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Harvesting seeds from your groceries

 
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I am trying to sprout kiwi seeds on damp paper in a ziplock bag.
 
pollinator
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Rebecca Norman wrote:However, at least one species of Zanthoxylum is native to North America and grows wild, and people seem to say the various species of that genus all have similar flavours and culinary uses, though not exactly the same flavour.


I had no idea of that, Rebecca, thanks for turning me onto a new variety search! :) Is that probably Zanthoxylum americanum, or northern prickly-ash? It looks like it doesn't grow this far south and west. I wonder if Zanthoxylum juniperinum, which grows in Mexico, would be more likely to do well here, or if it's too tropical (sounds like maybe it's a rain forest thing). Zanthoxylum mazatlanum grows in Sonora, Mexico -- maybe that's the most likely one up here, too, although it looks like its habitat may be coastal. Zanthoxylum clava-herculis grows in the south, including east Texas, but not this far west. Looks like it likes pine woods. I'd love to try the one from Sonora. Road trip! (Someday.)
 
Beth Wilder
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Beth Wilder wrote:Living near the border, we have access to a great Mexican grocery with a neat bulk section of herbs, spices, teas, and things. I had gotten some hibiscus there for tea but never would have thought to check for seeds. Thanks for the great idea, Thekla! I just went through what I have and found 34 seeds! I had also gotten some whole tamarind pods there. I just nibbled on some of the tart-sweet pulp to extricate five big seeds. I'm going to soak all these overnight and put them in seed starting mix tomorrow. I know it's really not the right time of year for this, but our monsoon always makes me feel like trying to grow everything.


Update! The hibiscus seeds from that bulk tea from the Mexican grocery are blowing my mind. I'm attaching a picture of my seed tray. At the far left are a couple of baby Passiflora incarnata, then a blank row where the Passiflora edulis hasn't come up (yet), then a row of tall Clitoria ternatea that I'm about to pot up, then a row of massed basil seedlings, then a couple of rows of hairy little seedlings of bronze fennel and cumin, then four blank rows (Opuntia, star anise, black pepper, and white pepper), and then... a full row of hibiscus! Every seed I planted is up. After soaking the seeds overnight, some split their hull and showed a little white tail, so I planted those and kept the rest soaking. After two nights, more had little white tails, so I planted those. Then I figured I had enough, so I composted the rest. (Now I wish I hadn't, but what are you going to do? Maybe they'll sprout in the compost.)

The tamarind and papaya seeds aren't up (yet). They're in toilet paper tube pots in a separate bin to ease transplant shock if they ever grow... (Something else that blew my mind: Take a toilet paper tube and a knife, slit the tube vertically at one end, making ~3/4" slits at 12, 3, 6, and 9, then fold and interlock the resulting tabs like you're shutting a box that you don't want to come open on its own, flip the tube over, fill it with damp potting soil, place in a bin with other tube pots for mutual support. When you want to transplant, you can either leave the tube in the ground to dissolve or peel it away from the roots carefully along that diagonal cut those tubes have. The rest of you probably know all about this, but dadnabit I didn't, and it's pretty darned exciting.)
IMG_9197.JPG
How much is that seedling tray in the window?
How much is that seedling tray in the window?
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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Beth Wilder wrote:

Beth Wilder wrote:Take a toilet paper tube and a knife, slit the tube vertically at one end, making ~3/4" slits at 12, 3, 6, and 9, then fold and interlock the resulting tabs like you're shutting a box that you don't want to come open on its own, flip the tube over, fill it with damp potting soil, place in a bin with other tube pots for mutual support. When you want to transplant, you can either leave the tube in the ground to dissolve or peel it away from the roots carefully along that diagonal cut those tubes have. The rest of you probably know all about this, but dadnabit I didn't, and it's pretty darned exciting.)



Excellent tip, Beth.  How about posting this part in recycling forum?  I use a paper potter and turn newspaper into little pots.  Not as sturdy as a toilet roll but I can sit and make dozens while watching videos (always like to keep my hands busy) and then use them, as you say, for things that are sensitive to transplanting.  I have found them good for carrots and parsnips, and if I make them taller, broad beans.  I have had several disasters with broad bean seedlings being eaten by voles so this year I will start my winter crop off in paper tubes and see if I have better luck!

 
pioneer
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If you plan on saving supermarket potatoes for growing in the garden, the most commonly available commercial variety that yields true seed from potato berries is Yukon Gold. It is a small, yellow potato used for steaming and mashing. Here is an image from Wikipedia.
8401496E-70EC-4F53-97D0-76BE155F3900.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 8401496E-70EC-4F53-97D0-76BE155F3900.jpeg]
 
Mandy Launchbury-Rainey
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I would love to try Yukon Gold but I can't get them here.  I buy all my seed potatoes in from a firm overseas to get disease free pots.  If anyone in Europe wants their deets, pm me.
 
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Jesse D Henderson wrote:
A question about avocados: I've heard of germinating them by suspending them by toothpicks in water. I'm running that experiment right now. But what would happen if I just bury the whole thing? Sometimes I forget about an avocado and when I cut into it there are roots starting. Has anyone tried this method? I would think it's closer to what would happen in nature.



Re: the water method -- when we were kids, my siblings and I unknowingly did experiments with this. We each had our own avocado seed. Most of us followed the advice in the books and changed out the water every couple of days; I left my same water the whole time. It developed a film on top, looks kinda nasty (which was probably the reason the books say change it), but mine was the first seed to sprout, too.

I will add that chayote squash has also been known to have protruding roots or shoots if left to sit. I haven't planted it myself yet, but I have been advised that the best way is to plant the entire squash, uncut.
 
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Can I root Swiss chard leaf/stem bundles from stores?  How would I do that?  Just put the stem in water and change as needed, like lettuce or cabbage leaves?

What about rhubarb stalks?
 
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I like the way you're thinking Chris. I don't know the answer but think that the rhubarb might work. According to this blog. Celery is a cousin of rhubarb so it seems possible at least. I would probably add some rooting hormone to the water.
 
Chris Bright
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Mike Barkley wrote:I like the way you're thinking Chris. I don't know the answer but think that the rhubarb might work. According to this blog. Celery is a cousin of rhubarb so it seems possible at least. I would probably add some rooting hormone to the water.



A nearby chain, Sprouts, carries rhubarb and I quietly absconded with a bottle of rooting hormone from my father in law.  Hmmm...
 
Chris Bright
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So, tubers, just plant the tuber.  So if Sprouts has Japanese sweet potatoes in stock, I could grow one from the tuber?  That would be so cool.  Or regular sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.  

Any root crop veggie, plant the root with the leaf/stem end up.  Carrots, parsnips, beats, radishes, turnips, etc.    Plant either whole or a couple of inches of the stem/leaf end in soil or in water.  Change water as needed.  This includes ginger, with nodes up.

Onions and garlic can be planted as is or just an inch of the root end.  

Stalks like celery, most fresh herbs, leaves of leafy greens like lettuce can be rooted from leaf or stem in water, change as needed.  This might or might not include rhubarb.  Leafy veggies like lettuce root from leaves, stemmed herbs like thyme and basil root from stem, leaves need to be out of water.  The end of a bunch of celery is the root end and goes in water or soil.  Try and see if the root end of rhubarb would do the same.  

Raw grains and seeds can be grown, including whole seed spices.  Any fruit with a seed can have the seed harvested, or the whole fruit planted, and grown.  Makes sense, as long as it is not heat or chemically treated, a seed is a seed.  Most of the trees mentioned were fruit trees of one kind or another and the seed, such as avocado pit, was used.  I might see about raw nuts and seeds next trip to Sprouts from the bulk bins.  Would brown and/or wild rice still have the embryo/germ tissue or would it be lost before it got to the store?  Snow and sugar peas are seed pods.  

Spore prints from whole mushrooms.  How do you inoculate spores from a print to get mushrooms?  Would tossing whole fruiting bodies in a wood chip or hugelkultur bed work?  Or a straw compost or other compost?  It would get the spores where they need to go.  

Did I miss any?  Great thread, thank you for the many ideas.

 
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avocados will totally grow if planted. i put mine in the bokashi and then they get buried, they are constantly popping up (the frost will get them here, and even if it didn't they would get as big as my entire yard, so I rip them out). Chayote as well, the whole squash. In fact I just chuck it out in the back of my garden (on a border of GRAVEL, for pete's sake, not even bury it) and it usually takes.

@Chris, take your sweet potato and put it in a dark place. Cabinet under the sink, etc. I have a cabinet outside on my porch. It will eventually start sending out shoots (any potato will do the same). It may take a long time, and I've some duds that never sprouted. One they're out, I usually take the potato and cut part of it and put it in water for a few months, out in a half-sunny place. You could also plant the whole sprouty sweet potato in dirt, as demonstrated upthread. I've got a few bags of sweet potatoes started this way from tubers that accompanied me back from travels. You could also twist off the sprouts once they've leafed out and plant them (called slips) if you're trying to scale up. Plain potatoes, I've just planted them whole once they sprout, and then start hilling up (I plant them in sacks that I roll up as they grow).
 
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I don't think rhubarb or celery will sprout from a stalk. nor will lettuce, the masses of blogs which show this are actually showing the cut roots and base of the stem with the growth point regrowing. Since stalks of Rhubarb have neither a piece of the root nor a growth point I cannot see how it would root.

I have lemon grass which is now 6 years old that I grew from grocery stalks but again that is basically a complete plant just with the roots cut off.
 
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:I just bought soap nuts for the first time, and curious, asked the guy if you can grow them.  He said sometimes you find the seeds left in with the husks (which is what you use for washing) delved around and came out with one.  So this is my new variation on the "grow your groceries" project!



Sapindus has survived its first year!  I have no idea how cold-tolerant it is.
IMG_3746.JPG
Sapindus
Sapindus
 
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elle sagenev wrote:

Jesse D Henderson wrote:I'm loving these tips. I just got a volunteer potato plant from my compost pile.

A question about avocados: I've heard of germinating them by suspending them by toothpicks in water. I'm running that experiment right now. But what would happen if I just bury the whole thing? Sometimes I forget about an avocado and when I cut into it there are roots starting. Has anyone tried this method? I would think it's closer to what would happen in nature.

Then of course I'll have to figure out if the resulting tree will grow in North Carolina. I've heard there are cold hardy strains but I don't know if those avocados are in grocery stores.



I know of a gardener who tried both methods of avocado starting and liked the soil method better because it was less work. Don't bury it all the way and enjoy! They take FOREVER to germinate though.



Many years ago I planted an avocado seed in a pot outside and within weeks it had sprouted and grew on well.
 
Judy Jackson
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Tereza Okava you are right about the potatoes sprouting. I have them in a cupboard in my laundry and they sprout within weeks of being put in ther.However, I read somewhere the other day that if they are stored with onions it enhances the sprouting effect and mine are stored this way so mayyybe this is why they sprout so readily. This has now lead me to think would sweet potato do the same in that cupboard under the sink ??
 
Tereza Okava
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that`s interesting, Judy, I also store all those things together and I have the living (sprouting) proof right there in the kitchen at the moment... I take it as my reminder that I`m not eating sweet potatoes often enough!
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Mike Barkley wrote:I like the way you're thinking Chris. I don't know the answer but think that the rhubarb might work. According to this blog. Celery is a cousin of rhubarb so it seems possible at least. I would probably add some rooting hormone to the water.



If the blog  said Rhubarb and celery are related, she may have removed the quote now, because they aren't.  Rhubarb is related to docks and sorrel, celery is in the carrot family.  
 
Hester Winterbourne
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My latest experiment is peppercorns, which is a cheat because I've bought the seeds.  I don't know if store-bought ones would be heat treated or just too old to germinate.  But I thought at least if I buy sowing-seeds and get them to grow, I'll know if I've got the husbandry right if I want to try the spice cupboard.  And they do look a very attractive proposition as a productive houseplant!
 
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Hester Winterbourne wrote:My latest experiment is peppercorns, which is a cheat because I've bought the seeds.  I don't know if store-bought ones would be heat treated or just too old to germinate.  But I thought at least if I buy sowing-seeds and get them to grow, I'll know if I've got the husbandry right if I want to try the spice cupboard.  And they do look a very attractive proposition as a productive houseplant!



I'm so interested in seeing how that turns out Hester!

This thread is my favourite. Inspired, I now have a tray of fenugreek sprouts that are thriving and every single one of my butternut squash seeds that I did a germination test with have sprouted. A little berry tray of black mustard germinated super well, but it's gone now as it's been a favourite to snip and throw into my lunch bowls. I recently did a germination test with some Kashmiri chili seeds (I can only find dried ones at a specialty grocery store at the other end of town), cumin and fennel. One of the kashmiri chilis started to grow, which is exciting - the other seeds didn't do so hot, but a few seem to have swelled up so I've planted those too. Will share the results!
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Hayley Stewart wrote:every single one of my butternut squash seeds that I did a germination test with have sprouted



Yes - this year my squash seeds have been very slow to germinate (including the buternut squash that never come to much), and I also coulnd't get potting mix as the garden centres were closed so I used some home-made compost to fill troughs ready for tomato plants.  I'm used to squash gerninating out of the home made compost, but way too late to be a viable proposition for a crop so I just ignore them.  But this year two have come up that are at the same size and healthier looking as my pathetic shop-seed ones, so I've potted them up ready to go up the allotment!
 
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I had great luck sprouting and growing grocery store potatoes.  My very first successful  harvest was a red potato that sprouted in the plastic bag; I planted it and eventually got 5 beautiful new potatoes, just in a flowerpot indoors.  I just planted a white potato in another (bigger) flowerpot.  
 
Lara Mig
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Oh, and I’m also growing some black eyed peas that I got out of a grocery store bag.  Every single one of the peas I planted sprouted very nicely.  
 
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