Garbage Gardening: 4 Easy Ways to Re-use Materials and Food Scraps

You can buy almost everything you need to plant a gorgeous garden, but why not save money and time by taking a look around the house – especially the kitchen! – for ways to recycle things you already have lying around? Here are some great shortcuts to take.

1. Keep your citrus peels
Rather than spending money on plastic seed-starting trays, hang on to your orange, lemon and grapefruit rinds. After cutting the fruit in half and scooping out the fruit to enjoy, poke a hole in the bottom of the peel. Fill it with good quality potting soil, a couple of seeds and enough water to keep moist. Once your seedlings pop up, you can transplant your citrus pot right into the garden; the fruit rind will decompose and nourish your plants as they grow!

2. Rethink paper towel tubes
If your kitchen windowsill gets lots of light, you can make an indoor herb garden using a couple of cardboard tubes. Cut them in half, place them on a dish and add soil and seeds. Again, you can put the whole thing into the ground outside once you have some spouts, or you can keep your fresh herbs inside year-round.

3. Save up your veggie scraps
Yes, we all know not to throw our kitchen scraps into the garbage bin, and to compost them instead. But did you know you could re-grow fresh veggies from leftover bits? All you need is sunshine, fresh water and good soil. These are great projects to do with the kids!

To grow more herbs from one store-bought bunch, place soft stems – from basil, for example – in water and park in a sunny window. Once the new roots have grown a few inches, it’s time to plant it, using one of the methods above. Have any wrinkly garlic? Plant the bulb in some soil and your supply will quickly multiply! Or, slice off the ends of green or regular onions, celery, garbanzo beans, bok choy or any head of lettuce, pop them into a dish of water and watch them regrow, just like magic!

4. One potato, two potatoes…
Sweet potatoes don’t come from seeds – they start from slips, which are offshoots of one mature sweet potato. Follow a few easy instructions, and you can root one that you bought from the store, and before long, you’ll have a bucket full – one potato can yield up to 50 slip sprouts!

Not only is garbage gardening thrifty, but it’s also fun for the whole family. Share your success stories with us!


Lemon seedling pot: Courtesy MyRomanApartment

Basil plants: Courtesy GreenJean

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