Is Regrowing Grocery Store Produce Worth the Effort?

Regrowing grocery store produce from food scraps is among one of the most popular garden- related discussions online. While the concept of using otherwise discarded plant parts to grow a completely new plant does sound nice, I could not help but initially feel skeptical about the process. It’s for this reason that I began to experiment with growing my own plants from grocery store produce.

From celery to mangoes, online posts related to regrowing grocery store produce abound. When I set out to attempt regrowing my own scraps, I quickly found it was essential to separate fact from fiction. I used a list of several key components in determining whether or not regrowth would be worth the time and effort. 

Foremost, I needed to determine the origin of the plant. Many commercially produced plants are hybrids, which have been bred specifically for adaptability and increased yield. Saving the seeds of these varieties will most likely not produce a plant that’s just like its parent. The same can also be said for many types of fruit trees. While the idea of planting my own orchard using apple seeds sounded alluring, this is simply not the way in which fruit trees are propagated for commercial production. 

After deciding which seeds could and could not be saved, I enjoyed introducing new varieties into the garden. One of my favorite projects involved saving seeds from several heirloom tomato varieties I had purchased at my local farmer’s market. With a little forethought, I was able to expand my garden to include over 50 varieties of tomato!
I also considered whether or not the endeavor was realistic for my own growing space. For me, smaller projects proved to be the best alternative. In containers, I was able to successfully regrow both green onions and rare culinary basil that I had found at an upscale grocery. While I’ve always wanted to try regrowing larger plants, like pineapples, I quickly realized that I simply didn’t have the room. For those with ample space, regrowing grocery store produce can be a fun experiment; new plants, which have been started in pots, can make lovely houseplants or even serve as interesting focal points for the outdoor garden.

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