Growing New Plants From Old, Without Buying New Stock

My Father-In-Law bought marigold seeds once, years ago. He plants them every year in our garden but he uses seeds from his own previously grown flowers. He showed me today how he gets the seeds from the flowers - it was far more simple than I had thought.

Marigold Seeds:
  • take an old, drying marigold blossom, and remove the outside petals.
  • pull the seeds out from inside the base of the flower.
  • Once you remove the seeds, leave them out to dry before putting them away for use next season.

My Father-In-Law usually plants his in June (we're in Zone 8). He even showed us an ice cream bucket full of seeds he has stashed from last year.

He has also grown tomato plants from seeds taken from a store bought tomato, by simply removing them from the fruit and inserting them in the soil, without drying them or doing any other prep first. I haven't tried that yet, but I plan to!

Potatoes are one of the easiest foods to grow from your grocery cart - I've done this many times myself. You simply select a few potatoes with eyes sprouting, cut them in pieces ensuring that each piece has at least one eye, and bury them in the soil. They can take over your garden though, so watch out ;) They also can come back year after year, if any potatoes are not harvested and left in the soil.

One day I was turning the soil in my compost pile and I found an avocado pit that I had composted which had sprouted a new plant. I transferred it to my garden and watched it grow, only to have it die over the winter. I wonder now if I had brought it indoors, would it have survived?

What about you - what's your experience with growing new food and flowers from old?

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Planting Zones Explained

Planting Zones are weather regions determined by the lowest recorded temperatures for that area. They are used in gardening to rate plant and climate compatibility.

A numbered scale is used: the lower the number, the colder the region and the hardier the plant required. Knowing which zone you are in enables you to select plants that will thrive in your garden, rather than struggle in an incompatible climate.

Here is a link to a website that talks about planting zones. If you scroll down the page, there is a handy chart that summarizes the zones by temperature:

Here are more helpful links as well:

Annuals, Biennials, and Perennials Explained

Annuals are plants that live for only one season, and produce the next generation from seeds. Annuals germinate, flower and die all within one year.

Biennials have a limited life span as well, although they last longer than Annuals. The complete life cycle of a Biennial is two years. Flowering may occur only in the second year, as many Biennials require a cold weather dormant period (called vernalization) before they bloom. At the end of their life cycle in the second year, they produce seeds to start the next generation.

Perennials live for longer than two years. They grow and bloom in spring and summer. and then in the fall and winter die back. They begin growing again in the spring from their root stock.