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Vermont Garden Journal: Giving Your Produce Scraps A Second Life

Grow greenery and even produce inside during the winter months with scraps from grocery items.

Come January, it gets a little hard to keep the kids and yourself entertained indoors. One way to build some excitement is to garden — but not like what you'll be doing outside in a few months — this is grocery store gardening.

Let me explain: There are many vegetables and fruits from the grocery store you can propagate at home. This will create some fun and maybe some edibles during the winter.

Here are some of the most popular edibles to propagate:

  • Avocados are the classic indoor plant. We've all probably tried to stick toothpicks into the sides of an avocado pit and suspended over water. The key is to keep the bottom inch of the pits submerged and change the water regularly in a month or so the pit splits in outcome's a seedling to be potted up.
  • Citrus seeds can be collected from fruits and grown into orange, lemon or lime trees. It may take a few years to get fruit but think of the excitement to pick a lime from a tree grown from your seed!
  • Pineapple and carrot tops can be placed in a shallow bowl of water to root. You won't get any pineapples or carrots but it's still cool.
  • Lemongrass and celery bottoms can be placed in water and in a matter of weeks will start growing again. And yes you can get something edible from these vegetables.
  • Garlic, onions and ginger all can be planted in pots indoors and will sprout greenery that can be used in cooking.

Just make sure you grow these creations in as much sunlight as possible and have some fun.
And now for this week's tip: If you love Paperwhite Narcissus for forcing indoors but you don't like the smell look for less scented varieties such as "Inball" and "Winter Sun." Avoid "Ziva," the smelliest variety.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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