My mom fought our winter cabin fever with a simple solution: garbage plants. We grew all manner of stuff from the snippings and seeds of our kitchen trash. It was fun watching them grow, and we learned a lot about gardening from this simple hobby.
My mom fought our winter cabin fever with a simple solution: garbage plants.
We grew all manner of stuff from the snippings and seeds of our kitchen trash. It was fun watching them grow, and we learned a lot about gardening from this simple hobby.
The plants were our plants. That made them good friends. We learned their needs, and they returned our care with growth.
The classic garbage plant is the avocado seed. Peel off the outer skin. Turn the seed upright and stick four toothpicks into it around the center. Hang it in a glass of water with the root end in the water. Place in a dark closet and keep the root end wet.
In a few weeks, you’ll see a sprout. When it reaches six inches, pinch it off and let a new one grow. Plant in a pot and soil and place in sunlight. You now have a nice houseplant. It’s magic.
Yams make long vines. Select a long tuber, cut off the end and do the toothpick thing. Place the cut end in a jar of water. Soon, vines will form, starting with purple and turning bright green. Repot or continue growing in water, changing it when it becomes cloudy.
A friend of mine was eating an orange. Being the lazy cuss he is, he tossed the seeds into a nearby pot containing a jade plant.
It wasn’t long before he had three orange-tree shoots. He transplanted them. It took a few years, but one of the three survived to a mini-orange tree producing small fruits. He pinched off the leaves for a bonsai effect.
Mom told us about plant life. Just because the plant has become food doesn’t mean it’s dead. The growing tips, usually the tops, will regenerate into new plants.
The most impressive of these is the pineapple. Instead of tossing the prickly top, plant it in a pot in soil with a lot of composted material. Its crown should remain exposed. This becomes a very impressive plant you will enjoy for years.
Apple seeds are easily started in plastic cells. Germination can be difficult, so soak them in water for a few days before planting 1/4-inch deep. Keep the soil wet.
Lemons like indoor planting. My wife had a 6-footer that needed a greenhouse. This took many years, but while you’re waiting, you get a nicely proportioned mini tree.
This is classic recycling, taking a liability (garbage) and converting it into an asset (a houseplant collection). Have fun.
Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.