Looking for a fun, educational project for the kids or just something different for your indoor garden? Try growing plants from kitchen scraps.
We’ve all heard of soaking and rooting avocado seeds indoors. Did you know you can also grow apple and lemon trees from seed? Pineapple tops transform into attractive plants and yams create a long, handsome vine. In every kitchen garbage bin there is a garden waiting to be planted.
It’s easy and fun to grow new plants with leftover fruits and vegetables. Here’s how:
- Apples: Apples make an attractive indoor tree. Plant several apple seeds at once—germination is not high. If possible, try various apple types. Before planting, soak apple seeds overnight in warm water.
Plant six to 12 seeds in a high quality potting soil. Press the seeds into the soil slightly and cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep moist. Apples may take a month or more to germinate; be patient.
- Avocados: When grown indoors, avocado trees won’t fruit, but they will become large, tropical floor plants. First, wash the seed and let it dry overnight. To plant, peel off the brown outer skin. Stick four toothpicks in the center of the seed at equal intervals. Place in a jar of water with the flat side of the seed down and the pointed side up, leaving one-third of the seed in water. Store in a dark place such as a kitchen cabinet.
Roots will grow in the water and a stem will rise from the top of the avocado seed. When the stem is about 6 inches high, cut it off to half its size. Put plant back in the dark and wait another few weeks until the roots have thickened and a new stem has grown and reached about 6 inches. Bring the plant out into the light and wait for the leaves to green up.
Next, plant the avocado in soil. Be careful not to damage the roots by making a hole in the soil before sliding the plant in. Gently fill the hole with soil and tamp lightly. To encourage the avocado tree to grow full and bushy, pinch off new leaves. For every two new leaves pinched, four should grow in their place.
- Citrus: Seeds of oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes and tangerines are easy to grow. They will become small trees. In the right environment, which includes ample bright light, you may eventually get blooms and fruit, but that will take years.
To plant citrus, rinse seeds in warm water and soak overnight. Plant each seed ¼-inch deep and 1 inch apart. Water and keep moist. Seeds can take a month or more to sprout. Once they emerge, place plants in the sunniest window of the house.
When plants have some foliage, encourage bushy growth by pinching off new leaves.
- Pineapple: The prickly top of the pineapple can be removed from the fruit and planted. When 4-6 years old, the plant may produce a fragrant pink or red flower which bears a small fruit.
Cut the top off a ripe pineapple, leaving about 1 inch of fruit attached. Bury the fruit portion of the pineapple in potting soil, leaving the green crown exposed. Water well and place in a warm, sunny spot. Within one to two months the pineapple will root and begin to grow.
- Yams: Yams will grow long vines. Take an elongated yam and scrub well. Cut off one end and stick the bottom with four toothpicks at even intervals. Place in a wide-mouth jar filled with water, the cut end immersed. Vines will grow from the eyes in the upper portion of the yam.
Place yams in bright light, but no direct sun. White roots will fill the jar and purple leaves will sprout from the top. Leaves will become bright green as they grow. Always keep the jar filled with water and change the water when it becomes cloudy.