Tips for using fruit and vegetables that might otherwise go waste

Resident gardener Glenys and the volunteers at St Mellons Community garden in Cardiff are back with some money-saving tips for the spring.

Their motto is to never throw anything away.

Here are some of their tips for using fruit and vegetables that might otherwise go waste.


You don’t need to buy packets of seeds. Take a tomato slice and plant it in a pot with soil covering it.  

If you have room indoors you can leave them on a window sill and soon seedlings will start sprouting through. In May you’ll be able to plant out into the garden or in pots on your patio.


Just like tomatoes, you can take a slice of cucumber and plant it in a pot and this too, will start sprouting individual plants from the seeds.


Our gardeners never throw away their potatoes when they start sprouting in the cupboard. We plant them in the garden. In 15-17 weeks they’ll give us a crop of potatoes. We always find that doing it this way gives tastier potatoes than if you buy them ready to plant from a garden centre.  

You don’t need a garden to grow potatoes they can be planted in strong black bags or even an old reusable shopping bag as long as you put in drainage holes. In fact potatoes will grow in anything as long as it has drainage holes. 


When you slice up your onions for your dinner, don’t throw away the end with the “hairs.” Cut it into quarters and plant them in a pot and onion plants should burst through. You can plant them out in the garden from April onwards.  

You can do the same with old garlic cloves that start sprouting in the fridge.  

Dried Peas 

If you soak a couple in water for longer, they should start to sprout and you can plant those in the garden too.  

Top tips  

  • Plant lavender next to summer bulbs, such as gladioli, irises or allium. It will attract the bees to pollinate the flowers.  
  • If you are planting up hanging baskets, put a dish or saucer in the bottom first. (You could recycle large plastic pot lids or silver foil pie dishes.) These will collect the water and stop your baskets drying out so quickly.  
  • Cut down old plastic bottles to make pots. You can even hang them from trees and grow carrots in them. Just remember to make drainage holes.  
  • Plastic trays with covers, like the type you get with cupcakes, can be used as propagators, which act like mini greenhouses to grow seeds.  
  • Plant marigolds next to your veg, especially tomatoes, to help keep the bugs away. Similarly cosmos flowers can be planted next to cabbage and cauliflower as their scent confuses the cabbage white butterfly and stops them eating your plants. 

Alison Stokes 07484 911100 Alison is our PR & Marketing Officer for South & West Wales.