Gardening is popular for a reason: it is therapeutic and a great way to save on your grocery bill with fresh vegetables and fruits. Getting started can be a bit intimidating. With a little verve and experimentation, you can grow plants outdoors and indoors. Here’s how to save on seeds and pots:

What you sow is what you grow:  Start with good seeds. Wait! That does not mean you have to go out and by expensive seeds in stores.

  • Tomatoes: Buy a couple of good ones during your next trip to the supermarket. Cut the tomatoes into halves, de-seed, and let the seeds dry on a kitchen towel. They are ready to sow. (Use the rest of the tomato in sauce or salad.)
  • Chilies and Peppers: Instead of throwing away the seeds when chopping up hot peppers, let them dry for a day or two on a kitchen towel. Sow in a pot and harvest when ready. (Pictured is my 30-day old pepper plant.)
  • Garlic: Sow unused or old Garlic pods. Pods grow faster than the seeds. I had a garlic bulb with 5 pods sitting in the fridge for a long time. I separated the pods and sowed with the tip facing up. They grew two or three centimeters a day! I pinch a bit of green shoots every now and then and use it in noodles. The green shoots regrow!
  • Fava Beans (aka Broad Beans): The last time I made a stir fry with beans, I kept aside four seeds and sowed them. Two grew into good-sized plants. Use good-sized, mature seeds to get plants.
  • Herbs: Some herbs, like mint and oregano, grow from cuttings. Ask a friend or neighbor for a cutting (that’s free!) Other herbs, like coriander, need to be grown from seeds. You can buy a packet with enough seeds for five standard bunches from most ethnic food shops.
  • Fruits: If you have room for fruit trees, save the big seeds/pits. Fruit grows best on grafted trees that are $35. But you can grow peaches and apricots starting from the seeds! You’ll need to do some research, and here’s a good source. It will likely take three to five years to get your own fruit. Start in summer with fully-ripe fruit for best results. Let the pits dry on your kitchen counter for a few days. When the pits look and feel dry, crack them open to harvest the actual seeds and put them in a closed container in your refrigerator for two or three months (you read that right). In early spring, plant the seeds in pots and bury those in the garden.

Free Containers: To get started in gardening, I didn’t want to make a big investment. So I started saving butter tubs, yogurt pots and other plastic tubs. They work great as seed trays. Once the seeds sprouted and grew, I purchased a couple of terracotta pots and transferred the plants.

Don’t Buy Fertilizer: If you have outdoor garden space, run your kitchen waste (vegetable and fruit peels) in a food processor and mix it with soil. The smaller the size of the organic waste, the faster it degrades. Caution: Don’t use kitchen waste as fertilizer for  indoor gardening.

This has been a guest post by Lakshmi from Hampshire, United Kingdom
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3 thoughts on “Sow & Grow: Start an Affordable Garden With Seeds from the Fridge”

  1. I have been doing this type of growing for many years, especially peppers and tomatoes, but you have to have patience too, some of the seeds will not grow at all, it depends on what the commercial grower will use as a pesticide on the plants. Also, a great tip, I have also been doing this for years, did you know you can cut of some of the top shoots of a tomatoe plant, about, 8″, put it in water and it will also grow roots, I get my tomatoe plants ready for the following year to start this way, you will never buy another tomatoe plant or seeds for that matter.

  2. Lynita McCaslin says:

    Thank you! This will be my first summer as a garderner and KCL!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a great posting!! I’m gonna save it so I don’t forget all the good ideas.