbs, these can mostly just be planted in the ground, watered, and then they’ll soon be growing heartily!
Ginger root is actually one of the easiest things to regrow. Since it’s literally just a root, you can just plant it in the ground with the buds facing upwards and it will sprout. You can actually reuse the same root over and over; just be sure not to cut off more than 1/3 of it at a time.
Cut off the root (the section with all the strings hanging off) leaving about an inch of onion. Plant it, roots down, in the soil in a warm sunny area. It should propagate itself from there. This works for most kinds of onions, including white, red, green, leeks, and even vidalia.
With the proper environment, you can regrow mushrooms; just remember that they need damp and darker areas. To regrow, simply remove the cap and place the stalk in the ground, leaving just a little bit of the top uncovered.
Whether your potato has eyes sprouting from it or not, you can actually still regrow it. Cut off a piece of the potato (some people use peelings) that has at least a couple eye spots on it. Let it sit out for a couple of days (especially if you use a big piece; otherwise it will just rot) and then plant it with the eyes upwards. You can also take my approach, where I just forget about my potatoes for a month and they begin growing in the hamper. Then cut off a chunk with the eye and plant it.
Do you know of any other plants that you can sprout and grow edible food from? Have you tried any of these? Leave a note below!