An Unorthodox Winter Gardening Project

During the cold winter months, I spend much of my time indoors planning on what I will do in my garden once spring arrives.

Well, I decided to do something about all my time spent indoors.  Instead of the ‘traditional’ houseplants, I wanted to see if I could grow some ‘unorthodox’ plants indoors.

You won’t believe what I am planting….


These don’t look much like ‘traditional’ houseplants, do they?

Lentils, garlic, radish, carrot, sweet potato and green beans aren’t what you usually think of when growing houseplants.  But, think of how attractive their foliage is when they grow outdoors?

According to the book “Don’t Throw It, Grow It” 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps” by Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam::

– Lentils are a pretty plant that will flower.

– Garlic sends up green shoots that you can cut into small pieces to add a mild garlic flavor to your dishes.

– Radish tops grow quickly and if they flower – it’s a pretty neat thing to see, according to the book.

– Carrot tops are easy to grow.  I did grow them last year on my windowsill and they even produced pretty flowers.  You can read about growing carrot tops here.

– Many people have grown sweet potatoes inside.  They produce a pretty vine.  I have grown them outdoors, but not inside before.

– Lastly, I like the pretty, delicate foliage of bush green beans in my garden.  So, I will try growing them inside too.

The object of using these plants is not to grow new vegetables.  But, rather to enjoy the leaves and even the flowers, if I am lucky enough to get some.

I must admit, that this is a true experiment for me (except for the carrots).  I’m not sure how it will turn out growing these ‘unorthodox’ plants indoors.  But, that is part of the fun of gardening – not always knowing how things will turn out.

In addition, you can’t beat the cost of the plants.  They are usually the parts you throw away.

So, please check back to see how my experiment is going.  Better yet, why don’t you join me in growing one or more of these ‘unorthodox’ plants.  On Tuesday, I will show you how to plant each type of ‘unorthodox’ houseplant.

  1. says

    I`ve tried most of these growing “magics” myself in my past 80 years, a lot of pleasure is derived from this endeavor. Im going to have to check my carrots to see if I can get some “GREEN”color going in my kitchen. I may try a yam too, I always liked those, such beautiful leaves. When I fix an avocado today I believe I`ll give it a shot too, haven`t done an avocado for a lot of years, most generally had pretty good luck with them, big shiney leaves, it takes a little longer than a carrot.
    Are you in Arizona, sounds like it, so am I, near SURPRISE, nice weather, a little cold at night,(27-29 degrees) last night & the
    next few nights.
    Hope to read more of your adventures on Next Tuesday.

    • Noelle says

      Hello Ben,

      I do live in Arizona. It got down to 21 degrees in my garden the other morning. I am sure looking forward to it warming up soon :-)


    • Noelle says


      It is actually a book that I bought on Amazon. “Don’t Throw It, Grow It” 68 Windowsill Plants From Kitchen Scraps” by Deborah Peterson & Millicent Selsam


  2. Jim Kottke says

    I tried growing plants indoors using used up liter soda bottles. If you don’t have enough sunlight exposure, it won’t work no matter what.

  3. Pat Stiller says

    I saved an avocado pit about a week ago. Is it too late to try to do anything with it? Not even sure how to do it, I was going to put toothpicks in it and put it in water.

    • Noelle says

      Hello Pat,

      Growing avocado pits is a fun project, but not every pit will grow. Usually, you should try growing 2 – 3 at a time so that at least one will grow. I would try using a fresh pit, although you may have success with your older one.

      Good Luck :-)


  4. Sandra Welte says

    Sounds like a plan! I always start tomatoes and some flowers. They get pretty spindly!! I have started pear, orange and grapefruit trees, also apple trees, love just goofing off with this kind of stuff. I think more in the winter than in the spring anymore!
    Good luck!

  5. AzNatureHawk says

    Most people in Arizona think 21 degrees is cold, but many plants require this and colder to transition to their next phase, hibernation. My roses haven’t hibernated in a couple years because it hasn’t gotten cold enough for long enough for them to transition. Although we will get several bloomings, they still don’t seem to do as well here as they did in California near Tahoe. Just my two cents :)


Add a Comment

Want more garden tips for your backyard?

Get ideas and advice for a beautiful landscape with our free Gardening newsletter!

Enter your email address: