Want to try your hand at growing some of your own food? You can start with something as simple as giving new life to an everyday kitchen scrap. I'll show you how easy it is to regrow celery from the root end of the bunch.
It's an edible DIY even apartment-dwellers can do, and it's a good way to teach kids about where food comes from.
How to Regrow Celery at Home
1. Cut off the end
Slice about 2 inches off the root end of a bunch of celery. Optional: Insert 4 toothpicks equally spaced around the celery, about 1 ½ inches from the bottom.
2. Place in water.
Set the celery in a shallow glass bowl or jar. Fill with enough water to submerge an inch of the root end. Place the bowl or jar where it can get good natural light for several hours a day. I placed my bowl near a kitchen window with east light so it wouldn't get harsh and hot at midday. Change the water every couple of days, making sure the celery root end is always submerged.The optional toothpicks are to keep the celery from touching the bottom of the bowl. I've tried regrowing celery in water without suspending the root end off the bottom, but found that the outer stalks rot more quickly.
3. Watch it grows.
After a few days, you should start seeing small leaves emerging from the very center of the top. In about a week, you may see small stalks and leaves. The cut stalks around the outer base may start deteriorating and turning brown. Don't panic—this is normal. But if you leave the celery in water for too much longer, the outer stalks will get serious rot, so it's best to plant before that happens.
4. Replant in soil.
You can plant the celery in potting soil or directly into your garden. If you use potting soil, choose a mix without pesticides, and suitable for vegetables and herbs. Make a hole deep and wide enough to hold the plant from the root end up to the cut end. Set the celery into the soil, making sure there's no air pocket below the root end. Gently fill in and tamp the surrounding soil so a bit of the cut end and all of the emerging leaves and stalks are above the soil. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Celery thrives in cool weather and rich soil, so give it shade in the hottest part of the day and feed it to replenish nutrients. Rodale has great tips for growing celery in your garden.
Update: The experiment worked! This scrappy little guy grew into a full-size, deeply flavorful celery plant with long stalks and large leaves. I harvest stalks by snapping off the outer ribs and letting the inside grow. I also harvest leaves to use in salads, soups, etc. I have to tell you, it's just so satisfying to regrow something I used to throw away.
Learn how to grow an endless supply of fresh green onions from scraps.