9 Vegetables to Buy in the Grocery Store and Plant in the Garden
Updated: Jun 10
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Did you know that you can actually grow a large amount of food from produce that you buy in the grocery store? I actually find that it’s much cheaper to get your produce from the grocery store than buying the specialty plants from the hardware store or from an online gardening supply store. Some plants you can direct sow, and others need propagation. There are actually many veggies that can be bought in the grocery store, used in a meal, and then regrown from scraps!
A note before we dive in:
It is best to buy organic produce from the grocery store. Buying organic ensures there are no chemicals sprayed on the vegetable that might prevent it from sprouting, AND it ensures the veggies are not genetically modified, which can also prevent regrowth. This does not apply to all vegetables you can regrow in the garden, but many do. To ensure a successful crop, buy organic.
I’ve divided up these vegetables into two categories: plants that can be planted directly without propagation, and plants that require propagation.
Here are my 9 favorite plants to regrow from grocery store produce!
Potatoes are some of my favorite veggies to regrow from the grocery store! Nothing is more satisfying than pulling up a clump of about 5-10 potatoes from a place where you planted only 1 potato!
Different people have different ways of regrowing potatoes, but I like to keep it simple. I buy organic potatoes from the grocery store (non-organic potatoes are often sprayed with a chemical to keep them from sprouting). I wait for them to sprout in my pantry or window. Once sprouted, toss them in the ground about 1-3 feet apart and cover with about 6 inches of soil.
Potatoes can be succession planted, meaning plant a few potatoes every few weeks. They only take about 2 months before they start producing, and about 3 months before the leaves will die back and the tubers are as big as they are going to get. Meaning you can plant these in August and still get a good harvest before the first frost! (If you live in a moderate climate).
2. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes, like regular potatoes, are some of my favorite things to grow, because of how easy they are, and the HIGH production! Similar to regular potatoes, you can leave these in your window to spout them before planting. You can actually speed up this process with sweet potatoes by placing them half-submerged in a glass of water. Once they’ve sprouted, I toss them in the garden. Space them about 1-3 feet apart and cover in about 6 inches of soil.
One of my favorite things to do is to find different varieties of sweet potatoes in the grocery store, and then plant those in the garden. I like to try and buy white sweet potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes. Growing a new variety is always fun!
I like to get sweet potatoes in the garden early, and then leave them until right before the first frost. The longer you leave them, the more potatoes they will produce. Sweet potatoes won’t die back after the tubers are fully grown. Sweet potatoes put out a vine, and that vine will grow roots when it touches more soil, similar to the popular houseplant, pothos, or "devil's ivy". These roots will also become potatoes if left in the ground long enough. Again, sweet potatoes can be VERY productive if left in the ground long enough. They can also be a tad invasive, so plan accordingly.
Garlic is the vegetable I ALWAYS buy in the grocery store to plant because I’ve found that they don’t sell it at my local gardening center! If you want different varieties, you may need to go online to order them, but I’ve always been able to find the varieties I like in my grocery store.
Garlic is so easy to grow! In the fall (I usually plant in October), break up your bulb into cloves, and plant the cloves about 4 inches deep. Do not strip off the papery skin from around the garlic, and be sure to plant the garlic pointing up. You will see these sprout after a few days, and come summertime, you will have a full head of garlic from every clove you planted!
4. Dry beans
I’m not going to lie to you, growing beans is one of my least favorite veggies to grow in the garden. I grew a bunch of beans last year from the dried beans I bought in the grocery store, and it works just fine. I’ve found that beans take a LOT of work for very little harvest. However, if you love beans, this is an easy and cheap way to grow them!
Simply buy a bag of dried beans in the grocery store, and plant! Some people soak dry beans for a day before planting, but I’ve found this unnecessary and can even disrupt the plant’s growth as the transfer to soil shocks the young spout.
Ginger is a relatively new plant to me, and one I’ve only grown once in my garden. I bought ginger root from the grocery and soaked it half-submerged in water for a few months in my window. It took several months, but eventually, it began to sprout. After it had some healthy-looking sprouts, I transplanted it outside into my garden. Other growers say that you only need to soak ginger overnight before transplanting it into the soil.
Ginger is similar to potatoes in that it has eyes from which the plant will sprout. It is a root veggie and so it needs plenty of depth to grow. If you’re growing in a pot, give at least a foot of vertical space.
Celery is another great plant to grow from kitchen scraps. After you use this plant for cooking, put the base of it in water. Set the bowl of water in your window, and in a few days, it will begin to regrow. The challenge I’ve found with regrowing celery is transferring it to the soil. Oftentimes, the transfer can shock the plant, and the plant dies. From my successes with celery, the key to keeping it alive is to keep it moist. Do not transfer it outside in the heat of summer. Transfer it to milder temperatures, and keep it well watered. Spring is the best time to transfer this veggie outdoors, as it's usually damp weather, and by the time it gets warm outside, the plant has a healthy root system established.
Lettuce is another great one to regrow from scraps. Similar to celery and green onions, after you use the lettuce, plant the base in water. Obviously, you’ll need to purchase a variety of lettuce with a base and not loose-leaf. After just a few days, you will see the plant begin to regrow. When the threat of frost has passed, transplant this into your garden!
A few challenges I’ve found with transplanting lettuce this way are that one; the transplant can shock and kill the plant, and two; the lettuce might immediately bolt (go to seed). The way to avoid these things from happening is to plant them in either early spring or the fall. Lettuce does not like heat and tends to dry out or bolt. Spring and fall are great times to grow lettuce.
Herbs are something I think everyone should grow. It’s so nice and easy to always have fresh herbs on hand for cooking, tea, and medicinal purposes. I grow my herbs outside in my garden because that allows them to grow larger and more abundant, but most herbs do very well in pots and can be grown inside!
Many herbs can be grown from cuttings, AKA, those little packages of herbs you can find in the grocery store! My favorites are sage, thyme, mint, dill, basil, oregano, and lemon balm. But experiment and you might be surprised by what you can regrow from a cutting. Simply place the cutting in a cup of water, put it in your window, and watch the growth!
From that list, the only annuals are dill and basil (meaning they do not come back year after year and need to be replanted). The rest of the herbs are perennials and will return every year after planting. Therefore, with an established herb garden, the only herbs I propagate are dill and basil. Basil is VERY easy to propagate from a cutting, as its roots grow very quickly. Usually, I get a cutting of basil in January or February to propagate, and by the time April comes around, I have about 5-6 basil plants to put out in my garden!
9. Green onions
Green onions never cease to surprise me with how EASY they are to regrow! When you buy these in the grocery store, use them like normal, but then place the base of the plant (where the roots are) in a small glass of water in your window seal. Within ONE day, you will see growth! When the threat of frost has passed, plant these outside for an endless supply of green onions! You can also plant these indoors in a pot for easier access.
And that's it! 9 veggies to regrow from the grocery store! There are actually many many more vegetables you can regrow from grocery store produce, but these are my favorites and the most practical in my opinion. Let me know in the comments if you've ever tried to regrow any of these vegetables!