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Free or Almost Free Plants

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      Over the years I have gotten and given away many plants.  Some were started from seeds I bought.  After growing tomato plants in my house I planted them in my garden.  The seeds cost 10 cents whereas a 6 pack of tomatoes can cost over $1.00 at the beginning of the growing season.  I started over 2 dozen plants that year.  The next year I got plants from the tomatoes that dropped and wintered in my garden.  (I lived in central Pennsylvania as did/does my sister still.)   I sold 10 plants to a container for 25 cents at my yard sale that year.  I still had plenty for my garden and made a few dollars on the plants.  I even planted some (for free) for my neighbors so they had fresh tomatoes as well.

      Years ago my grandmother had some potatoes in her basement that grew roots in the eye of the potaotes.  I took them home and planted them.  I had potatoes for the next 4 years or so because I always left a few in the garden (usually I missed them).  I moved after that.  The first potatoes were small but the next ones were medium size even in my clay soil.  I think it was due to the homemade mulch and horse manure I used.  Even here in Las Vegas I have some eyes planted in my flower boxes.  Hopefully I will get some nice potaotes if not I would have thrown the skins and eyes away any way.  I have some pretty plants coming up and I estimate to get some potaotes in May at the latest.

      I also have a piece of Ivy growing that I got Feb. 15, 2003.  I put it in an old cooking pot in water only and it is flourishing.  I plan to plant it soon.  I have rooted other vine type plants this way but you could root other things by placing a stem in rooting compound and then planting it. Nurserys and other plant stores sell rooting compounds.
      I even started cactus by placing pieces in the ground but you might have better success with the rooting compound.
      My sister used to grow parsely every year by letting some of it go to seed then mulching the area during the winter.  I dried it on an old screen set up on some bricks, books or whatever to give it height. Then I placed a sheet on the screen which I pulled over itself so the parsely didn’t get dirty.  I put it in jars with lids to keep the flavor.  

      I know that people have grown plants from apple and other fruit seeds.  If you know how write about it here.  I haven’t had good luck with fruit.  I once transplanted and sold walnut trees at a yard sale to a guy starting a nursey and other people. Squirrels would bury them and some took root so since I didn’t want  trees in my flower bed I put them in plastic pots I got free from neighbors and old coffee cans (put stones in the bottom to prevent rotting).  

      Now tell us about some of your free or almost free plants.  I am sure you have plenty of ideas.


        FREE APPLE TREES I have been putting out apples on a nail on our deck for a few years now for the mocking birds.  The seeds fall to the ground below and last spring we transplanted about ten trees.  They are still too young to know if they will fruit or not.


          ;D HI!  
          Last year I started my tomatoe plants from a slice of tomatoe that I purchased in the grocery store! I was skeptical at first, but they grew.  I would change it a little now, but if them darn groundhogs didn’t eat my garden, I would have many tomatoes on that plant.
          Funny I bought 6 plants…and the one that I started from a slice was my “baby”
          Reminds me of that saying, Only God knows how many apples in a seed!”


            :) I agree, MY front yard is full of plants one of these days i want so many plants that we dont have any grass lol  ;D, and im not going buy all of those so what i have done so far , I go to peoples house that already have flowers and usually i know them a little cause my town is soooooo small but if i dont i will i will strike up some conversation and get to know them, and ask them if i could get some seeds from them in the fall and everytime they will remember me and give me seeds or even dig up some of the plant right then and so alot of the plants i have gotten are free and another way was wild flowers in the country or buildings or houses that noone lives in i just dig up a small amount like anyone cares and replant them.  and i always give away my plants to people who want some. bye kelley  ;)ps and my bday is in march so i may ask for certain plants for my bday gift.


              In my quest to “grow” dirt in Fl. I have actively composted for quite some time. I sometimes become impatient with my compost and use it sooner than I should. What results are “mystery plants” which sometimes just sprout randomly. I have discovered the seeds of hybrid melons sometimes produce baseball sized melons which have a faint taste of banana in addition to the musk melon. I have begun to save seed and am actually propagating from those seeds now.
              I have had several crops of pineapples grown from discarded pineapple tops. The fruit is much sweeter than that from the original pineapple and is free. I’ve actually been so bold as to ask people in the grocery line if they planned on using their crown as either decoration or to plant themselves. When they indicate they have no use for it I ask if they mind if I pop it off to plant. Many are willing and actually grateful to not have to deal with it. The plants can actually be grown in a green house or a safe corner of your house and will produce fruit in a couple years. If you have friends with strawberry patches ask if you can stick small pots of dirt under a few runners.  Last year I bought pots of “dead” strawberries at Home Depot for a quarter a pot. I watered them and now have tons of strawberries.  Always ask if there is either a mark down rack or a discard rack/ bin you can go through.  As others have indicated, swap with neighbors when possible. If you are starting plants sow a few extra in starter pots and give them to someone nearby. They will often do the same.


                To deter animals moth balls might work but they are a bit toxic.  Blood works for rabbits.  Ask a local nursery for advice on detering animals.  My grandmother had a small garden at her trailer and had a problem with pests eating all of her vegetables.  A fench with wood (or stone) dug about 6 inches down all the way around might help.  Marigolds or garlic might also deter pests.


                  Something was eating my potato leaves.  I did not figure out what.  I got 3 small 1-2 inch size potaotes yesterday May 24, 2003 from the eyes I planted about 4 months ago.  It did not cost me anything because I already had the flower pots filled with soil (from previous plantings) and the potatoes were useable. (Except for the eyes with the roots that I planted.)    


                    When I buy green onions for the tops, the roots are still attached. I cut them off about 1/2 inch above the roots and place them in a shallow dish of water for a couple of days, just enough to cover the roots. Then I plant them in the garden and have a supply of green onions all year long. The ones I planted last spring are too large and going to seed but I can dig them and use the bulb (larger onion) at the base also.


                      If you live near a botanical garden, they are usually looking for volenteers to help out with the planting and care of the plants. You can meet a lot of other plant loving people and get clippings and exchange plants.

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