Planting grocery store pips & seeds
Turn pips and seeds into free plants!
Planting pips and seeds from bought fruit and vegetables is fun, and an easy way to grow your own house and garden plants for free! Many pips will grow into attractive houseplants and some will even bear edible fruit.
Growing things from scraps is also a great way for children to learn about food and gardening.
Grow Your Own Meyer Lemon
Patchieri has a lovely blog explaining how to grow Meyer Lemons from seed. You need to start with a fresh Meyer lemon, but from then on the procedure is as easy as lemon meringue pie!
If you haven't yet come to love Meyer lemons, of if you're looking for ideas on how to use them, then I can thoroughly recommend popping over to Kitchen Butterfly and reading The Anatomy of a Meyer Lemon, which is more of a love poem than a science lesson :)
Asian Vegetables - A Guide to Growing Fruit, Vegetables and Spices from the Indian Subcontinent
Many unusual edibles can be grown from produce from your local Asian market....
Sally Cunningham has a unique way of sourcing plants for her vegetable garden - she goes into local ethnic markets and buys whichever fruits and vegetables she doesn't recognise. Once she's home, she tries to grow her own, from the pips, seeds and roots that she has found. In 'Asian Vegetables' she gathers together her experiences of doing just this, plus considerable horticultural knowledge, and gives us a guide to successfully growing these exotic plants at home.
Grow Your Own Lost Crop!
Oca (also known as the New Zealand Yam) is one of the Lost Crops of the Inca, a staple food of the Incas that has been all but forgotten outside it's home region in modern times. But as we focus on where our food comes from, and turn to good nutrition in place of medication and as we look for vegetables that will thrive in a changing climate then oca is becoming more popular. If you can find some of these colourful tubers in your local market then they are very easy to grow as garden plants - listen to episode 79 of the Alternative Kitchen Garden Show for more details.
Grow your own sweet potato slips
Sweet potatoes are easy to grow in a warm climate, or in a greenhouse. They're usually grown from slips - essentially cuttings - but you can make your own slips by sprouting a sweet potato. Cover the potato in compost, keep it warm, and it will start sending up shoots that grow rapidly. Once they've started to root they can be detached from the parent and potted up for planting out when the weather is suitable.
Don't Throw It, Grow It! - '68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps'
Deborah Peterson, former president of the American Pit Gardening Society, shows how common kitchen staples - pits, nuts, beans, seeds, and tubers - can be coaxed into lush, vibrant houseplants that are as attractive as they are fascinating. With Peterson's help, a sweet potato turns into a blooming vine; chickpeas transform into cheery hanging baskets; the humble beet becomes a dramatic centerpiece; and gingerroot grows into a 3-foot, bamboo-like stalk. In some cases the transformation can happen overnight!
"Don't Throw It, Grow It!" offers growing instructions for over 50 plants in four broad categories - kitchen vegetables; fruits and nuts; herbs and spices; and more exotic plants from ethnic markets. The book is enhanced with beautiful illustrations, and its at-a-glance format makes it a quick and easy reference. Best of all, every featured plant can be grown in a kitchen, making this handy guide a must-have for avid gardeners and apartment-dwellers alike.
"Don't Throw It, Grow It!" will appeal both to committed recyclers and to anyone who wants to find magic in the mundane - from parents and teachers looking to instill a sense of wonder in children, to the houseplant enthusiast seeking to create a one-of-a-kind Eden right in her kitchen.
A (prickly!) taste of the exotic
A really exotic one to try - you can save seeds from a dragon fruit and try to grow your own! The dragon fruit comes from a warm climate, and so in most places the plants will have to be kept indoors.
The seeds are a little tricky to extract from the pulp, but there are plenty of them! Even one fruit will give you more seeds than you can use, so you'll have enough to share. Fresh seeds germinate easily.
The only problem with dragon fruit plants is that they're spiny! They're cacti, and grow quite slowly, and become ferociously prickly after a while.
Watch an avocado stone sprout and grow
Growing a plant from an avocado is a traditional project for children. There are two ways to do it - suspending your stone above water, or planting it up in compost. Either way, whether or not the stone sprouts is largely down to getting the temperature right.
The resulting bush is unlikely to fruit in most climates, but it does make an attractive house plant.
Read more about planting avocado stones.
The Pip Book
by Keith Mossman
If you really want to get in to growing fruit and vegetables from pips, then try and get hold of a copy of The Pip Book, by Keith Mossman. It's out of print at the moment, but you can find second hand copies and it's worth the money.
Read my review of The Pip Book.
There's plenty of plantable pips in a pomegranate!
The pomegranate is a very exotic looking fruit, but it is possible to grow a pomegranate bush that will fruit in a temperate climate.
The nice thing about a pomegranate is that it contains a lot of pips, so you can sow some, save some and eat the rest!
Planting peanuts is a fun project for kids
Growing peanuts is a great project for kids because they grow in an unusual way. When the plant has flowered, the stem bends over to 'plant' the seeds in the ground.
Read more about growing peanuts.
Grow your own citrus trees
Grow beautiful houseplants with the potential for edible fruit
Most citrus fruits contain viable seeds that will grow into attractive houseplants if you sow them.
Listen to episode 41 of the Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast to learn more and find out which varieties are the most likely to bear edible fruit for you.
Find out how to turn the top of your pineapple into a whole new plant with this article reprinted from Gardeners' World magazine.
If you can keep it warm enough, you may even be able to grow your own pineapple!
Grocery store peppers
If you bought a pepper you like, try growing your own
It's easy to extract seeds from sweet and chilli peppers you use in the kitchen, and they're likely to grow if you plant them - but the fruit they bear may be different to the original.
Find out how I got on when I grew my grocery store pepper seeds.
Save money on seeds
Planting pips is just one way to have a productive garden without spending much money. Check out my other ideas for frugal gardening - I've collected together some blog posts, articles and podcasts on the subject.