Lots of things can be grown from the bits we cut off: celery, lettuce, cabbage, leeks, onions, fennel, potatoes and sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger and even mushrooms are possible.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Find a potato that has lots of eyes and cut it into pieces making sure that each chunk has at least one eye and leave the pieces on a tray for a day or two to dry out. This prevents the pieces from rotting in the soil. Place the pieces in a pot in at least 8 inches depth of soil with the eyes pointing upwards. Cover with soil and then add another 4” of soil. As the plant grows keep adding more soil to provide support and prevent it going green.
Onions are one of the easiest vegetables to propagate. Just cut off the root end of your onion, leaving a ½ inch of onion on the roots. Place it in a sunny position in your garden and cover the top with soil. Ensure the soil is kept moist. Onions prefer a warm sunny environment, so if you live in a colder climate, keep them in pots and move them indoors during frostier months.
Leeks, spring onions and fennel
Use the white root end of the vegetable and place it in a glass jar with about half and inch of water. Leave it in a sunny position. The leaves will continue to shoot and you can cut these off and use them in cooking. Leave the white root in the water and it will keep growing.
Each clove will grow into a new plant. Just put the clove into a pot of soil and place it in a sunny position. The garlic will root itself and start producing shoots. As the leaves get bigger keep trimming them down so that the plant’s energy goes into producing a the bulb.
Celery, lettuce, cabbage
These also grow from the white root. Place the root end in a dish of water – enough to cover the roots but not swamp the top. Put it in a sunny position, occasionally spraying it with water to keep the top moist but not wet. After a few weeks transfer the plant to some soil with just the leaves showing over the top.
Ginger is surprisingly easy to re-grow. Put a lump of the knobbly bit (rhizome) into some potting compost with the newest, smallest bit pointing upwards. Ginger likes warmth and light, but not direct sunlight and needs to be kept moist. There will soon be shoots and roots and once the plant is ready, pull it up and immediately cut a bit off to re-start the process. It’s also rather an attractive plant.
Carrots will not regrow, contrary to how they behave.