Garbage Can Gardening

— Written By

Liz Driscoll | NC State University 4-H Extension Specialist | 10/4/2018

After devouring a tasty pomegranate or pineapple, propagate them into a garden! Many common fruits and vegetables that we eat can be easily rooted and grown on a windowsill. Scraps from the kitchen are great opportunities to experiment and find out what will flourish. Try leftover lentils, garbage-bound garlic or a compostable carrot top. Use your imagination and observe what happens.

Root Remains

Remaining portions of your favorite roots like carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas will sprout leaves. Cut 1-1.5 inches from the top of your root. Place the cut end down in a saucer filled partly with pebbles for support and water. Keep your cutting in full light and new leaves should soon emerge. Another interesting way to grow roots for a short time is to cut a 2-inch section from your root and hollow out the middle to form a water reservoir. Pierce a skewer or toothpick through the root and tie string to the ends and hang in a sunny window. Continually keep the reservoir full with water.

The Pineapple Top Twist

Before slicing a pineapple, firmly grasp the bottom of the fruit in one hand and with a wiggle of your hips, twist the leafy top off with your other hand. Another method is to slice (with adult supervision!) off the top inch of the fruit and carefully cut away most of the flesh to leave the stringy part from the middle. Leave the pineapple top out for a couple days to callus (this helps prevent rotting) and plant in a well-drained soil and keep in a warm place. You may also try rooting by putting the leafy top into a jar of water, changing it often to keep the water clean. Pineapples make great houseplants and can even produce fruit if kept in a warm environment or grown outside in the summer, Figure 2.

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Image of a pineapple top

Figure 2. Pineapple tops can be planted in containers and taken inside in cooler months.