DIY: Grow a Garden from Kitchen Scraps

Organic food can be really expensive, right? I saw a post on Pinterest about growing a garden with kitchen scraps and wondered if it could really be done. Basically, you can double your money if you use the trimmings you’d normally throw away to grow more food. Is your thumb brown instead of green? No worries, you can do this.

I’m not a gardening expert and I don’t use anything particularly fancy. The only thing I am picky about is my soil. Composting and making your own soil is best (leave me a comment if you want to know what my method is and I’ll do a separate post). If I have to buy a bag, I choose organic potting soil and steer clear of brands like Miracle Grow. I mix in my favorite fertilizer Down To Earth 6-Pound Vegan Mix 3-2-2  and follow-up with a chemical-free soil conditioner EM-1 Microbial Inoculant . The EM-1 can also be used weekly to help the plants absorb more nutrients. My little patch of garden only gets partial sun, about 4-5 hours a day. Even if your growing conditions are not ideal, you should be successful with the varieties listed below.

*Always start with organic, non-GMO fruit or vegetables*

Pineapple– Remove all of the fruit flesh or it will rot. Peel back the lower leaves from the crown to expose the root nodes. Place in a glass of water near sunlight and you will see roots begin to form in 5-10 days. I like to let the roots get really long so that I get a super strong and healthy plant when I put it in the soil.You can grow them in a large pot, raised bed, or put them straight in the ground. Pineapples are part of the bromeliad family and hold water in the space between the leaves. I water from the top a few times a week and have them planted in full sun to partial shade.It takes a full 18 months for the plant to fruit, but it will be the most delicious pineapple you ever tasted!

Celery– Cut off the bottom root end leaving about 3-4 inches of the stalk. Place the root end in water and place near a sunlit window. I removed more of the outer ribs after about 5 days to encourage more root growth. Once the roots are established, plant the celery in soil, covering the roots and base with about 2 inches  of soil. I have mine in a large pot in full sun. Keep the soil evenly moist but do not over water. Harvest in about 120 days.

Ginger– Choose a piece of ginger root that does not look dried out or shriveled up. I select pieces that have lots of “nubs” since this is where the ginger will sprout. Cover the root with soil, nubs facing up. I like to plant ginger in a large pot to keep it from spreading out too much in the garden. Keep the soil well-drained and evenly moist. Do not over water or the roots will rot. Harvest in about 4-6 months.

Garlic– Select larger cloves and peel back the paper from the sprout end ( the pointy side of the clove).Push the clove into well-drained soil, sprout side up.Garlic tends to favor full-sun. The green tops or garlic “scapes” will appear in about two weeks. The scapes are edible and can be used in pesto or other dishes. It takes about 9-12 months for the garlic to mature. A good indicator will be when the scapes turn brown and start to die back. Cut the tops off, do not water for about five days and then harvest.

Green Onions– The easiest thing to grow! Choose green onions with healthy looking roots at the market. Cut off the tops, leaving about 3 inches above the roots. Place in a glass of water near a sunlit window. Green onions will regrow in about 10 days and can be cut again. Leave them in growing in water ( change the water once a week) or plant them in soil outside.

Round Onions -Cut off the root end and leave about 1/2 inch of the onion flesh. Place the roots into a large pot or directly into well-drained soil. Leave most of the onion flesh exposed above the soil, it will sprout from the center onion ring.Do not over water or the bulbs will rot. Onions are ready to harvest in about 60-70 days. A good indicator of when they are ready is when the tops start to fall over and die, similar to the garlic.You can use the green tops in cooking.

Growing my own fruits and veggies helps me to feel more connected to my food. How does your garden grow? Let me know if you have any great tips for easy planting.


© 2012, Veggietorials. All rights reserved.Use of any content or image requires a link back to the original post


  1. I love this post and love the video with it!!! Very easy to follow. Who knew you could grow a garden from kitchen scraps? The music is cute too!

    • Mahalo Debby!I’ve grown pineapples like this for awhile, but just recently started doing the onions and celery 🙂

  2. My parents always did this with avocado pits, but they never planted them and let them grow because they wouldn’t do well here. They are really fun to watch when they’re starting to root, though!

  3. can this be grown inside year round?

    • Aloha Dorothy, Yes you can grow these inside year round. I’ve tried everything except the garlic. If you want to keep the green onions growing in water, be sure to change the water once a week. The pineapple will take longer to bloom and fruit potted indoors(possibly 2yrs+) but it makes an attractive houseplant.

  4. I’m interested in your compost method. I recently started a garden in my backyard but have yet to start composting, even though i’ve been reading about how to do so long before i started said garden. I know in theory how to do it but something in the process trips me up…. do you just keep adding scraps to the pile? Or do you have to stop at a certain point and let the stuff decompose and start a new pile? If you keep adding scraps to the pile, how do you take compost from it? Do you just pick and choose what’s already composted from the not-yet-completely- composted matter? Hope you can answer my question!

    • I will try and get a video up to show my compost bin (it’s nothing fancy) but let me answer your question quickly here. My method is easy and works in Hawaii because of the high humidity. In other areas, one may need to be more mindful of the percentage of carbon and nitrogen they are adding to the heap. I add equal parts shredded newspaper/paper bags,fruit&veggie scraps,yard debris(lawn clippings,dead leaves/branches).I load the bin with food stuffs first,then yard debris and then paper on top.Keeping the paper on top prevents fruit flies and gnats from getting at the food scraps and making the bin a messy swarm of bugs. Hose the whole pile down with water until moist. Repeat once a week.Make sure the pile is aerated- I use a broomstick handle to poke about 10 air holes in the pile.The smaller you cut things up, the faster the pile will decompose.Adding EM1 (effective microorganisms)weekly will also expedite the process.I harvest about 6 gallons of rich compost every other month.The bin I have allows me to pull the ready compost from a door at the bottom of the bin.I would prefer to have the type of bin on a stand that you can turn with a handle.Having two bins would be ideal but not necessary.Hope that helps!

  5. Camille Diloreto says:

    this is the best video. easy to follow, pleasant to listen to, just perfect

    • Aloha Camille!I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Have you given it a try?My green onions are going nuts right now!

  6. Kathrine Yamamoto says:

    Can you do a video on growing lettuce from scraps? Every time I try, the plant diea. I must be doing something wrong.

Leave a Reply