Urban gardening has become a hip activity in American cities, but Andrew Montain and Michael Tortorello take the grow-your-own-food movement to an extreme. In his New York Times article "Seeds Straight From Your Fridge," Tortorello describes their joint botanical experiment: if you plant seeds from your kitchen-nutmeg, mustard, or even beans-will they grow? Many seeds that we cook with everyday can no longer sprout, either because they've been treated with x-rays or grown from asexual plants. Although the duo can't get vanilla seeds to grow (vanilla pods are fermented) or figs (asexual, and require a special breed of wasp for pollination), they do have some success. Their mustard and poppy seeds both sprout, as do the lentils, red beans and chickpeas. Of course, poppy plants can grow in fields left fallow for years, and hard-coated seeds can survive decades.
Next time you think about an urban gardening project, consider sprouting some seeds you already have in your kitchen cabinet. To read the full story, click here.