Eco-Kids Project: Garbage Gardening

kid garden

Kids can start their own gardens, using what they find in the trash. Theoretically, you could develop a huge vegetable and fruit garden, capable of supplying you with a variety of food, with more left over to trade, barter, or sell, at virtually no cost. All you need is some potting soil. Even the containers come from the trash such as milk cartons, styrofoam cups, and tin cans.
Just remember, it doesn’t work every time because some store-bought fruit and veggies are either hybrid which does not reproduce or are treated to keep them from rooting, but it should work with persistence.

Parents note that use of a knife is required in a few cases. You may want to help out with this.

What crops will you grow?

Citrus Trees. You can grow lemon, orange, grapefruit and tangerine trees from the seeds. Plant seeds cleaned of pulp. Put them in loose, well-drained soil which is kept constantly moist (not wet). Or, plant in a small container filled with potting soil, water thoroughly, drain. To avoid constant need for water, put the pot inside a clear plastic bag such as potatoes come in, close with a twist-tie. Place bag in a warm spot but not in direct sunlight. When first leaves appear and begin unfolding, remove the bag. Trim back the trees to keep them to the size of a bush or plant outside and let them develop into full-size trees.

Potatoes. Remove a piece from the potato containing an eye, let dry overnight, plant it in moist soil. Expect it to sprout in about two weeks. Or you can set aside a potato and let the sprouts develop on their own to indicate just where the growth will be, then remove the eye and plant.

Tomatoes. Tomatoes are chock full of seeds. Wash in a strainer, make sure pulp is removed, dry, plant in moist soil. After sprouting, the tomato seedlings will need plenty of direct sunlight.

Peppers. Bell peppers and other types of pepper have lots of seeds. Scrape them out of the pepper, make sure the pulp is removed, and dry them on a plate for a few days. Spread over potting soil, cover with a light layer of soil. Wash hands thoroughly after handling if you are working with hot peppers.

Pineapples. Slice off the top of the fruit about an inch below the greenery, slice away the fruit pulp so only the hard core remains. Let it dry out for a few days, then plant in well-drained soil with leaves exposed. Water only when dry. Move to full sunlight after about two months when new greenery begins sprouting,

Carrots. Cut a half-inch from the top and plant in moist, sandy soil. The green part should be exposed and it will sprout with fernlike foliage in about two weeks.

Avocado. Place the pit in soil with the pointed end showing. Keep soil moist. Expect to sprout to take up to two months.

Dates. Wash off the pot, plant in soil kept mostly. Expect to sprout with shoots in about a month.

Mango. Scrub the pulp from the pit…parents: note this next step…with a knife, pry open a crack in the shell, bury the put in soil, keep moist. After it sprouts, moves into filtered sunlight.

Garlic. Get fresh garlic bulb, separate out the cloves and plant, point down.

Watermelon, Other Melons. Rinse seeds to remove all pulp and lay them out on a newspaper to dry. You can sprout them as suggested for citrus seeds.

Further tips.

Buy plenty of potting soil. It’s cheap, happily. You might stir up your own mixture incorporating peat moss, sand, perlite or vermiculite which you’ll find where you get potting soil.

As stated, you can transplant your seedlings outside once well along. You might want to set them outside each day and bring them back in for a number of days so they can acclimate, before actually transplanting them in their own soil into your garden.

You can also keep them as trimmed houseplants or untrimmed as part of a container garden using large planters.