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Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps Paperback – May 7 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (May 7 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603420649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603420648
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 0.8 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Deborah Peterson…stops at nothing to grab some strange piece of produce, seed or pit to start a plant….Lots of fun here with figs, feijoa, fruiting citrus and more for the whole family.”

Orange County Register

“I found Don't Throw It, Grow It! to be an absolutely delightful little book. I can't wait to start using as many of the suggestions as I possibly can. There were even ethnic fruits and vegetables I had never heard of - genip, anyone? Children will enjoy the magic of watching a new plant grow. This will help you brighten your living space while recycling at the same time. This is one of my favorite new books, and I just can't highly recommend it enough.”


“This clever little book from Storey -- priced right at 11 bucks in paperback --offers up suggestions for sprouting not just avocados, but also carrot tops, garbanzo beans, peanuts, jicama, lemongrass, ginger, and just about any other kind of grocery store produce… There's something so thrifty and retro about sprouting food from kitchen scraps that makes it seem just right for the times.”

Garden Rant

“Here’s another way to be creative with plants: Read Don’t Throw It, Grow It! …Peterson and Selsam go way beyond the avocados and potatoes we used to root in water glasses. Besides fruits and vegetables, they include nuts, herbs, spices, and more international foods like chayote and litchi.”

Philadelphia Inquirer


From the Back Cover

Eat Your Vegetables (and plant them too!)


You can also have houseplant fun with fruits, nuts, herbs, and spices. From the common carrot to the exotic cherimoya, dozens of foods have pits, seeds, and roots waiting to be rescued from the compost bin and brought back to life on your windowsill. Planted and nurtured, the shiny pomegranate seeds left over from breakfast and the piece of neglected gingerroot in your refrigerator will grow into healthy, vigorous houseplants ― kitchen experiments in the wonder of botany.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One thing I'll get out of the way right away : Don't misread the cover like me and think : "Here's a book who will help me grow FOOD inside". No. It's a book to grow PLANTS inside (a couple can be grown for food, but don't buy this book for that). That's really my only problem with the book but then, I do get ahead of myself and think of all the wonderful and useful things I can grow and eat! You won't get a new carrot from a carrot top, I'm just saying. But you will get very interesting foliage for a table's centerpiece (for example).

Not a lot of people think of decorating their houses with lentils, carrots, avocados and more! So my hat to the author(s) because really, this is a great book to have around, when you are bored and confined out of the garden in winter. The book is beautiful, well structured and an easy and fast read. And the amount of plants to choose from is amazing! The information on the plants is also strong and it really feels like the author's experience.

All in all, if you like fun experimentation with plants, this book is definitely a good choice, plus its lenght is short so it will not take too much of your time, an aspect I came to appreciate with the numbers of books I tend to buy on amazon :).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy and fun thing to do with your family. Great alternative to throwing out the seeds, which often happens with the larger ones since they don't decompose very easily (or at all) in the composter. Recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great starter guide for people becoming more interested at home growing/self-efficiency.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9da0a12c) out of 5 stars 138 reviews
203 of 211 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9da30b70) out of 5 stars a wonderful book for those of us without a yard, but... Oct. 15 2009
By Silea - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have one major problem with this book. I would give it an enthusiastic five stars but for this one oversight: it's very unclear about which plants are decorative and which will actually bear fruit/vegetables. On the cover of the book it shows a recycling triangle symbol with an avocado plant, suggesting that you could run a complete cycle with avocados. I'd be astonished if anyone got an indoor avocado plant to fruit. A few plants explicitly state that you can harvest (herbs, potatoes, and a few others), while a few pretty solidly suggest that they're just decorative, but an awful lot have no mention at all. For those of us with dreams of a mini-windowsill-victory garden, that's frustrating.

Another significant problem is that they'll casually mention when a plant is poisonous (potato, in the case that i recall). No bold face, no larger font, no red warning, just an offhand mention that every part of the potato plant except the potato itself is poisonous. For those of us with pets and children in the house, a little red warning box might be nice.

Beyond those, this is a wonderful book. I have but two west-facing windows in my apartment. No dirt. No patio. Not even any windowboxes. I've found, by trial, error, and luck, a few edible/fruiting plants that i can grow with some success in my windows (hot peppers, bush tomatoes, basil, mint). This book has 68. Sixty-eight. Wow.

And that's not even including hot peppers and tomatoes, which i suppose are less decorative than some of the book's suggestions.

Another omission that i'd love to see rectified in a future version of this book is the damp-paper-towel germination method. They include instruction on starting in water, soil, and gravel, and even have a description of the sphagnum-moss bag method, but for some seeds (avocado, especially), all you need is a dark place, a damp paper towel, and a plastic container. There's no reason to muck around with a sphagnum moss bag for that.

I know that sounds like a lot of criticisms for a book i call wonderful, but trust me, it's wonderful. It could be better, but it's still wonderful. Sixty eight plants!
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9da30bc4) out of 5 stars Plants from spices, pits and other unlikely places! This is from THE PITS. July 8 2008
By Gwynne C. Spencer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While it's not really a cooking book, this little gem (6 ¼" x 7 ½") is a great resource for anyone--most especially teachers--who want to introduce the world of sprouting seeds and growing them to mature plants to their students. It was originally published as The Don't Throw It, Grow It Book of Houseplants (Random House, 1977), and with the Storey Touch it comes alive. As you read through the directions for each kind of seed and how best to grow it, it's likely you will think of Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup as a likely source of seeds to grow and a read-aloud to start with. In addition to the obvious plants a classroom could grow using the author's simple "sphagnum bag" (a zip lock bag with sphagnum moss) method there are simple, encouraging directions for more exotic challenges like mango, ginger, papaya, avocado and persimmon. Why grow just beans when you can get your kids watching sesame seeds, mustard seeds and lentils? I didn't even know peanuts could be sprouted, or that pomegranates actually would grow inside the house. Among the projects to encourage hopeful botany projects you'll find sugar cane, taro, water chestnuts and jicama. Whoda thunkit? The directions are simple and include botanical name, plant type (Annual, perennial, bush, vine, bulb, tuber) and whether it's a quick growth prospect or not, whether you can grow it from seed (almost all of them), and how much light is required. What it looks like is an important section ab out what it grows up to be, but unfortunately, the illustrations are only simple line drawings. The projects that are truly easy have a little 'easy' label. Each seed has a sidebar telling its country of origin, and a small text section on eating it or cooking with it. The introductory text tells how the authors (both New Yorkers) would prowl around ethnic food stores back in the "old days" even before even the invention of the local mega-mart, looking for exotic new possibilities in the food aisles of small groceries. The Pits (an organization of pit-growers and pit-savers of which Deborah Peterson is the founder, newsletter editor and tireless missionary mother) also known as the Rare Pit and Plant Council is acknowledged at the end of the book, which I found reassuring because they did a delightful calendar a couple of years back with detailed instructions on sprouting pits of the most exotic types, to encourage even a black-thumb like me to partake of the magic of seeds and growth. Like the book says on the cover, "It's kitchen magic!" Share that magic with your students.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbe1018) out of 5 stars Great book for teaching kids about where food comes from Oct. 7 2012
By BB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a few good ideas in this book but a lot of it is just obvious. The cover is also a little misleading. It says "68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps". I thought it was going to be about things like sprouting new onions from the roots you cut off, but most of it is stuff more like buy a carrot, stick it in water, and it will sprout roots and leaves. Well, dough. There's really not much about using "scraps". I guess it's a great book for folks who have always lived in a big city and don't know much about plants or growing food. I mean who knew if you plant seeds and water them that plants will sprout from them? Really? There a few tidbits I got from the book, like how to start a pineapple plant, but most of it was really obvious. However, all that said, I would recommend it for kids to teach them about nature and where food comes from.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9da30fe4) out of 5 stars A neat little book! Oct. 30 2009
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Last week, after I wrote about growing a tree from a grocery-store purchased avocado, I ran across a gem of a book: Don't Throw It, Grow It! by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam. Who knew you could grow plants from nearly any vegetable or fruit you buy in a grocery store? Not me! But in this volume, the authors give step-by-step instructions for doing just that.

If you have a sunny window, you probably won't need to buy much of anything to grow fruits, herbs, or veggies in your house. If you don't have a sunny window, you'll probably need a grow light (available at almost any gardening center). Aside from produce, the only other things you'll need you may already have around the house: a clear jar, skewers or strong toothpicks, gravel, and potting soil, depending upon the project you're beginning. In addition, many of the projects are marked "Easy," making them ideal for children.

You'll find instructions for growing green beans, beets, carrots, chickpeas, Jerusalem artichokes, lentils, onions, garlic, shallots, peas, potatoes and sweet potatoes, radishes, summer squash, turnips, almonds, avocados, Chinese star apples, various types of citrus fruits, dates, figs, kiwi, mangos, papaya, peanuts, pineapples, pomegranates, anise, caraway, celery, coriander, doll, fennel, mustard, many Latin American and Chinese foods, and more. There are even instructions for making your own bean sprouts. (It seems a bit troublesome to do very often, but appears to be a great project for kids.)

I was surprised to learn that some of plants will produce edible food - although most fruits will grow produce slightly different from the original fruit used (because they are hybrids). The authors are pretty clear about whether you can expect food from the plant, or whether you should only look for lovely foliage and flowers. (Did you know turnips and radishes bloom? Or that sweet potatoes produce flowers that look like morning glories?)

In addition, you'll find instructions on transplanting appropriate plants outside, and ideas for dealing with common houseplant pests.

I'm so glad I ran across the book, and look forward to using it to do many science and gardening projects with my children.

Kristina Seleshanko
Proverbs Thirty One Woman
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dbe14bc) out of 5 stars Turning ordinary household organic garbage into a thriving personal garden July 12 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
You can't recycle organics, only paper, plastic, and glass -- or can you? "Don't Throw It, Grow It! 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps" is a novel but effective guide to turning ordinary household organic garbage into a thriving personal garden. "Don't Throw It, Grow It!" promotes the ability to take the remains of countless vegetables and nuts such as almonds, celery, kiwis, squash, and others, plant them, and grow them once more into food. The veggies can then be consumed again, repeating the cycle anew. A conservationist's manual of efficiency, "Don't Throw It, Grow It!" is highly recommended for community library gardening collections.