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Tired of buying a whole pack of fresh herbs or veggies when the recipe only calls for a small amount? Make the most out of your purchase and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle by growing a fresh batch of greens using scrap parts. Here are 6 easy starter plants to help you get your edible garden going.

  1. Spring Onion

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    One of the easiest veggies to grow from scraps, spring onions are pretty hardy and can even be grown in water. Cut off the root end of the onion at about 2cm and leave in a cup with enough water to submerge the base. You’ll soon see dangly roots appearing at the end and the stalk will start to grow. You can transfer them to potting soil or simply keep them as is with weekly water changes.

    Spring onions are fast growers and it can be a very satisfying project. Follow the step-by-step tutorial here.

  2. Celery

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    Celery is a great starter plant for a home-based edible garden as it is low maintenance. Simply cut off the bottom root from your celery, about 5-7cm in height, and place it upright in a bowl of water in a well-lit area. Change the water daily and keep an eye on any signs of regrowth. You can then transfer the celery to a pot.

    You can follow the instructions here.

  3. Lettuce

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    Place the base of your lettuce in a shallow bowl of water, about 1-2cm deep, and leave it in a sunny spot. You should see roots appearing after 3 or 4 days and have your first harvest in 10-12 days. This is when you should snip off the new leaves or they may go bitter. While the amount of regrowth you will get from the stump probably isn’t enough to make a salad, it’s perfect for garnishing sandwiches.

    Experiment with different varieties of lettuce as some are easier to grow than others. Romaine would be a safe bet, but don’t give up if you don’t succeed on your first try. Follow these instructions to up your chances.

  4. Lemongrass

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    They’re as good in savoury dishes as they are in sweet drinks. This versatile herb is another beginner-friendly plant you can regrow at home. Just make sure you save a few of the roots for your gardening project as they are the more flavourful part of the stalk that is used in cooking.

    Place a few roots in a little water (just enough to go up about 1cm from the base) and leave them in the sunlight, with water changes every 2-3 days. You can transplant the lemongrass to a pot once you see new growth. When they get to the right size, harvest the stalks and repeat. Follow the instructions here.

  5. Chilli

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    If you love your food hot and spicy, you’d want an endless supply of fresh chilli growing right in your pantry. To grow your peppers of choice, carefully collect the seeds and plant them in potting soil under ample sunlight. Be sure to keep the soil constantly moist but not soaking wet.

    Once the chilli peppers are fully developed, they’re ready to harvest, although they will get spicier the longer you leave them. However, try not to leave them on for too long because this may cause your yield to decline.

    Find out how to care for your chilli plants here.

  6. Basil

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    Jazz up your pasta, pizza, and salad with a pop of fresh basil from your home garden. All you need to do is place a stalk of basil, about 8-10cm long, in a glass of water. Remove about 75% of the leaves to help the plant expend less energy as it sprouts roots. Leave the glass sitting in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Roots should begin to form in a few days. You can shift the herb to a pot when the roots are about 5cm in length.

    You can follow the instructions here.

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Ingredients (serves 4):