So, I often find myself wondering what the best use is for all the leftover fruit and vegetable bits in my kitchen. Whether they’re scraps or just food that sat in the fridge a bit too long (yes, I’m guilty of this…it’s terrible, I know) I hate to just throw them away. Do I compost? I don’t really have the space or know how at this point. I would really like to and I will get there someday, but what about in the meantime? Should I get a pet rabbit, or perhaps a tortoise to consume the leftovers? That option seems like a pretty big commitment. Not to mention my landlords have a very strict no pets rule. Do I stick them in some dirt and watch as a brand new plant magically appears? Yep.


That’s right, it really can be that simple. A lot of store bought fruits and vegetables can produce new plants.
For example:
Ginger – 
Select a firm, large piece of ginger that has started to show signs of growth on it’s knobs. Soak the ginger overnight in warm water to promote growth. Then, place the ginger on the top of lightly misted potting moss. Let the moss dry out completely between waterings to prevent rotting. Once the ginger has started to sprout leaves, gently untangle the roots from the moss and replant it in some fresh potting soil. Ginger likes to be warm and moist. So, keep it near a sunny window and mist it often.
Avocado –
Save that seed from your avocado and give it a good rinse. Push 3-4 toothpicks into the sides of the seed, evenly spaced, about halfway down. Set the suspended seed into a glass of water with the wide end facing down. You want about an inch of the bottom of the seed to be covered by the water. Place the glass in a sunny spot and wait for roots and leaves to appear. Once the mini avocado plant is about half a foot tall, cut it back to about 3 inches. Wait for the plant to sprout new leaves and then transfer it to soil.
Celery –
Chop the bottom end off of a bundle of celery. Place the little bottom piece in a dish of water with the cut end facing upward. Leave the dish near a sunny window and replenish water as needed. After a few days you will see the new plant growth sprouting from the center. Now move the plant to soil. When you repot the celery, cover the old stalks but leave the new growth exposed.
Lettuce –
Once you’ve worked your way down to the end of a head of lettuce, simply place it in a bowl with about an inch of water and leave it in a sunny place. In a matter of days, you should see inches of new growth coming from the center. Next, same as the celery, just transfer it to soil and keep it moist.
Garlic –
This one’s pretty simple. Pick a nice, firm bulb of garlic from your grocery store or fridge. Separate the cloves and then push them into moist soil, about three inches apart, with the pointy ends facing up. Make sure the cloves are completely covered. Water sparingly and keep in direct sunlight.
Sweet Potato – 
We all did this one with regular potatoes in elementary school. Take a sweet potato, stick some toothpicks in the sides, place it in a jar of water near a sunny window and watch in wonder as it sprouts leaves and roots. Now, you can either plant this potato directly into the ground OR, if you want to increase the likelihood of actually producing more sweet potatoes, you can gently separate the individual leafy limbs (aka slips) from the potato and place each one of those in their own jars of water. If you choose option B, change the water in the jars every few days until roots begin to grow. Once the roots are well developed, transfer the slips to soil.
And there you have it, plants from produce! Happy planting, guys!


Author & Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily’s work, click HERE


  1. Now that I finally have windows in my kitchen, I get to try these! We happen to have all of these yummies sitting in the fridge waiting to be made into meals this week.

  2. I've been thinking about growing my own plants for a while, but haven't really started because I'm not sure I can follow up on the "growing fase". This seems very practical and easy, maybe it will work out for me 🙂 Thank you!