After Dinner Gardening

After Dinner Gardening

When my kids were little, I bought an odd gardening book from a used book store called The After Dinner Gardening Book, by Richard Langer.* I was curious and had to buy it just to see if it had some ideas for kid-friendly gardening projects that we had not already tried.  It was an enjoyable narrative story about the gardening adventures of growing edible plants in an urban East coast apartment, but mainly from leftovers and seeds which were normally discarded, basically garbage. 

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After Dinner Gardening book

It was originally published in 1969, long before the days of using the internet for creative gardening ideas.  Most of the gardening methods mentioned in the book are pretty commonplace nowadays, but when the book was first written, it was considered quirky and unique.

Every once in a while we try another project out of the book, and about three months ago, on my suggestion, my daughter recycled a pineapple top.  I used a really sharp knife and lopped the top off cleanly.  My daughter, B, took the top leaf part and placed it in a pot in the middle of her fairy and succulent garden on the front porch.  A lot of cloning methods require rooting hormone, but she didn’t bother.  I figured, if it didn’t work without it, we would just get another pineapple if she still wanted to try again. 

All B did was plop the cut end into potting soil, covered it slightly with potting soil, watered, and walked away. Seriously, that was it.  There was some initial drying out and browning of the larger leaves and inner leaf tips, but she didn’t give up.  She just kept adding a little water now and then, but not with any regularity.  Just recently it started growing like gangbusters.  From what I read, “as long as the small center leaves remained green and stiff, the pineapple would likely grow,” and if not, we would just have the perfect excuse to splurge on another pineapple and start over.

She only occasionally waters it, pretty much just with the leftovers from her water bottle that comes home from school.  She treats it like all the other succulents on the porch.  However, I think we will move it inside as a house plant for the coldest part of the winter or at least on any nights with a frost expected.  In the spring, we will try planting it out in the yard to see if we can actually get it to grow a pineapple fruit.

Below is her pineapple plant’s progress so far…And more recently, the results of the pineapple growing project can be found at the post titled Homegrown Pineapple.

pineapple from leftovers
The green new growth on the pineapple

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