How often have you looked at some your kitchen food waste – the unavoidable waste such as peeling, cores and seeds or pits in particular – and wondered if you could get them to grow? The truth is they probably will grow and more easily than you might think.
Growing plants from seed can be fun and requires very little equipment or cost. It can be done indoors or outdoors all year round. It is also a great way of introducing gardening and the science of plants to children without a lot of cost – with a side benefit of getting them outdoors.
No previous gardening experience is necessary – just some enthusiasm and some patience. So before you pop those seeds into the bin, try something interesting and experiment – all you need is a pot and a windowsill.
Seeds come in all shapes and sizes – from the large avocado seed to the very tiny seeds of a carrot. In nature they can also be spread in a variety of ways – through consumption by animals which then deposit them in faeces, by hooking onto the fur of an animal or by wind.
The seed must then wait for the optimum conditions to germinate. Seeds will remain dormant until those ideal conditions occur. In some cases the seed needs to experience a winter season before being prepared to come out of dormancy for a spring season. In this case you may need to place those seeds n the fridge for a few weeks to replicate winter.
You may want to test the viability of your seed by checking their condition to ensure they are undamaged and are solid. If you place seeds into a glass of water, viable seeds will generally sin to the bottom while empty seeds will float.
Germination can be a mysterious and frustrating process for the gardener> having buried the seed in the soil, there is no way to know if anything is happening until that first shoot or appears out of the pot. Provided the seed is viable, its dormancy has been broken and it is in adequately aerated and moist soil in the correct temperature range the next thing that happens is that the seed begins to take in water.
To get plants to grow well, it is important to get the essentials right: light, water, air for carbon dioxide and nutrients. Too little of one, even with plenty of the others, can lead to limited growth of the plant.
Always give the seed plants the best spot possible, but remember to rotate the pot regularly to ensure even growth – otherwise you will end up with a lopsided plant. Keep the leaves clean from dust so that light can get straight onto the leaf and the tiny air holes do not get blocked.
Part 2 will be out this time next week, and will cover gathering and harvesting your seeds.