Growing Fruits and Vegetables from Their Seeds



I went to visit my family in Iran after an absence of 18 years and brought back pomegranate seeds from my mom’s garden. I dried them in the sun and left some in the freezer and some in the refrigerator. I would like to know if I am doing the right thing so that when I plant the seeds they will sprout and grow into trees.
Refrigeration is a good way of preserving pomegranate seeds until you are ready to plant them. However, refrigeration is not needed for germination of these seeds to take place.
The seeds of plants from cold climates typically require a dose of cold, known as stratification, before they will sprout. In nature, this cold is provided by winter, but if you live in a mild climate such as ours, you may have to refrigerate seeds from cold climate plants — such as cherries and most varieties of apples and pears — in order for them to germinate.
Stratification, or chilling, is not necessary where pomegranate seeds are concerned. Once the seeds have been cleaned, they can be immediately placed on or just beneath the surface of well-drained soil.
It is recommended that they be germinated in long planting tubes or quart-size milk cartons since pomegranate seedlings develop deep tap roots that resent disturbance when transplanting.
To germinate pomegranate seeds straight from the fruit, you will first need to remove the arils that cover them. The aril is that glassy red pulp that surrounds the seed and is the source of pomegranate juice. Arils left on the seed become mildewy and prevent germination. Be patient, since the seeds take four to six weeks to sprout.
You can create an orchard and vegetable garden from the seeds of grocery produce. Mango, papaya and avocado seeds will sprout readily enough, as will the seeds of pumpkins, cantaloupes and squashes.
Tomato seeds are easy to germinate, although seeds from hybrid varieties develop into plants whose fruit is usually disappointing. `Roma’ tomatoes generally have seeds that grow true — fruit resembles that from which seeds were extracted — and exotic, heirloom, or open-pollinated tomato varieties, such as some of the miniature cherry, pear and grape tomatoes, do the same.
Grocery bulbs, tubers and rhizomes also are worthy of cultivation. Big bulb onions, green shallots and garlic cloves can be planted. Yams produce heart-shaped, vining foliage. Fingerling potatoes will produce more of the same. If you find elephant ear foliage attractive, plant a taro tuber.
Ginger rhizomes yield bamboo-like foliage and interesting green flowers, and horseradish rhizomes will proliferate underground, providing you with a permanent stock of hot condiment.
From the fresh spice section of the produce department, shoots of basil, mint and rosemary can be rooted in a fast-draining soil mix. Sugar cane stalks also will root and coriander seeds grow into lacy-leafed cilantro.
Tropical fruits are eminently suitable for sprouting in Styrofoam cups next to a sunny window. This includes the seeds of guava, passionfruit, star fruit, cherimoya and lychee. All citrus seeds will germinate but only mandarin seeds grow into trees with reliably edible fruit.
You can also cut the top off of a pineapple and, in due course, coax a bromeliad flower from among its leaves.

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