A must-try windowsill science experiment for kids: Growing Romaine Lettuce from Kitchen Scraps in step-by-step photographs.
Let’s get our kids learning and growing, not just today, every day!!!!
Here is a simple, but extremely effective science project to do with your children: Growing Romaine Lettuce from Kitchen Scraps. Grab your science journals and record the results.
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Growing Romaine Lettuce from Kitchen Scraps
By Betsy Finn
Did you know that the romaine lettuce core you add to your compost pile is actually capable of growing new leaves?
The process is pretty simple, and ultimately, you can transplant these “new” plants to your garden once the weather permits. My toddler has been really excited to watch what would have become compost bring new growth and life. And, secretly, I think he enjoys the prospect of more lettuce to eat.
So, how does this work? In a nutshell, the next time you make a salad, chop off the romaine lettuce core so that a couple of inches remain. Then, you place it in water — and wait for it to grow.
I’m going to share a few tips with you that we’ve learned while having a kitchen windowsill full of romaine lettuce cores.
Step-By-Step Instructions for How to grow romaine lettuce from Scraps
1. *ADULTS*, cut romaine lettuce core off, leaving about 2 inches.
2. Break a toothpick into thirds, and insert it into the bottom of the core, forming a tripod.
3. Place core into jar or container (if it won’t fit, you can break off some outside stems).
4. Fill with enough water to cover the lettuce core by about a half inch.
5. Place on the windowsill.
6. Water the romaine lettuce as needed (replacing completely if the water turns colored).
Once roots form, transplant them into your garden (or into potting soil). Wait for your Romaine lettuce to grow large enough to eat!
I know it sounds really simple, and you may be skeptical about it working. I know I was. I mean, getting the whole project started takes less than five minutes (maybe longer if your kids participate). But I’ve shared this technique with friends and they were also able to successfully grow romaine lettuce from a core in their outdoor garden.
To show you how quickly the lettuce starts to grow new leaves, the images accompanying this post have lettuce in three stages of growth: just cut, 1 week old, and 2 week old cores.
Can you regrow romaine lettuce from the stump?
Having lettuce cores at different stages of growth has been a nice teaching tool — it’s really easy to remind a toddler what the lettuce used to look like when you have a freshly cut core sitting alongside the “baby lettuce” that’s been growing for a few weeks.
So, next time you get out some lettuce to make a salad, make sure to save the core! You can include your kids in this indoor gardening project, and it’s not much work so far as cleanup goes. If your kids are anything like my son, you will have many requests to see how much the “baby lettuce” has grown over the course of a week.
Want to see what else we’ve been doing since our garden stopped growing things last fall?
Here are some more articles from Betsy that you may like:
- Looking at Katydids and Praying Mantises
- Watching Wildlife with Binoculars
- Learning About Weather Phenomena
About Betsy Finn – Betsy is a photographer, outdoors enthusiast, and mother. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two boys, and two cats. Homesteading and gardening experiments are right up Betsy’s alley — last year, the whole family assembled four 4×8 garden beds, put dirt in and plant over 200 seeds and seedlings that had been started indoors. While the deer stole most of their tomatoes, there was an abundance of squash, lettuce, carrots, and other delicious produce to be enjoyed by all. Betsy blogs at BPhotoArt.com.
For more gardening articles here at the Educators’ Spin On It, we recommend;
Best Flowers to Grow with Kids
Best Vegetables to Grow with Kids
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Kara Carrero says
This looks like so much fun! I have grown celery like this but had never thought of Romaine.
Betsy Finn says
Thanks for letting me guest post today! I'm not sure who had more fun putting this together, me …or my toddler 🙂
Emma @ P is for Preschooler says
What a fun idea! I especially love the photo where the cat is looking on too – learning across species? 😉
This sounds so easy. I am going to try it with my preschoolers and also at home!
Hi! So with the lettuce, I tried this same thing, and the water always turns like, highlighter yellow from the bottom! Any tips? ALSO the leaves were growing great and now browning.. never grew any roots! Do you know why? Perhaps I need a different kind?
Kim Vij says
If you notice brown spots starting, harvest right away. Cut around brown spots.