Features,   Animals for AdoptionOut and About Calendar

Travel News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)

Home and Garden News Elsewhere  (fresh daily from the Web)


Sudden greenery from the kitchen

Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 31, 2004]  URBANA -- A little green in the home can provide some relief from winter's forced indoor idleness, and that rejuvenating bit of color might be as near as a fruit bowl or the refrigerator, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

"In these places, you will find the seeds for some exotic tropical plant just waiting for you to plant and grow," said Greg Stack. "Indoor gardening projects are great ways to pass the time, add a few plants to your indoor collection and have fun experimenting with something that you may not be familiar with. Even the kids can get interested in the simple pleasures of gardening."

Stack noted that using seeds, pits and tops of fruits, roots and stems that are often left in the kitchen when preparing meals can lead to plants that have an exotic look and draw comments from visiting friends.

He offered a few tips on getting started.

A mixed garden of foliage is easy to create with the tops of carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and other root crops. Cut about 1 inch off the top of the roots you want to use. Fill a shallow plant saucer that is about 10 inches in diameter with pea gravel or colored aquarium gravel.

"Fill the saucer with water until you just see it at the surface of the gravel," said Stack. "Next, take the tops that you have collected and push them into the gravel. Arrange and mix them up and keep water in the tray to just below the gravel. In a few days, a garden of mixed foliage will emerge. Everything from the fine, fern textures of the carrot to the bright red of the beets to the coarse green of the parsnips will be represented."

Stack said that by keeping the tray just filled with water and using a weak fertilizer solution, it is possible to keep the garden of leafy greens looking good for quite awhile.

"Tropical fruit is among the easiest to grow from seed because, unlike some of our temperate fruit, they don't require any special treatments to break seed dormancy," said Stack. "One of the most unique seeds is that of the mango."

[to top of second column in this article]

After a person cuts open a mango and enjoys the fruit inside, a large, hairy, flat bean seed remains. The 4-inch seed can be the start of something interesting, he noted.

"Take the seed and scrub off any remaining flesh from the fruit," he said. "Give it a warm bath for about five days by letting the seed soak in warm water that is changed daily. This helps with germination. Plant the seed on end, not flat, so that the 'eye,' a slight depression, is about 1 inch below the soil.

"The seed will take awhile to germinate, but once it does, you are in for a treat. The mango is a treelike plant that has very long, dark green, glossy leaves. The new leaves at the top of the plant start out blood red, providing a great contrast. You won't get fruit, but you will have an interesting houseplant for the windowsill."

Grapefruit seeds are very easy to grow. After collecting the seeds, plant them about 1 inch deep in pots. After they germinate, they quickly grow into treelike plants with glossy green leaves.

"Papayas -- those large, pear-shaped fruits -- are not only good to eat but are just full of potential plants," said Stack. "Inside a papaya, you will find literally hundreds of black seeds the size of peppercorns. Scoop these seeds out and lay them on a newspaper. Roll the seeds around to clean off the jellylike covering, wash them and plant. Put several seeds in a pot about a half-inch deep.

"Papaya germinates very reliably and quickly, and in no time you will have plants to transplant into pots. The plants have leaves that are formed at the top of a central trunk and look like maple leaves. The plants may flower, and the flowers are very fragrant."

[University of Illinois news release]

Home of the Chicago Dog

Casino Dog
837 Woodlawn Ave.
Lincoln, Illinois 62656
(217) 735-3421

Delivery Available

Next To Papa Johns

Florist & Delivery

100 E. Cook St., Mt Pulaski

(217) 792-3868

click here to order flowers
Tuesday - Friday 9am -4pm, Sat  9am - 12
closed Sunday & Monday


Baker & Son Tree Service

Tree Trimming & Removal
Excellent Service & Cleanup
Free Estimates - Fully Insured

Phone: (217) 735-5066
Cell...: (217) 306-4397

Email: lbaker@lincolncollege.com


Previous features

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor