Food is expensive and all the lovely dishes we create at Stir Crazy require money to buy fresh and good quality ingredients. And money is getting harder to come by in these economic times.

You will no doubt agree that your grocery shopping usually takes up the biggest chunk of our salaries every month. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. At the school, we use some ingenious ways to cut down on monthly grocery expenses by growing our own food from scraps, and you can do this yourself. Yes, you heard me – re-growing foods from your kitchen scraps that you would normally thrown away!

Regardless of whether you live in a small flat or have a rolling garden, re-growing some of your foods is entirely possible if you put a little time and effort into it. And since we all have some spare time on our hands at the moment, this would be a great time to embrace some light gardening and save money.

We have compiled five produce items you can easily re-grow from items you already have in your fridge or pantry. Where you would have normally thrown out scraps from these items, we challenge you to get creative with these suggestions.


  1. Lettuce

Lettuce and many green leafy vegetables like Bok Choy and cabbage are relatively easy to re-grow. All you need is leftover stems, a bowl and a bit of water. Place your leftover stems in a bowl with a bit of water in the bottom. Put the bowl somewhere that gets good sunlight and top up the water a few times. After 3 – 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear. Once this happens, transfer the stems to soil to continue its growth process.  Spring Onion can be re-grown in the same way.

a lettuce garden

  1. Avocado

The big avocado seed we are always throwing out can be repurposed to regrow some more so stop throwing them out. You will need to wash the seed and use toothpicks to suspend it over water in a bowl or jar. Ensure that the water comes up high enough to cover the bottom inch of the seed. Place this container in a warm place but not direct sunlight. Check your avocado seed every day and adjust the water level each time it decreases. It can take up to six weeks for the stem and the roots to appear. Once the steam reaches 15 centimetres you will need to cut it down to 7 centimetres. Leaves will begin appearing and that will be your indication to plant the seed in soil. Remember to leave about half of the seed above ground and it will grow beautifully into a plant, keep watering and taking care of it daily.

avocado seed

  1. Potatoes

It is well known that potatoes can be regrown from the potato peels, use peelings that have lots of spots on them and look like eyes. Cut the peels into 5cm pieces, make sure there are two or three ‘eyes’ on each piece. Dry them out overnight by leaving them on your kitchen counter. Plant them about 10cm deep in some soil ensuring they are facing upwards when planting. It will take a few weeks before you start seeing your potato plant begin to grow, but do not give up, keep watering it daily as gardening requires patience.

  1. Onions

To reg-grow onions you can easily grow them inside or outdoors, all you will need to do is cut the root of the onion off and ensure you leave about 2cm of onion when you do. Put the onion in a plant pot and cover it with potting soil and keep it in a sunny area. Make sure to water your onion plant daily and the plant will continue to grow as you like.

onion plants roots

  1. Peppers

You can now make use of all those pepper seeds you’ve been throwing out and repurpose them for growing a pepper tree! Collect the seeds from your habaneros, jalapenos or other peppers you have on hand. Plant them in potting soil and keep them in direct sunlight or alternatively just plant them in your gardening area. Planting peppers are straight-forward, and they grow relatively fast as they don’t need a lot of attention. Keep watering them daily however and they will grow fairly easily.


Top Tips for planting:

Create your own DIY Rain Gutter Garden


Many of us aren’t as fortunate to have sprawling green grass in our backyard for gardening, what a better excuse to create your very own hanging garden! Re-using an old rain gutter is the perfect solution to this problem and will allow you to be lazy and allow the rain to water your plants when you’ve forgotten. Plastic pipe cut in half can be created to create the same look. You can adjust them to be as long or short as you want.

hanging garden gutter

For more on How To Make A Hanging Herb Gutter Garden read this blog here.

If you’ve decided to make use of our tips and guides to plant some of your own produce, please tag us in your images on; Facebook (@cookwithstircrazy), Instagram (@stircrazycooking), Twitter (@StirCrazySA).