If you’re itching to start a garden but don’t have any seeds, you might not have to go far to find something plantable. The vegetables you use every day in your kitchen often contain the keys to new plants. You can grow vegetables from common kitchen waste, including stems and roots as well as seeds. Here are some of them.
Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Yams
These common rooting vegetables are probably in your home. You may have even seen the growing process begin if you’ve forgotten one in your pantry for any length of time. If you have an old, wrinkly potato that you don’t want to eat, cut it up into 2” chunks with at least one “eye” on each. Those eyes are the roots, and cutting it makes it into what amounts to a potato seed. Each chunk has the potential to become a new potato plant.
You’ve probably seen facebook posts saying that the leaves of the green onions will regrow if you put them in water. This is so. Once they begin regrowing, plant them. Each little stub can regrow into a new green onion.
Pumpkins, Acorn Squash, and other Winter Squashes
Summer squash are not good candidates for saving seeds from because they are usually picked before the seeds have fully developed. Winter squashes however are usually mature when they are picked, so if you plant the seeds from them they will likely grow. These are warm weather crops, and can be very large plants, so grow outside after all danger of frost.
To save the seed over winter, separate the seeds from the pulp and rinse them under running water. Set them on a paper towel so that they don’t touch each other, and let them dry for one week. After one week, you can place them in an envelope together until you’re ready to plant.
Red Bell Peppers, Red Hot Peppers
Peppers can be successfully grown from grocery store seeds, but they can be tricky. Many peppers are picked and sold green, before the seeds are viable. It’s unlikely your green bell pepper or chili will grow, because it is too immature.
Another problem that can occur with peppers from grocery store seed is if the plant grown is an f1. F1s are crossbreeds between two different varieties of pepper. If you try to save seed from the crossbreed, you’ll get a pepper that resembles one of the parents, not the fruit you actually got. This can make what you get a real wild card.
If you want to try it however, try saving seed from an older pepper that’s a little wrinkly. Simply scrape the seeds out and plant them—at least if all danger of frost is past. Otherwise, you may need to store them until you’re ready to plant
You don’t even need the roots to regrow basil. They can grow from the long stems of fresh basil leaves. Put a basil leaf with the stem in water, and watch it grow new roots. When the roots have developed, plant it.
Tomatoes are actually harder to save seed from than most other garden plants. The seeds need to be fermented in order to be stored. It’s not difficult, but it does require more steps than simply rinsing off the seeds. Here’s a guide if you want to give it a try.
Once again, if the tomato is an F1 variety from the store, there’s no telling what you’ll get if you plant them–but it can still be fun!