During my younger years, one of my geeky hobbies (among many) was growing tropical plants using seeds harvested from fruit my dad would bring home from the supermarket. I clearly remember having success with avacados, pomegranates, papaya, kiwis and dragon fruit – but I’m sure there were others as well.

Obviously – given my location (Ontario, Canada) – I didn’t have any chance of producing an actual fruit-bearing plant, but it was still a lot of fun getting weird things to grow! lol

I was reminded of this recently, thanks to my introduction to seed balls and the sight of two shriveled pomegranates (from Christmas if I remember correctly – lol) sitting in our fruit basket. Thinking it might be fun to try making some pomegranate seed balls, I got to work on dissecting the fruit and preparing the seeds.

This reminded me of the fact that it’s a pain in the you-know-what to harvest and prep pomegranate seeds for growing (at least if you want a lot of them). Back in the good ol’ days I had loads of time to kill, so it wasn’t a big deal. This time around I definitely needed some help!

NOTE: When I say “preparing the seeds” I am referring to getting rid of the tasty coating so as to increase the likelihood of germination (since there are usually germination inhibitors in fruit flesh – for obvious reasons).

At first I thought I would just let the seeds rot in an old cottage cheese container – but then I decided that I had a better idea!

“Why not get the worms involved?”

Specifically, I figured that if I left the seeds to sit at the top of my VB48, all manner of critters – including the worms of course – would make quick work of cleaning off the fruit flesh.

Kinda like the vegetarian version of using dermestid beetles to clean skeletons!

Long-story-short, it worked like a charm. In a matter of days – thanks to the munching of springtails, millipedes, isopods and worms – my seeds were ready for removal. Seeing these seeds, mixed with some vermicompost from the bin, I couldn’t help but wonder if there were any other advantages to preparing them this way? Would they germinate more quickly? Produce plants that grow more vigorously?

OR – perhaps there are disadvantages? Maybe they were damaged during the process. Or the moist environment stimulated enough of the germination process that drying them out again will render them sterile? I dunno – but I am definitely curious to find out!

I am planning to get another pomegranate, and will prep some of the seeds from it by hand so I can see how they grow in comparison to my “vermi-seeds”.
Should be fun! Stay tuned.

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    • IanE
    • February 20, 2014

    Interesting! Can’t wait to see how the results turn out.

    • John Duffy
    • February 21, 2014

    I never knew that fruit flesh would act as a germination inhibitor.( makes perfect sense now that I think about it) Thanks for keeping my brain cells stimulated. I really enjoy learning new things and YOU have taught me volumes. Have a great weekend!

    • Steve
    • February 24, 2014

    Speaking of tropical plants Bentley, did you realize that papaya seeds are considered potent de-wormers. They are supposed to be powerful for getting rid of intestinal parasites. By the way the worms I ordered from you arrived in great condition and needed no defrosting.

    • Robin
    • February 28, 2014

    Hello! I recently added some butternut squash guts and an old pomegranate to one of my 7 bins. A week later, I had a forest of squash sprouts, and what I think is a pomegranate sprout growing out of the bin. I pulled them out, planted them, and put them in our grow house where we grow hot chili peppers. The squash is going crazy, and is about to flower, and the pomegranate (?) is on its 3rd leaf set.

    We’ll see where it goes…pretty stoked.

    • Antonette Lobo
    • March 15, 2014

    I have hundreds of tomato plants in many of my house plants, guess they are from the worm poop that i added to the pots a few weeks ago. I dont know what kind of tomato plants the are and dont want to weed them out either.I am in edmonton and have still 2 more months to wait if I want to plant them out.

    • Carol
    • January 9, 2015

    Had to chuckle ruefully at Antonette’s comment (#5) as I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago. I “treated” my worms to the pulp leftover from running my tomatoes through a food mill to remove seeds & pulp prior to processing them for canning. Wow… some months later I started new beds for the worms and proudly saved all that lovely worm compost in a bucket until time to start spring plants and to repot/rejuvenate my houseplants, etc. come spring. Oh, dear… Lesson learned! Now I pre-cook all that pulp really well before adding it to my bins! (Same with squash & cucumber pulp!) But it took several years before I stopped finding seedlings popping up here & there in my spider plants & geraniums, etc.! It seems tomato seeds can be buried quite deeply and still eventually germinate…
    I purposely left an avocado pit in one of the bins (oh, my, how those wrigglers adore avocado flesh!) and later, when it grew, potted it up. It grew a few feet tall over a couple of years before I finally had to just let it succumb to the cold outdoors as I had nowhere in the house to keep it over winter.

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