Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps
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Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Magic and wonder hide in unexpected places — a leftover piece of ginger, a wrinkled potato left too long in its bag, a humdrum kitchen spice rack. In Don't Throw It, Grow It! Deborah Peterson reveals the hidden possibilities in everyday foods.

Peterson, former president of the American Pit Gardening Society, shows how common kitchen staples — pits, nuts, beans, seeds, and...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 7th 2008 by Storey Publishing, LLC
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Monica!
My friend Karen checked this book out this afternoon while she was dropping off my ticket to tonight’s midnight showing of Superman: Man of Steel, and the two of us huddled in the children’s area of my library reading it with identical expressions of Intense Disappointment before parting ways to go write vaguely scathing reviews.

Mine is probably going to be more scathing, honestly, because Karen’s just a nicer person than me, and also she doesn’t take insanely personal offense at books that don’...more
jess
My dad always grew a series of avocado plants from the pit in water in the windowsill of our kitchen. I've always been the type to buy seeds and starts at a greenhouse or nursery, but when I saw this book, I thought I should give it a chance.

I had a difficult time reading this book because, for some reason outside the realm of human understanding, my kitten fell in love with me suddenly while I was reading this. I read a lot, so it was definitely not the normal "cat thing" of trying to sleep on...more
Kate
Sep 03, 2008 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ReadyMade readers and houseplant people
This cute little book is packed with good info and its funky design and layout make it that much more appealing. I have yet to experiment with any of the seeds/pits/roots they discuss, but the authors' simple instructions made me ready to go. The opening section of the book describes the propagation methods and materials/set-ups needed and it is all presented in the most unintimidating way possible (i.e. any idiot can do this...at least this idiot hopes so!). Then each vegetable/spice/fruit that...more
Giovanna
Sadly, this book did not fulfill how to grow your own vegetables and herbs from existing foods/plants. It's more for growing your own decorative plants and less about anything harvestable. Total disappointment. That said, it's well written, and does offer good advice for what it is. Just don't misunderstand it's purpose like I did.
Melissa Massello
"A fabulous exercise in resourcefulness and recycling for the green thumb set, Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 59 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps, the popular mid-seventies tome by Deborah Peterson and the late Millicent Selsam, was recently re-released by Storey Publishing, much to the delight of DIY foodies and gardeners everywhere. This beautiful reprint is as much the essential urban gardener's handbook as it was over 30 years ago. Filled with retro-style illustrations and simple-to-follow i...more
Desiree
Fun! This is largely about how to grow ornamental houseplants from weird fruits and veggies you find in specialty markets, not how to actually grow food from supermarket food (often impossible because it's irradiated... mmm... irradiated...), but some of the plants will yield useable items, and beautiful foliage or flowers from something you'd otherwise toss (if you don't compost) is pretty rad. I got this one from the library but it seems like it would be a useful manual to keep in one's handba...more
Tatiana Gomez
As many others have said, this book didn't live up to the expectation I had for it, mainly that I would learn how to grow edible things from previously edible things. I didn't finish it, and just skimmed through after I realized this, but the author barely touches on harvesting any actual food and merely comments on what type of (decorative) houseplant the food scrap will make.
Tinea
Some good ideas and basic guidelines/encouragement to experiment with all kinds of fruits, nuts, and legumes out of local and ethnic groceries in indoor pots. I'm going to try lentils, almonds, peanuts, coriander, sesame, and chickpeas. I've had poor luck with fruiting plants in my north-facing windows (avocados! ah!), but it'll be a good late winter inspiration to sprout random dry goods around the house, and to get some legumes going in the pots, green manure for veggies in the summer.

I've be...more
Mo Tipton
This adorable little book is packed with seed sprouting and plant propagation tips for everything from the common carrot and sweet potato to loquats and tamarillos. My only complaint is that roughly half of the plant entries include information for coaxing the seeds to produce a pretty houseplant, but not edible fruits, which isn't really what I was looking for. As attractive as they may be, I'm not looking for more plants in need of precious water if they aren't serving a function more useful t...more
CarrieMae
This is the greatest impulse buy I've made in years! It's an entertaining, quick reference to things you can grow in your kitchen.

There aren't any revelations here, but if you have kids or don't think you have a green thumb (like me) this is great fun. It's taking me back to my school year 'science project' days: watching roots grow from a sweet potato that we didn't get around to eating and creating table-pieces out of sprouting garlic.

Not recommended for people know how plants work and alread...more
Arlian
Some what disappointed in this incredibly cursory handling of the topic of seed saving.

Bare specifics of information listed, for example "bright light, low light". But it doesn't talk about temperature requirements (example, regardless of how much light tropical and sub tropical plants get, they need to be kept above certain temperatures--frequently temperatures that are much, much, much high than freezing) so if you live in the north it's unlikely you will be able to afford to keep your heater...more
Jeri
I liked it. cool info. I'm not plant minded at all so for me it was useful
Sarah Keliher
This would be great for indoor gardeners looking for interesting houseplants, and it gives a good introduction to seed-saving. If you have limited space, a limited budget to spend on gardening supplies, and are hoping to eat what you grow, however, this book won't have much to offer you. I found two bits of information really helpful and exciting, and I will here pass them along to you: guavas will fruit indoors, and you can pick the tamarind seeds out of those plastic packages of tamarind pulp...more
Molly
I really like the concept of this book (since I read it, I now have some green onions in a cup, a lettuce stump in a dish of water, and a clove of garlic in some dirt), and I like that the author doesn't shy away from fruits etc that are fairly exotic. I found myself wanting more information on certain plants, though, than the 1-2 small pages offered. I found myself confused at times over which plants just grew as pretty plants, and which ones would yield further fruit. That could just be me, th...more
Mark
I haven't tried to grow any of the plants in this book, but this inforation it provides inspired me to try to do a little gardening this summer (some in the ground and some on windowsills.) With zero gardening experience to speak of, I've grown yellow pear tomatoes, grape tomatoes, green onions, bell peppers, and some sort of mysterious squash vine (that never grew fruit). None of these plants were grown form store-bought seeds or seedlings.
Ami
I frankly expected more from this plant book. Sure, it has a unique spin in that all of these plants can be grown from kitchen scraps on your windowsill. However, there are no photographs and each entry only comes with the bare minimum of information. More hints and growing tips, photos, and information about the plants would have made this so-so book an excellent reference.
jen
i love the style of the illustrations done in this book with its 50's retro approach and the design of the book is very nicely done. its well organized and very easy to follow. it makes me want to try it out and it also makes me curious about the adventures that these two women had. i love the idea of trying out new foods and then planting them!
Jj
This wasn't what I expected - I was looking for something more of a tutorial and this was more of an encyclopedia, but that said, it was an interesting little book. It has entries telling a little bit about different fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, etc. and then explains how you can grow them from the produce you bought from the store.
Troy
A fun, interesting book that will make you think twice about discarding old fruit or nuts. Most of the plants described in this book are simple to grow and produce attractive foliage. If you are looking to actually grow fruit or vegetables, not all of the entries will be beneficial.
Amron
this can be paired with another of my books called Linnea's windowsill garden. I love kitchen/window gardening. this book rocks bc it has diff sections by region and wierd exotic grocery store fruit/vegg that you can grow funky vines and plants at home. my windows are full of them!
Sara
Really interesting! A lot of these plant profiles are geared more towards a green and flowering specimen than towards getting anything you can actually eat, but still. The book walks the perfect line between being concise and giving you new, useful information.
DMD
I love this book. It has all sorts of information on what you can grow from items in your kitchen. I wish I had read the lychee section a week ago when I planted my pits but I will definitely use it to re-try avocado and to plant some fenugreek and mustard seeds.
David Ward
Don’t Throw It, Grow It! Sixty-Eight Window Sill Plants From Kitchen Scraps by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam (Storey Publishing 2008)(635.0). Elementary instructions on free plant from kitchen scraps. My rating: 4/10, finished 2009.
carolyn
This book would be infinitely more useful if they indicated which plants can be grown just for fun (that avocado seed will not grow into a avocado producing plant) and those that actually produce food you can eat.
William
I learned about a lot of plants that I had never heard of before I read this book.

I guess I do not spend enough time in ethnic grocery stores.

Cherimoya, genip, malanga, loquat, name, etc.
Eric Allan
No pictures. Few specifics on lighting. I'm not sure what to do with the plants once they're growing. Basically, it's a book that says, "If you plant this, it might grow some leaves if you're lucky!"
Bridgette Davis
I've actually used this book to grow avocados, limes, red peppers, and potatoes. I have a mini grow-house set up in my basement now just from this book! I'm excited for springtime!
Catrina
Quick guide to indoor gardening, though many of these plants turn into trees and would produce better "fruit" outside. Nifty but not comprehensive.
Susan Wilcox
Got a lot of ideas from this book, but none I'm ready to put into my garden just yet. I appreciated the notes on the plants' flowers, though.
Tamara
Maybe next year. I already had a close call with a pre-grown tomato plant this year. I'd like to keep my killings to a minimum.
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