My Table Scrap Garden

I love living in my downtown loft, but I often miss having a garden. A few months ago I saw a post somewhere online about all the foods that can be regrown from “table scraps.” A couple of weeks ago, I finally got motivated enough to give it a try. According to the article I read, there are 16 foods you can regrow from scraps, but I started with just two – basil and celery. I plucked a small, frail-looking basil stem from among the dregs of a grocery plant and placed it in a small glass of water. On the same day, I cut 2 1/2 inches up from the base of a bunch of celery and put the base into a ramekin with 1/2 inch of water. I set the scraps on top of my filing cabinet, not expecting much.

To my amazement, not only did the plants not immediately wilt, but the basil stem grew a little root and the celery started sprouting new leaves within a couple of days! I decided the experiment was going so well I’d try the celery technique out on a head of green leaf lettuce and a baby bok choi. Again, within two days new greenery was emerging from among the old stalks. I also started off two new basil plants, which sprouted roots within a few days.  Not wanting to kill my garden, I re-read the article and learned that once roots have emerged, it was time to plant the vegetables in actual dirt, so I grabbed a small cactus planter someone had left in our building’s free area and dug little plots for my lettuce and bok choi. I reused the grocery store basil pot for the celery, and transplanted my basil sprigs into a tiny tera cotta plant I had lying around.

These photos show the progress of my “garden” about 10 days in. It seems that it will take a long time for me to get a full bunch of celery, but the lettuce and book choi can probably be harvested within a week or two. I’ll transplant the basil into a bigger pot and hope to have a small bush of it in a few weeks. Obviously, this technique isn’t going to meet my need for fresh greens and herbs, but I figure I’ll end up with around $15 – 20 worth of produce by the time my garden matures. Not bad for what started out as a bunch of table scraps! Here are a few photos:

Celery, basil and a new bok choi starter.
Bok Choi growing in my cactus planter.
Lettuce growing in the cactus planter.


  1. Matt says:

    This works great with green onions as well, you don’t even need to put them in dirt, just save the bottom inch or so and any attached roots in a little water and you’ll have new green onions in 10-14 days!

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