Did you know that you can growing salad greens indoors is easy to do? Indoor gardening is a great way to grow salad greens when you have no outdoor space, or when the weather isn’t cooperating.
There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh, homegrown vegetables. It doesn’t take a lot of space or soil to grow salad greens indoors, on your kitchen counter or in a sunny window. In just a few short weeks, you can have a salad garden container full of delicious salad greens!
photo credit Kristin Schriver
The nice thing about growing lettuce is that most varieties don’t need a lot of space or soil to do well. They also grow fairly quickly. Lettuce also tends to grow well inside at temperatures that we are most comfortable with. As long as you find a nice, sunny spot for your lettuce, it will do well.
Growing leafy greens in containers is a great way to get kids involved in gardening, too! Kids will enjoy the idea of having their own salad and indoor gardening will help them understand how their food grows without a lot of dirty mess. (But, to be honest, that’s a lot of fun, right???)
One of the simplest ways to start is to cut off the ends of your romaine lettuce that you bought from the grocery store. Let it sit in a cup or container with a little water. Leave the ends in the water for about a week or so until you start to see new green growth coming from the cut end and roots forming at the bottom. Once those roots are about an inch or two long, plant your new lettuce start in a bowl or small pot filled with potting soil. Place it in a sunny window, keeping it watered. Watch your lettuce grow! You can cut and regrow more lettuce several times.
You can also take a look at the seed packets your local garden center has available or order your seeds online. Pay attention to germination time, temperature, and how long it will take your lettuce to grow to maturity. It is also helpful to know if you can continually harvest your lettuce varieties or if you should let them grow to maturity, harvest, and replant. Start with something that is easy to grow and care for, then branch out from there.
Ready to start planting your first salad bowl? You’ll be surprised how easy this will be to put together. There are only a handful of things you need to get started.
- A Container or Bowl
- Seeds or Seedlings
That’s it. Create your “grow your own salad kit” by looking around the house for a container to plant your lettuce in. This can be a flower pot you no longer use or even a plastic bowl that you can drill drainage holes in. Do not use a bowl without holes because the soil will stay too moist and the roots will end up rotting. Drainage is important, or the roots will get too much water and not grow properly.
If you can’t find anything suitable around the house, or you want a pretty container to sit on the kitchen counter, you can head to your local home improvement store or garden center and get a shallow bowl planter. A shallow bowl with drainage holes and a catch plate works best for this little planting project. While you’re there, pick up a bag of good potting soil as well. You won’t need a large bag, but look for quality soil that is suitable for growing vegetables. You can also use homemade potting soil mixed with compost for great results.
Have a look through your local garden center or even your farmers market, and find a few different varieties of lettuce that you want to grow. They can be available year round in some areas. Or you can also order your seeds online. Mixing colors makes for a pretty planter. Don’t forget that you can add some herbs as well for variety. A list of salad plants to try:
- red romaine
- black simpson
Once you get all your shopping goodies home, the fun starts. Fill your bowl with potting soil. Play with your plant seedlings before you take them out of their containers to determine how you want to arrange them in the bowl. With that figured out, it’s time to dig holes and start planting. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. They are the perfect gardening tool. Of course using a small shovel or a large spoon is also an option.
Take the seedlings out of the containers, gently tease the roots apart a little around the edges, and plant them. Gently water your planting bowl to allow the soil to settle and to help encourage root growth. Do not be alarmed if your seedlings start to droop a little after planting. They will quickly recover, and it won’t take long before you can harvest your first salad.