Regrowing veggies in water from kitchen scraps seems to be all the rage on social media. You can find many articles and comments on the subject on the internet and, indeed, many things can be regrown from kitchen scraps. Let’s take lettuce, for example. Can you regrow lettuce in water? Keep reading to find out how to grow lettuce from a stump of the green.
Can You Regrow Lettuce?
The simple answer is yes, and regrowing lettuce in water is a super simple experiment. I say experiment because regrowing lettuce in water will not get you enough lettuce to make a salad, but it is a really cool project-- something to do in the dead of winter or a fun project with the kids. Why won’t you get much usable lettuce? If the lettuce plants growing in water get roots (and they do) and they get leaves (yep), why won’t they we get enough useful leaves? Lettuce plants growing in water don’t get enough nutrients to make a whole head of lettuce, again since water has no nutrients. Also, the stump or stem that you are trying to regrow from has no nutrients contained therein. You would have to regrow the lettuce hydroponically and provide it with plenty of light and nutrition. That said, it’s still fun to try regrowing lettuce in water and you will get some leaves.
How to Regrow Lettuce from a Stump
To regrow lettuce in water, save the end from a head of lettuce. That is, cut the leaves from the stem at about one inch (2.5 cm.) from the bottom. Put the stem end in a shallow dish with about ½ inch (1 cm.) of water. Put the dish with the lettuce stump on a window sill if there isn’t too much disparity between the outdoor and indoor temps. If there is, put the stump under grow lights. Be sure to change the water in the dish every day or so. After a couple of days, roots will begin to grow at the bottom of the stump and leaves will begin to form. After 10 to 12 days, the leaves will be as large and plentiful as they are ever going to get. Snip off your fresh leaves and make an itsy bitsy salad or add them to a sandwich. You may need to try regrowing lettuce a couple times before you get a useable finished project. Some lettuce works better than others (romaine), and sometimes they’ll begin growing and then die in a few days or bolt. Nonetheless, this is a fun experiment and you will be amazed (when it works) at how quickly the lettuce leaves begin to unfurl.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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