Indoor Plants From Kitchen Scraps: Success!

A couple of weeks ago, I began a rather ‘unorthodox’ winter garden experiment; growing indoor plants from kitchen scraps.  The best part of this experiment is that I did not have to go out to buy any plants to brighten my windowsill, since I was using kitchen scraps that would have normally been thrown out or tossed into the compost pile.

I started out by planting lentils, a radish, garlic cloves, green beans and a sweet potato.  I blogged about how to prepare and plant the kitchen scraps when I started this experiment 2 weeks ago (you can read about it here).

Well, I must admit that I am really surprised at how great my kitchen scraps are growing, with the exception of one plant that didn’t sprout.

This is what they look like just 2 weeks after planting…

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Below, are photos of each type of kitchen scrap I planted and how they have progressed from planting to how they have grown 14 days later.


I love how delicate and airy the lentils look, don’t you?

Now, for my radish top…

To be honest, I wasn’t sure my radish top would grow because it was rather small after 1 week.  But, look at the difference 7 days more makes!  I am hoping my radish flowers, because it is supposed to be pretty.

Garlic is next up…

I am happy to say that garlic grows as easily inside as outside.  I plant to use my garlic greens as a garnish, similar to how I use green onions (scallions).

It is now time to see how my sweet potato is doing…

My sweet potato has been growing very slowly.  The reason for this is that I used a regular sweet potato from the grocery store where most of them are treated so that they won’t sprout.  When I researched growing sweet potatoes, some people stated that you need to use an organic sweet potato that hasn’t been treated.  BUT, most of what I read said to use a regular, grocery store variety sweet potato, which is what I did.  As you can see, the roots are beginning to grow and I am excited to see green vines appear on the top of my sweet potato.

I wish that I could say that all my kitchen scrap plants grew, but there is one that hasn’t…

My green beans never came up.  

According to the book “Don’t Throw It, Grow It” 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps” by Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam: you can grow green bean plants from the seeds.  They also state that you can grow beans using regular dried beans as long as you soak them overnight before planting.

I’m sorry that my beans didn’t make it, but one of the things I enjoy about gardening is not always knowing what will happen when trying something new.

Overall, I am thrilled with the results of my ‘unorthodox gardening experiment.”

Who knew that these kitchen scraps could be used to grow attractive indoor plants?

Have you ever grown plants using kitchen scraps?  Well, if you are tired of not being able to garden outdoors during the cold winter months, how about growing some kitchen scraps of your own?
I promise to update you in a few weeks as my plants keep growing and hopefully some will even flower.
      • jessica says

        When finished with a celery stalk,put about a 1/8-1/4 in. of water in a container,and set the base of the stalk in there. It will sprout roots from the bottom and will also bloom a new stalk from the top. I have 2 going right now. One I started 2 weeks ago and the new stalk is already 4 in. tall,with good ,hearty roots & the other is 4 days in,and is about 2 1/2 in. tall,with medium & hearty roots. I also Have Romaine ( 8 stalks to be exact) growing the same way. I just change out the water and rinse them every 3-4 days. (: Next I am trying out carrots.

  1. Ozark Mtn Nana says

    The green beans were not mature seeds. Green beans picked for cooking do not have mature seeds in them. You would have to leave the bean on the bush until the pod had dried. That is what “dried” beans are.

    • Noelle says

      Thank you for the good advice. The book said that you could grow fresh green beans out of the pod, but obviously, mine didn’t work…


  2. Randy Francisco says

    I have been doing this for years with lots of luck but I had a orange tree that got about 3″ no matter what I did they died any ideas . thank you

  3. Nicole says

    I eat a lot of avocados and decided to plant several of the big, beautiful seeds in different pots (I wasn’t sure which way was up on the seed) and to my surprise four of the six I planted grew a beautiful young tree. I keep it in a large pot, so I can bring it indoors during the winter. It is such a lovely tree.

  4. Pat Asling says

    I think you will find that the seeds from green beans, as we eat them, will never grow as they are immature. You have to have dried beans, as if you had not picked them but left them on the vine to ripen or mature. Then they will grow-like the lentils.

  5. Mary Williams says

    Just so you know you can cut off the end of a bunch of celery and put in dirt and it will spout and dry the seeds of lemons and oranges and put in dirt and they will sprout. Let an avocado seed dry, put 3 toothpicks in to support at least 2/3 of the seed in water. keep water level up and it will sprout. Cut top of pineapple off and put in dirt and it will grow also. It’s so much fun. Make sure you don’t use water from a water softner (salt) and if the seeds, like maybe the beans, have been refrigerated, I would let them dry really good before planting them. You might try that.

  6. Cathy V. says

    I’ve grown plants from lemon, grapefruit & orange seeds. Right now have a lemon plant growing & it is thriving – I need to repot to a larger pot! I just do it for the satisfaction of growing from seed – if it gets really big all the better 😉

  7. Euni Moore says

    Cut the bottom two inches from a bunch of celery, stick it in a pot of soil and place in bright light. Leaves will begin to pop out of the heart and roots will form. The leaves are excellent for seasoning. Also, cut about 1/2 inch of green onion that still has roots and do the same thing as with the celery. I didn’t get any onion bulbs but the greens can be used like chives. Also, the top of a carrot can be used the same way. Have fun. All these ideas came from the blog Chickens in the Road. Fun place to visit.

  8. Sharon Marcantoni says

    I throw my kitchen scraps in my big planter on the patio (for compost) and I am always surprised when I see something growing. I’ll have to try this idea (sweet potatoes were always go-to thing for projects).

  9. Cathy says

    I have a habit of buying too many yams. Since they keep very well on the counters, I keep them on hand for later eating. Lately, they have formed leaves, probably 1 to 2 months. So when the leaves get bigger or when I get a big pot and soil, I will plant them in a big container, maybe with two or three full yams.

    Last year, I planted three in a big container (10″ dia). The roots formed on their own with consistent watering while it was growing in vines. But since I am a snowbird, didn’t get a chance to see if I got any babies. When I get back to WA state in the spring, I am hoping for new sprouts to greet me.

    Potatoes are very easy to grow. They are always sprouting, even in compost piles. I think their leaves are pretty, too and fill in the bare spots.

      • Stephany says

        To grow apple and pear seeds, stick in wet paper towel and leave it in the fridge for about 3 months. Check on it every few weeks. They have to cold sprout. Striation or something like that. They dont grow true to the parent fruit. You could end up with a crab apple or something incredible. It’s a fun experiment. My tree is growing strong. If you don’t like the apples it produces, you can easily graft limbs of desirable apples on to it.

        As for lemons and other citrus, they sprout better if you dont let them dry out.

  10. REBECCA MCCOY says

    Try planting the top of a pineapple. Just stick the little cone shaped part (that you cut out when you core it) with the stalk attached. It will grown into a pretty, easy to care for, plant. And my son has a 10 ft apple tree in his yard that he started from a seed.

  11. Carla L says

    The reason the green beans did’t grow was because the “seeds” you used. Like the lentils next time try dried beans and you’ll have success. I grow several varieties of beans to the tune of over 30 lbs this summer already and they have to be dried beans. The beans you used we still developing. I’ve also grown celery from scraps well. Thanks for all of your ideas


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