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Planting grocery store pips & seeds

Updated on April 14, 2013

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.

Meyer Lemon flowers
Meyer Lemon flowers

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....

Asian Vegetables: A Guide to Growing Fruit, Vegetables and Spices from the Indian Subcontinent
Asian Vegetables: A Guide to Growing Fruit, Vegetables and Spices from the Indian Subcontinent

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.

 
How to grow oca
How to grow oca

Oca

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.

Sweet Potatoes

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.

Dragon fruit
Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit

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.

Avocado

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.

Pomegranate
Pomegranate

Pomegranate

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!

Peanuts
Peanuts

Peanuts

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.

Frugal gardening

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.

Tell me about your pips!

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    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Currently, trying to grow a mango, some avocado, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dragon fruit, passion fruit, all from seed procured from fruit from my grocery store. I want to find a date pit...and grow a date tree. The other day, I saw a fig and was tempted to try to plant it, but... busy weekend, left it at the store. HOPE I don't regret it..

    • Flowerchild1946 profile image

      Carol Brooks 4 years ago from Florida

      My boyfriend and I are growing papayas from pips. We live in Florida so they grow quite well outdoors, but could be grown indoors in a sunny room.

    • profile image

      laurenrich 4 years ago

      These are wonderful tips and ideas. I will be growing plants from pips. Thanks for sharing this great information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Interesting plants!

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 4 years ago

      Interesting. I have tried a few, but it was a long time ago. Maybe I'll give it a try again. I've grown pineapple and avocado. They weren't very successful. You gave me an idea to try a few different ones. Thanks!

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image
      Author

      EmmaCooper LM 5 years ago

      @nifwlseirff: It might, it depends on what the problem is. If it's just cold weather, then some types of citrus (particularly lemons) are much hardier than others.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      A great lens! I'd love to have a bigger garden, but I'm restricted to a small balcony at the moment, that moves inside and takes over the kitchen in winter.

    • profile image

      mywyomingadventure 5 years ago

      I have never tried growing pips. I think I might give it a whirl.

    • profile image

      joydeepdam 5 years ago

      very nice , informative and likeable lens indeed. btw, can you really grow the same variety as the store bought one...i thought most of them are hybrid...how about growing something what can be bought from local farmer's market....cheers from germany :)

    • AnnaMKB profile image

      AnnaMKB 5 years ago

      We've made several attempts at growing avocado, but have never managed more then 3 years before something kills it. :-/ My father has grown organges and apples.

      I was fascinated to read about the dragon fruit. We've bought some to taste, but I didn't think of trying to grow it. That's one I'd like to try!

    • profile image

      TexasGranny 5 years ago

      The trees I root from seed are Grapefruit, grapes, Mulberry, Avacado, Granny Smith apples, Papaya, Orange, Lemon and Lime. The cuttings I root are Pineapple, Fig and celery. When onions start to sprout before they are used, they are planted and when they go to seed, the seeds are collected for planting. These items are all provided to family and friends who want to start their own backyard orchards and it's how we started ours. Yes, they do produce, some quite heavily. The celery is rooted from the bottom of the stalk that's cut off to get all the stalks loose. It makes a lush pot plant and of course the leaves and thin stalks are used again in seasonings. A hint about pineapples you root -- they grow like crazy without much water. I have yet to get avacados off any of the trees I've rooted, however.

    • EmmaCooper LM profile image
      Author

      EmmaCooper LM 5 years ago

      @athensfever: thank you :)

    • profile image

      athensfever 5 years ago

      Great lens! i'm going to start a similar garden, I also enjoyed the pages on your site emmacooper.org

    • christopherlee lm profile image

      christopherlee lm 6 years ago

      Nice len, i like anything to do with garden and growing veg.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this lens. I think planting vegetables is a wonderful pastime, not to mention that not only you plant your own food, you also saved a lot of money and had a great time doing it. Lovely lens

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      Just returning to say that this lens has been blessed and added to my Growing Vegetables and Herbs lens.

    • simplegirl lm profile image

      simplegirl lm 6 years ago

      Love this lens! love it. so many great ideas!

    • profile image

      hershel01 6 years ago

      Very good idea's some I did not know you could grow, this will be fun.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I just had an avocado, so I'm gonna try and grow the pip!

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 7 years ago

      Good ideas on growing inexpensive house plants. I will try out the oca and the pomegranate in my left over garden.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wow, who knew! I never heard of being able to do most of these, how cool (I admit it, I'm not much of a gardener LOL) I would like to try a few of them, the peanuts first! Great lens, thanks! - Kathy

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

      I've got an avocado tree started in my home. We sprouted an organic pit this summer and now we've got a tree about 18 inches tall with many leaves. In the past our children sprouted carrot tops and dried beans on the kitchen windowsill. These days most of our kitchen waste goes to compost, never to trash.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 7 years ago from Australia

      You have some great ideas here. I'm giving peanuts a go this year for the first time.

    • LoKackl profile image

      LoKackl 7 years ago

      Creative and practical information. Nice job. Squid Angel Blessed. To assure continued blessings, I suggest more personal-experience content.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Hi, This lens is very good. I like most..

      5 Star.

      Please. look at this lens click here

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      I've got to try this with some tomato seeds that I love.q

    • profile image

      beachbum_gabby 9 years ago

      My mom do this a lot. Every time we ate a nice fruit, she did not throw the seed but instead, she plant it. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks for the info - it will be a great project to keep the kids entertained this summer.