Monday, June 4, 2012

The Celery Experiment!

We saw an intriguing thing on some blogs we follow and on a few Facebook pages.  People were re-growing food, from the bits one might usually discard.  Now, not much goes to waste here: we compost most of our vegetable matter , even in winter, to provide us with natural fertilizer; we might make vegetable soup stock from good bits; with pigs here all summer anything vegetable becomes a nice treat!  However, the idea of re-growing food seemed just to good to be true; we'd seen it done with celery, the root end of onions and even carrot tops!

We started ours April 1,  by using the cut base of a head of celery.  It was still too cold to plant outside and the sun room was stuffed with vegetables we'd seeded, so I decided to start it in water.  That way, I would also be less likely to forget about it, as I kept the glass by the kitchen sink.  I kept the water level fairly minimal, to avoid rot.  I was surprised at how quickly we had sprouts: in about a week the centre had a couple of wee shoots coming.  The little celery continued to grow and by Day 27 it was looking pretty good: check it out here.  However, things just seemed to fade out after that!  I began using a bit of seaweed fertilizer in the water, since we had it at hand for all our seedlings.  The little celery did put out some roots, finally, but very little new top growth was happening.  By Day 34 the outer rim of the stalks was beginning to decay, shrivelling up and turning brown.

We've had big fun with this project on our Facebook page: lots of comments, questions and people sharing their experience with re-growing their food.  People who planted it seemed to have better luck, so yesterday ours went into a pot on the patio!  By now, the outer, cut stalks are black and soft, with a little bit of white, moldy-looking bits that I believe are really decayed cell-wall material.  We'll see if it bounces back, now that the roots are in soil.  It being planted time here, I think we'll try another directly into a pot!  Have you ever tried to re-grow your food?


  1. I've done it with basil, if you can find the bunches with roots still attached. You can cut off the greens leaving a couple inches still attached to the roots and repot and a whole new basil plant will grow, much faster than one from seed.

  2. I've never tried this before but it sounds like a science experiment I might have done in elementary school. Sounds like fun.

  3. I took my celery heart and popped it into water in a cup on the windowsill, and it spread out and greened up and rooted nicely. I planted it in the garden last week, but yesterday's 30 degrees have shriveled it back quite a bit. Hopefully it'll bounce back.

  4. Wow its a very good post. The information provided by you is really very good and helpful for me. Keep sharing good information..

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  5. This is perfect for kids to try and document for a school project!

    1. Jeff, apparently you can do it with those little green onion rootlet parts and, well, basil, too!