For years, I have heard that growing plants from groceries wasn’t possible. Typically, the argument related to a process of irradiating the fruit or vegetable in order to kill pests. This would then render the seed inert. Well, if you know me, you know I tend to go ahead and try things that others say can’t be done. Sometimes, they’re right and sometimes I am. I guess I am little hard-headed and skeptical about things that “everyone knows”. Today’s topic shows that plants can be grown from grocery-store quality produce.
Today’s featured image comes from my garage, where currently three apple trees are growing. All started from the seeds found in an apple I ate a few months ago. They’re only a few inches, maybe three, tall. It will be a few years before they are ready to produce any fruit for me, but considering the cost of buying your own apple tree, I can wait. The nearest nursery to me sells apple trees ranging from $20 on sale to $70+, depending on the stage of development. Apple seeds are free, typically treated as garbage, especially when your kid eats only half of one (see below).
That being said, there are some steps that need to be followed when attempting this. The cool thing is, it’s pretty simple and since what you’ll need is pretty cheap, failure is an option. So here’s what I do to grow an apple tree.
- Eat an apple.
- Remove seeds from the core.
- Fold seeds into a damp paper towel.
- Place paper towel into a zipping plastic bag.
- Label bag with the name of the type of apple.
- Toss bag into functioning refrigerator and close door.
- Forget about bag for several weeks.
- When seeds have formed a white tail, drop seeds into a pot with soil and place near window.
- Water consistently. Too much water will drown the plant and too little will cause it to wither.
- At some point, when you’re ready, plant the tree outside.
So that’s it. Like I said, if it doesn’t work, no harm, no foul. I’ve had apples where only one seed germinates, or sprouts, and apples where all of them did. Why does that happen? I’m not sure. I know that the seeds I buy for my garden don’t always sprout so I suppose that is a part of gardening.
In addition to apples, I have done this with turmeric, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green onions, and some squashes. Here are some pictures of what the turmeric plant looks like.
In this instance, I took a rhizome, or root, from my favorite grocery store on the planet, Sprouts. I then planted it into a container with dirt in it and kept it watered. Once it produced a leaf, I moved it to a larger container. I’ll continue caring for it until I’m ready to harvest. Then I’ll take part of the root and start over again.
So in closing, it is possible to take store-bought produce and convert it into a plant that works for you. I like that idea. I’d rather buy something once and it’s just cool to encourage a plant to grow.