Kitchen Garden

Salad Greens Year ‘Round – How to Set Up a Simple Yet Prolific Indoor Garden

microgreen close up

Growing Microgreens at Home Provides a Great Source of Healthy Veggies

Indoor gardening has many benefits for both amateur and experienced gardeners alike. Gardening can feel like a big undertaking for beginners. Start small with a limited indoor garden – this is perfect way to kick off your new hobby.  An excellent starting place is growing microgreens.  These are are simple and low maintenance plants.  Microgreens are superhealthy yet can be costly to buy at the market (particularly if organic).   It makes great sense to grow some of your own.  Start with greens that can be grown in any season and environment. This will encourage a more successful harvest. Growing microgreens indoors produce incredible results. The plant can produce greens in about a week and a half and takes up a small space to grow. This method is the perfect alternative for gardeners with minimal space, time, and experience.

salad-sprouts-in-bowl2

Leafy greens harvest in 3 varying stages. The first stage is sprouts. Sprouts are usually added as a garnish to soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Germinated seeds that grow in water and do not need to soil, become sprouts. These greens aid in digestion, are rich with nutrients and vitamins, and take only days to grow in the home. The second stage in growing seeds would produce microgreens.  These are nutritional powerhouses that can be a great part of your diet.

Microgreens are powerhouses of nutrition

Microgreens are grown in a shallow planter with soil.  They harvest in approximately 10 days. These are even more healthful than sprouts!  Microgreens have about 40 times the nutrients than the plant at full maturity.  The specific nutrients differ depending on the type of green. They are often rich in beta-carotene, iron, and calcium.  They are high in fiber and quite flavorful.  The final stage of a plant is at full maturity.  This requires more space when planting than sprouts or microgreens. We suggest that you complete the harvest before the plants mature – focus on sprouts and microgreens.

garden-vegetables-wicker-basket2

Suggestions for Types of Greens to Grow

Some suggestions of microgreens to plant indoors are as follows: lettuce, kale, chard, celery, arugula, spinach, beets, mustard, cabbage, kohlrabi, sorrel, broccoli, chervil, peas and radishes. There are so many choices and the flavors are even more exquisite in these smaller plants. The best part is that when you grow organically in your home, you can control the purity of your plants. Herbs and greens purchased from the supermarket are grown according to regulations. They are often sprayed with pesticides are toxins to keep the plants free of bugs. In your own garden, though, you can ensure that the plants are not compromised with any chemicals. For this reason, it is best to buy organic seeds and soil or mix your own soil!

Growing these amazing greens is a simple and direct process. Just follow our instructions and you will be well on your way to harvesting your own indoor garden in weeks.

plants-growing-in-pods2

Begin with soil, organic seeds, a plastic planter, and water. Soak the seeds overnight to give them a kick-start in the planting process. This step isn’t necessary but it can speed up the process by a day or two. Next, place about 2 inches of soil in the planter. Make sure to keep a drip pan or newspaper under your planter. This is to prevent dripping along the planted area through the holes. Scatter the seeds in the soiled planter and cover with an extra bit of soil and pat down. The greens will break free of the soil while budding so do not cover with an excess of soil. You will want the soil to be moist but not soaked so water a generous amount with a spray bottle so it is spongy in texture.

seedlings-clear-plastic-containers2

Check Your Plants Often

The seeds are in the soil, now it’s time to let them grow! The best environment to produce greens in is a regulated temperature. Keep the room in the range of 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants should get about 6 hours a day of the sun or simulated sunlight by grow lights if the area is not sunny enough. If the regular environment isn’t ideal for planting, can supplement artificial changes. Always keep the soil moist and in a few days the greens will begin to break through the surface of the soil. Mold can begin to grow on your plant if you do not store it in a cool dry place. Excess humidity is dangerous for the plant as that is the most common atmosphere for mold to grow. So if your home is humid, turn on a fan in the area of the plants to keep the air circulating all the time.

indoor-garden-windowsill2

After about 3 days in the planting process, the seeds will pop through the soil and you will see little leaves. These leaves go by the name cotyledon. In about another week, the microgreens will resemble more mature sprouts. They will look like slight leafy greens in appearance. To harvest these greens, cut with kitchen shears. Leave approximately one inch of greens above the soil. For healthiest regrowth leave some of the plant uncut for future harvests. If you prefer to use this plant only once, you can remove by the roots. Enjoy the extra nutrition and flavor of your salad in its entirety.

greenhouse-seedlings-ready-to-plant2

The best method of a full garden is to start a new planter every day or two. This will keep a steady flow of fresh greens at any given time. Mix up your seeds so that you can make salads with spicy, sweet and bitter flavors in variation. You can choose an area or room in your home to expand your garden and try all different kinds of seeds. Leafy greens can take anywhere within a month to grow. Having many plants scattered in their growth will give you a steady flow of fresh greens.

Avoid pests in your indoor garden by tending to the plants on a frequent basis. Also, try to keep the area clean and clear. Cleaner and more sterile planters and areas are less attractive to bugs and pests. Check on your plants often and clear away dust and rotting leaves. Holes in your leaves are an indicator of little critters in the plants. The best way to get rid of these bugs and keep your greens chemical-free is by applying Neem oil. If this is not effective, you can apply an organic pest spray.  You can buy organic pest spray or make a homemade mixture of soapy water that will kill the pests.

mixed-lettuce-in-window-box3There are so many advantages to having a garden in the home. During the winter months when outdoor gardening is a challenge, you will love your in-home garden. The maintenance is low and easy for such nutrient rich organic foods.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thriving on Plants is a resource for a whole food, plant-based way of eating and living. Here we celebrate all things plant and honor the power of informed awareness and a diet focused primarily of unprocessed vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains to support good health and happiness. Discover what a little more plant can do for your life!

Disclaimer

This website is for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing presented here should be construed as a substitute for medical advice. Before beginning any type of new diet (natural or conventional), it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed physician, nutritionist and/or healthcare professional.
To Top