Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The slogan first appeared in the early 1970s. And with today’s disposable society, they are words to take to heart. Have you ever wondered just how many fast food wrappers the landfills can hold?

We do try to recycle at my house. But what if I could tell you how to recycle your produce scraps and turn a small spot in your yard area into a productive vegetable garden? Suddenly reduce, reuse, recycle can save you money as well as helping the environment.

I don’t recall where I first read this tip, but a quick search of the Internet reveals a multitude of articles telling about various vegetables you can regrow from scraps of the original item.

Everything from garlic and scallions to potatoes, ginger, leeks and sweet potatoes can supposedly be regrown from produce scraps.

So, one day late last summer, I decided to give it a try. I had cut some green onions while making dinner one night. Instead of tossing the roots into the compost bin, I stuck them in the ground instead.

It was really quite easy; I simply made a hole about the size of the root with my finger, placed the piece roots down with just the top sticking out of the dirt.

Then I packed the dirt loosely around the stump. I kept the onions watered over the next several days and within just a few short days the ends started growing!

A couple of weeks later and I had scrawny little green onions growing from the roots.

I sort of forgot about my experiment as winter approached. But luckily for me, scallions seem to survive the winter in South Carolina very well. This Spring when I looked in my garden I had green onions growing that looked every bit as good as what I’d buy from the grocery store!

I plan to try other vegetables this Spring. What will you grow from scraps?

Karen Tempel, an aspiring chef since she could reach the countertops. She is the owner of Everyday Gourmet, a custom caterer in the Aiken area. Visit her website at or email her at