I wanted to experiment with the “regrow veggie from scraps” thing I keep seeing on social media. So, I cut off a head of organic lettuce and kept it in water for a few days… and waited.
The verdict: it works. I later planted the lettuce in organic garden soil and it is happily growing in a container on my back porch for the past two weeks.
I found one great source explaining why re-growing it only in water is not going to produce a lettuce with nutrients and good flavor. So, if you think you can just keep in a container of water on your indoor windowsill and regrow it- well, it will regrow but it won’t be nutritious.
Mine was kept in about an inch of water (filtered water or outdoor rain water is best) for 4 days until it sprouted up well in the center. I changed the water out once. I then I tore off the outer leaves and planted in a container of soil.
Per Dr. Kemble, Professor of Horticulture from Auburn University (Source is the Bestfoodfacts.org article Can You Regrow Lettuce and other Veggies in Water?)
“Lettuce can grow hydroponically, but water itself is not a good medium to grow things in. The types of roots that form in water are very different from the types of roots that form in soil. By itself, water does not contain any nutrients.
…The taste wouldn’t be very good, because it will be greatly stressed due to the fact that it doesn’t get much sunlight, and it doesn’t have any nutrients. I wouldn’t suggest sticking it in the sun, unless you were actually going to try to provide some nutrients to the plant.”
So, my verdict is- it works. You should try it! Our kids thought it was cool to watch grow.
Okay, admittedly, I thought it was pretty cool. Plant in well amended and nutrient-dense soil, such as an all organic soil with compost added to it. I would also companion plant with onions or garlic to protect the lettuce from insects and pests. Strawberries and radishes also show up on most companion planting charts with lettuce.
A Few Companion Planting Charts: