Who doesn’t love a fresh, crisp salad packed with veggies? Did you know you could grow a variety of salad fixings right in your kitchen? All you need is a little bit of space and a sunny spot to watch your salad grow!
Gather your supplies
• Since lettuce doesn’t require tons of root space, you’ll need some shallow planting trays, such as the ones you start your seedlings in, or a shallow bowl with drainage holes and a catch plate.
• Get some good quality organic potting soil.
• If you have a south-facing window, your salad will grow well as long as your plants get at least six hours of daylight. Or, you might want to buy some adjustable full spectrum fluorescent lights. Put them on a timer to control exactly how much light your plants get.
• Have several fertilizer options, such as all-purpose plant food, since potted plants may need a slight nutritional boost.
Start from seed or seedling plants
• In most northern cities, seedlings are harder to find once summer’s over, so starting from seed is your best bet.
• Lettuce, spinach, herbs and sprouts all do very well indoors.
• Sow fresh seeds every two weeks or so you can have enough produce to last through the winter.
• Pay attention to germination time, and how long it will take until harvest time.
Choose your growing spot
Kids love to watch plants coming to life, so find a warm spot where they can observe your salad garden in action. Be sure there are no drafts, or your seeds might not germinate.
Pick your salad greens
• Most lettuce varieties grow quickly and don’t need a lot of space or soil. Many indoor gardeners have the best luck with leaf varieties — think arugula and bibb — versus head varieties such as cabbage or iceberg.
• Harvest individual leaves as you need them, and your plant will keep producing. It usually takes about a month for lettuce to be ready to eat.
• For radishes, choose a cooler spot, as they don’t like warm soil.
No seeds? No problem!
• Here’s another super-simple way to grow salad: Cut of the ends of romaine lettuce and stand them up in a container with a little water. A week later, you’ll see new green growth and roots forming at the bottom. Once the roots are about an inch or two long, plant the lettuce in a container filled with potting soil. Keep it moist and in a sunny spot.
Have more space? Go big!
Kale, broccoli and cabbage need more space and root depth, plus they take longer to grow, but if you have room, add these to your salad bowl!
See how easy it is to have fresh greens all winter? Share your success stories with us!