Grow your scraps

Grow your scraps

Offcuts are not only economical and easier to grow than seeds, it’s also magical to watch them flourish!


  • Celery, spring onions, leeks, lemongrass, cabbage and lettuce. Simply place the root ends in a glass jar with a little water, and leave in a sunny position, like the kitchen window. The green leafy part of the plant will continue to shoot. When it’s time to cook, just snip off what you need from the green growth, and leave the white root end in water to keep growing. Freshen up the water every 3 days or so, and you’ll never have to buy them again.
  • Carrots. Grow carrot greens by placing the tops in a dish with a little water placed in full sunlight. Use as a garnish or in salads. 
  • Basil, parsley and coriander. Place stems in a glass of water in direct sunlight. When the roots are about 5cm long, you can plant them into soil to grow plants.
  • Garlic When garlic starts to sprout, the little green shoots are too bitter to cook with. Put them in a glass with a little water and grow garlic sprouts. The sprouts have a milder flavour than garlic cloves and are great on pizza, pasta or bruschetta.


  • Onions Plant the discarded root end from an onion into soil. Keep soil moist. You can harvest it early for fresh green onions or wait until the bulb is fully developed.
  • Mushrooms Although tricky to grow, they’re worth a try as it’s a quick process. Plant mushroom stalks in soil with some compost or used coffee grounds and keep them in a moist environment, preferably where it will be cool at night. Within a few days the stems will either start to sprout new heads or rot.
  • Potato and sweet potato Plant a piece or peel with one or two eyes 10cm deep into the soil. Add more soil as the plant grows to about 20cm. Potatoes are now ready to dig out. Store sweet potatoes in a warm, dry place – this is what makes them sweet.
  • Tomatoes Place slices, whole over-ripe or just the seeds of tomatoes in soil, covering with a thin layer of soil. Keep soil moist, but not too wet. Seeds should start to germinate within 7-14 days.
Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


Send this to a friend