Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

By Nina Koziol


You don’t need to have ‘the gardening gene’ to grow fresh greens indoors this winter. Really!

At this time of year, the sunlight is still weak and the skies are often somber. Spring seems a long way off. That’s all the more reason to have a little fun harvesting edibles that are grown indoors. How about a fresh crop of lettuce, spinach, herbs or teeny-tiny greens, called microgreens, growing on your kitchen counter or a sunny windowsill?

Why Not Start with Microgreens?

Microgreens are the nutrient-rich wonder-foods coveted by foodies. Essentially, they are the newly sprouted leaves from seed-bearing plants.  They’re larger than sprouts but smaller than “baby” salad greens. Microgreens are popular as a garnish on fruit, cooked potatoes, salads, egg dishes and soups, and inside of wraps, gratins, stuffings and frittatas. You don’t need a green thumb or even a garden to grow them.

Leafy Greens Are Another Good Choice

All the edibles that like cool temperatures outdoors do very well indoors, given the right location. Examples are leaf lettuce, arugula, kale and spinach. A window that faces south or west or a “grow” light will do. I use windowsills and a few fluorescent lights purchased at the big box store. The ideal location is away from heat (radiators or vents) and away from cold drafts and curious pets. Don’t have the right spot? Try using LED or other cool lights under a kitchen cabinet and place the plants 3 to 4 inches below the lights. Turn the lights on for about 12 hours a day.

placing indoor plants

If you don’t have a sunny window for growing herbs or leafy greens, consider growing them on your kitchen counter. Place LED lights under a cabinet and leave them on for 12 to 14 hours a day. Plants grow best when the top leaves are about 3 inches from the lights.  Photo by Nina Koziol

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