It happens all too often–you find old potatoes that have started sprouting many eyes in the pantry or vegetable basket in your kitchen. Usually, without thinking, you decide to toss them out. However, if you happen to have a garden in your backyard, you might want to think twice before doing so. Adding “spoiled” or “unusable parts” of food to your garden can turn them into fruitful plants. This is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to grow a plant that can bring you fresh veggies all year round. Next time you’re thinking of tossing out bad food, just add them to your garden! Here are five foods to add to your garden instead of the garbage.

5. Garlic


If your fresh garlic has been sitting on your counter for a while, it’s probably beginning to sprout. Carefully separate all the cloves, but avoid peeling them, as the paper-like skin works great for planting. Find a sunny spot with well-draining soil or containers, and plant each clove with the pointy tip or green sprout facing up, about one inch below the surface. Author Linda Ly recommends waiting until the shoots reach at least eight to ten inches in height and then harvesting the entire plant at once.

4. Sweet Potato

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes grow a different type of “eye” than regular potatoes; these are called “slips.” When you see slips start to form, you can encourage their growth by cutting a few inches from the bottom of the potato and inserting toothpicks at one-inch intervals an inch up from the bottom. Then, immerse the cut end in a jar filled with water and wait for more roots to sprout. Or you can cut off the section that has sprouted and plant it in the soil.

3. Pineapple


Thinking it’s time to get rid of your dry and shriveled pineapple? Perhaps not. Simply remove a few bottom leaves until you have a small stump. Let it air dry for two days, then place the pineapple in a jar of water, immersing the stump. Place the jar in a warm location near a window and be sure to keep the jar filled with water until roots begin to form. After rooting, plant the pineapple in potting soil. It may eventually produce flowers that bear small pineapples.

2. Onion


Many believe you cannot eat onions that have sprouted, as they are presumed to be rotten. Others think that if you plant a sprouted onion, it will only produce flowers, which can then be harvested for seeds to plant the following year but will produce an inedible onion bulb. However, according to blogger Anktangle, growing new onions from sprouted ones is possible, and she even explains how she does it on her website.

1. Ginger


If you spot a shriveled or dried piece of ginger root, bury it about one-half inch deep in moist potting soil. Keep the soil moist but make sure it doesn’t get too soggy. The ginger root will quickly produce palm-like leaves and eventually sprout more edible ginger root below the soil.

Related: Never Consume Ginger If You Have These 7 Conditions


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