Micro Gardening with Kitchen Scraps
A fun way to recycle vegetable and fruit scraps to grow plants for food or decoration. An educational project for children.
Did you know that you can grow some vegetables from scraps that you would usually throw on the compost heap or into the garbage?
Read on for tips on using scraps from 9 common vegetables and fruit to grow your own vegetables or fruit and fruit trees that can be grown in pots to beautify your home.
Left in a dark cool place for too long, potatoes will start forming "eyes" which will develop into shoots. Cut the potato into cubes about 35 to 50 mm making sure that each piece has an eye.
Plant them 75mm deep in potting mix with the eye or shoot facing up.
When all risk of frost has passed in Spring, plant the growing potato plant outside in the garden - or in a bigger container on an apartment balcony.
Keep the bottom end of a celery stalk, plant it with the cut side facing upward in potting mixture and after a month or two you will have a celery plant which will provide you with a supply of stalks.
3) Sweet potatoes
Cut off the end of a sweet potato tuber that has a shoot starting. Plant it about 35 - 50 mm deep in potting soil. It probably won't produce any tubers, but it will grow into a lush, green, attractive plant to add colour to your home.
For tuber production, sweet potatoes are propagated from shoots.
Apples can be grown from seed and the small trees planted outside in cooler areas or grown in a pot and kept as an ornamental tree according to the bonsai practice of root and branch trimming.
Apple seeds need chilling before planting, for more information read this article on This Old House.
5) Citrus fruit
Oranges, Lemons, Limes and Tangerines can be grown from seed. Unlike Apples, the seed does not need chilling before planting. Just dry the seeds and plant them in a pot of potting mixture.
If you live in Canada or the Northern USA, you will not be able to plant the trees outside - they cannot tolerate cold winters. However they will produce blossoms and fill your house with delightful scent if grown indoors in pots.
This is a tip that my mother taught me years ago.
Cut off the top of a pineapple, scrape off any excess fruit to prevent it rotting. Plant it in a container of potting mixture with the leaves sticking up out of the ground.
It will develop roots and new leaves.
In warmer climates, the plant will eventually flower and produce a new pineapple. In more Northern latitudes, the growing season may be too short so here is a tip from This Old House to speed up flowering by using a piece of apple and wrapping the plant in plastic for three days.
This is another one from my childhood in the tropics in Africa and one that was a favourite as a junior school nature study or biology project.
After removing the hard centre "pip" from an avocado, stick three equally spaced matchsticks, wooden toothpicks or cocktail sticks into it around the widest part of the circumference. This is near the halfway point between the flatter bottom and the more pointed top.
Growing Acocado indoors
Wikipedia - public domain
Take a clean jam or pickle jar with a neck wide enough for the avocado pip to fit through. Fill the jar with clean water - preferably rain water. Place the pip in the jar so that the match sticks hold it in place with the bottom one third of the pip in the water.
Roots will start developing from the bottom, and a shoot from the top. Because the large pip contains enough nutrients to feed the growing plant, no additional nutrients need to be added to the water.
When the shoot and roots are well developed, the plant can be taken out of the jar. After removing the matchsticks, it can be planted in a pot.
Avocados will not survive outdoors in most of North America. Under ideal indoor conditions, they will grow quite quickly requiring transfer to larger pots. Although they are unlikely to grow big enough to produce fruit indoors, they do provide a source of education and amusement to children. Their large dark green leaves add colour to a room.
There are a few ideas to grow your own vegetables from scraps, add to the natural beauty of your home and give your children interesting projects.