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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

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Don’t throw out your kitchen scraps — grow them! Discover how you can transform leftover pomegranate seeds, mango pits, and dried bits of gingerroot into thriving plants. From the common carrot to the exotic cherimoya, you’ll be amazed at the gardening possibilities hidden in the foods you eat. 
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 7th 2008 by Storey Publishing, LLC
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  435 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, growing
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
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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 least this idiot hopes so!). Then each vegetable/spice/fruit that ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This was okay.
It did make me want to experiment with all sorts of fruits and vegetables I have in my kitchen, but they would mostly not fit on my kitchen window sill and would take a lot more effort than I want to give. And they mostly don't bear any sort of fruit in the end, so it's not actually growing food. But, on the other hand, it is growing interesting kinds of houseplants for free, so there's that.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 its purpose like I did.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sustainability
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
Kelly Lynn Thomas
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-and-garden
"Scraps" isn't quite the right word here. Sure, some of the things are legitimately scraps, but others you have to buy one if you want to grow it--you can't grow it from what's left over after you cook it/prepare it. Even so, it's an interesting book and I learned quite a bit about growing things like avocados and dates from leftover seeds.
May 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I felt like this book promised more than it delivered. I thought it would have more pointers for regrowing foods from kitchen scraps, but it was mostly about how to grow exotic fruits and vegetables for ornamental purposes. That's not really "kitchen magic" in my opinion.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Little book with brief information for most of the items - sometimes too brief, and at times confusing. I know nothing about cooking Prickly Pear and the instructions were incomplete. (What are pads? Is the flesh that you scoop out edible?) For the Jerusalem Artichoke, the author never tells us how or even what to harvest to eat! Several plants were very short-lived ornamentals, which I found discouraging for the effort. Some things will eventually become productive but many will not! It would b ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
An intriguing guide to for those who like to foster unusual houseplants, but don't want to pay expensive shipping costs to have tropical greenery sent to their homes. This book is fun for both the avid gardener and the curious house plant enthusiast alike. In addition, there is a valuable introductory section on starting some of the more challenging plants by varied methods. This book is also sort of a work in memoriam of Deborah's Peterson's partner in adventurous plant cultivation Millicent S ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Aww man, not what I thought. I guess I should have read the title better. This is a great how to on growing unique houseplants from scraps. If that is your desire, then read this one!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good information, easy read but nothing I couldn't find in an online search. Recommend for a very beginning gardener.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was helpful, but disorganized - it would have helped to have the items you can grow alphabetized so you're able to quickly find the items you want to grow.
Melissa Massello
Nov 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
"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
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Somewhat disappointed in this incredibly cursory handling of the topic of seed saving.

While this book list some bare minimum statistics about most of the plants (for example "bright light, low light"), it doesn't talk about temperature requirements (another 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 w
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening, nonficiton
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
else fine
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: plants, read2009
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
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Cyndie Courtney
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Cyndie by: Mother Earth News Fair
Shelves: own, non-fiction
I was not so much disappointed in the book by how apparently difficult it is to grow plants from kitchen scraps.

Really you have to buy a whole second plant to grow and on top of that, most of these plants will not flower or fruit inside, or in the climate of my house, or if you don't already have a good base of gardening knowledge. Definitely a better for book for those interested in doing a bit more intensive gardening or growing more exotic plants.
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-bookshelf
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!
Nov 12, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Tatiana Gomez
Apr 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
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.
Mary Beth
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: informational, owned
it has it good parts and it's not so good. There are a lot of exotic fruits, nuts etc that while cool to learn about I have never seen so would never grow. The tips for growing the most common things were good. They had a lot of options for planting. Overall a decent book if you are interested in planting from pits, seeds etc.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
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 growing free plants from kitchen scraps. My rating: 7/10, finished 2009.
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
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.
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