Here is an idea for you and your children to do that’s not only fun, but also a great way to reuse some kitchen scraps that you either throw away or toss in the compost pile. You can have an indoor garden going by just reusing seeds and cuttings from fruits and vegetables like oranges, avocados, pineapple, ginger and carrots to name a few.
Look around in your kitchen and fridge for possible vegetables and fruits that you could use to get your kitchen garden started. You will also need some small flower pots and potting soil. (You can use other containers, but they must have holes in the bottom for proper drainage.)
The seeds of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes are easy to grow into new houseplants. Just fill a 4” diameter pot with moistened potting soil and plant three or four of the same kind of seeds about 1” deep in the soil. The seeds should sprout in about three to four weeks. Keep the seedlings watered for six weeks before transplanting them into a bigger pot. Your citrus plant will probably not bear any fruit, but the leaves will smell like whatever kind of citrus you planted when you do a “rub and sniff” test.
You can also use the big seeds from avocados and mangoes to grow a new plant. You can start an avocado by suspending the seed over a glass using toothpicks. Fill the glass with water so it only touches the lower end of the pit. You can also plant the pit in moistened soil with just the tip showing above the soil. You will have to be patient because it could take a month or two for the roots to appear.
Mangoes have big seeds too, but they are a little more difficult to propagate. First you must soak the seed in warm water for a week before you plant it.
Sweet potatoes are fun and easy to grow. Just prop one in a glass jar so that half of it is above the top of the jar. Fill the jar with water and place in a sunny window. Soon stems and leaves will begin to grow from the top.
You can also do this same thing with ginger. The fun thing about ginger is both the cut end and the new leaves will fill your kitchen with a gingery aroma!
Be a Carrot-Head!
It is easy to sprout new top growth on a carrot or other root veggies such as beets and parsnips. Just chop off the head along with one or two inches of the root. Place it in a saucer with some pebbles or marbles for support and add water. In a week or two new growth should start to appear from the top. You can then replant it in a pot of soil.
(You can also use this same technique with a pineapple.)
Plant old cloves of garlic or bulbs of onions just below the surface in a pot of soil. Within a few weeks you will see sprouts, and eventually you will be able to eat these spicy greens growing in your kitchen garden!
For more information on kitchen scrap gardening, click here.
An extension to this activity would be to try other kinds of seeds like cucumber, apple or watermelon and see what happens.
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!