How to Grow an Unconventional Garden Using Only Kitchen Scraps

How to Grow an Unconventional Garden Using Only Kitchen Scraps

How to Grow an Unconventional Garden Using Only Kitchen Scraps

Growing an unconventional garden using kitchen scraps is an excellent way to reduce food waste while adding beauty and purpose to your outdoor space. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can grow vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals from materials that would otherwise end up in the trash. Follow these tips for a successful and satisfying kitchen scrap garden.

Selecting Scraps for Planting

Not all food scraps can be directly planted into soil. Choose scraps from fruit, vegetables, and herbs that will readily generate new growth when given the right conditions.


Many vegetable scraps will regenerate when planted. Good choices include:

  • Onions – The root end or stems can be planted to grow new onions.

  • Lettuce – The base of a head of lettuce can be planted to grow new lettuce.

  • Celery – The bottom 2 inches of celery can be planted to grow a new stalk.

  • Carrots – Topped carrots can generate leafy greens when planted. The greens are edible.

  • Garlic – A single clove from a head of garlic can be planted to grow an entire new bulb.


Herbs are especially easy to cultivate from kitchen castoffs. Try planting these:

  • Basil – Cut 3-4 inches off the bottom of a bunch of basil. Place in water or soil with the cut ends submerged to regenerate roots.

  • Cilantro – The stems can be planted to generate new cilantro plants.

  • Ginger – Small ginger rhizome pieces can be planted to grow a new plant.

  • Green onions – Place the white root ends in water or soil to regrow green onion stalks.


Certain fruits like pineapples and oranges can also be planted, though they require warm conditions to thrive. Consider growing:

  • Pineapples – The leafy crown of a pineapple can be planted to generate a new fruiting plant.

  • Lemons/Oranges – Seeds can be sprouted, or try rooting citrus cuttings in water.

Preparing a Planting Area

Find a suitable spot to create your kitchen scrap garden. You’ll need:

  • Sunlight – Most scraps will need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.

  • Soil – Plant your scraps in nutrient-rich potting soil or compost.

  • Drainage – Make sure the soil drains well and does not become waterlogged. Add organic material like compost to improve drainage in heavy soils.

  • Containers – You can plant many scraps directly in the ground or use containers, raised beds, or other creative planting vessels.

Planting and Caring for Your Scraps

Follow these tips for successfully planting and tending to your kitchen scrap garden:

  • Prepare scraps by rinsing off any residue but leaving the peels intact, as they contain nutrients.

  • Trim off any rotted or diseased portions before planting.

  • Plant just deep enough – Most scraps need only be planted just below the surface of the soil.

  • Water lightly – Avoid overwatering, which can lead to rotting. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

  • Fertilize – Applying a balanced organic fertilizer can accelerate growth. Compost and compost tea also enrich the soil.

  • Monitor for pests – Take action at the first sign of slugs, snails, or other pests that may attack young seedlings.

  • Transplant carefully – When shoots emerge, transplant seedlings to their permanent growing positions. Dig up and move carefully to avoid damaging tender young roots.

Creative and Fun Ways to Use Kitchen Scraps

Looking for inspiration? Try these inventive ideas for putting kitchen scraps to work in your garden.

  • Make a scrap bouquet by inserting cuttings of herbs, onions, and leeks into a vase. Transplant them into soil as they begin to grow roots.

  • Grow potatoes in an old sack or bag filled with compost. Use potato pieces containing at least one “eye.” Tip over the bag to harvest mature potatoes!

  • Create a banana peel worm farm by burying peeled halves skin-side down in the garden. The peels will attract earthworms which aerate and enrich the soil.

  • Grow mushrooms on used coffee grounds. Certain mushroom varieties like oyster mushrooms thrive on the grounds.

The possibilities are endless when you look at food scraps as a resource rather than waste! With some creativity and care, you can cultivate a thriving garden using items right from your own kitchen.