February 1, 2011

Growing Greens Indoors

This post is for Maria.  She and her family are stationed in Germany.  It's very cold and she is having a hard time finding good fruits and vegetables.  The commissary is, apparently, not known for their produce section.  I have a number of posts about growing greens and vegetables indoors for the winter (or anytime of year actually).  This post will pull together and link to the various posts. 

 The absolute easiest way to add some greens to your life is by growing sprouts. It's cheap and easy and you can add them to sandwiches, salads and more.  They are super nutritious and can be ready to eat in just a few days.  My post on sprouts is here.

You can grow lettuce and spinach indoors.  I'm doing it now.  I have 4 planters going, but really should have more.  Maybe I'll get some more going this week.  

Lots of things can be used as containers.
You can plant them in any size planter or pot.  If you don't have real planters or pots, be creative and find something that could be used as a planter.  

Lettuce and spinach do great in a sunny window.  If you don't have a good sunny window, you can put them under a grow light.  You can even grow other salad fixin's indoors, like tomatoes and bell pepper, but they won't do well with just a sunny window.  They also need a grow light.  However, I do have a cherry tomato growing in a sunny window without a grow light.  It produces.  Not a lot, but some.

Having things growing in your house, especially the kitchen, is really nice.  Take a look at my post on the Southern Living House kitchen and notice how nice it looks with all the herbs and greens.  I especially love the one on the table.

They'll be ready to eat in a month.  You can even eat them sooner when they are young and tender.  I have several links with valuable tips on growing lettuce and spinach indoors on my Garden page.

 Bakers racks are great to use to hold lots of salad planters.  They are easy to move to the porch when the weather warms up.

Kale grows well in the winter and some varieties can survive in temps as low as 5 degrees.  I have some growing in planters outside, but haven't eaten any yet.  They are so pretty and colorful I haven't had the heart to cut them.  I need to get over that.

Spring isn't far away.  Salads are cool weather crops.  You may want to consider having some salad tables and growing an absolute feast of greens. The ones above look pretty deep, but all the research shows you only need about 3 or 4 inches of dirt.

If you can't find good produce, 
produce it yourself!

UPDATE:  I realize that not everybody reads the comments on a post and this one from Staci is too good to not be read. It's such a good idea!!!   ---

The principal at our elementary school decided to fundraise for growboxes in every classroom. There are quite a few apartments in our school boundary, and she realized that a lot of the kids had no idea that you COULD produce your own produce. She ran the fundraising, and a boy scout built the boxes for his Eagle project. The kids get to tend the boxes and when they're ready to harvest, the produce gets added to the salad bar in the lunch room.

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