Putting Down Roots

sick of winter? start growing greens!
January 31, 2011, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This morning I was working on starting seeds for baby greens (you know, those bags of fancy lettuce that you buy from the grocery store where they cost $6 for a bag that will fill maybe two bowls?). My first step was sorting out the basket of seed packets to pick out the varieties I wanted. The kitchen table looked like this:

In the top right corner, you can see the bowls where I mixed different 3 blends of seeds (mustards, kale, a few types of lettuce, beets, chard, cilantro, arugula, and spinach). I used a measuring spoon and recorded my data and felt like a bit of a scientist.

Right around this point, I realized that y’all–especially those of you in cold, snowy places that haven’t seen anything green outside for months–could start baby greens inside, and have your own salads in just a few weeks. So, in addition to the 3 big buckets that I’m starting as test-batches, I also started a little demonstration pot.

What you’ll need are: seeds, soil, a container of some sort, and sunlight.

Step 1: Buy yourself some seeds. Hardware stores generally have seeds, as do grocery stores (especially natural food stores). If you’re lucky enough to have a garden supply store nearby, they’re your best bet. You’ll only need about half a teaspoon of seeds total, so whatever you buy, you’ll have enough to share with friends. Pick out a few (maybe four) of the seeds I suggested above, and get a packet of each. If you’re lazy, buy one packet of “mesclun mix” or “cut and come again” mix.

Step 2: Find a container. (I cut off the bottom of a milk jug. Other things you could use include styrofoam or plastic take-out containers, old tupperwares that are missing their lids, aluminum pie plates, etc.)

Make sure you poke drainage holes in the bottom of it. I did a round dozen.

Step 3: Mix up your seeds. In a bowl, add a few pinches of each type of seed (more of things you especially like, less of things you’re not sure about).

Step 4: Add soil. You can get a little bag of potting soil from the hardware/garden store, but if you’re cheap, you’ve got several free options: ask a neighbor who grows flowers or veggies, or go to the biology greenhouse (if you’re a college student) and ask them to give you a few handfuls, or take handfuls from potted plants around the mall. You’ll want enough to fill your container right up to the top.

Step 5: Scatter the seeds in the soil, fairly close together. It should look something like this silly picture with my finger:

Step 6: Cover the seeds with a tiny bit more soil. Keep in mind that seeds like to be planted at depths 2-4 times their size (in other words: if a seed is about 2 mm, it wants to be planted 4-8 mm deep, which is not very much at all).

Step 7: Find the sunniest windowsill you’ve got (one facing south is best, east or west is fine, north is bad). Set your container there (on top of something waterproof, like a plate or an orphan tupperware lid), and water it gently every day (splashing water with your fingers from a bowl works well) until the greens are a few inches tall.

Step 8: Harvest after a few weeks. I’ll have another post about this when mine get big enough.

Happy growing!


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: