In an effort to eat more healthfully I began buying more sprouts, microgreens, leafy greens, and fresh herbs. But let’s be honest, some of these are not cheap, and I found myself struggling to stay in budget.
To save some money I started growing my own greens and herbs indoor to enjoy year round. If me and my black thumb can do it, so can you.
Tips for Growing Herbs
Start with just a few herbs you use most frequently. For me that was cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary.
Place it in a window that receives direct light for at least 3 hours a day. I have a garden window because with so many trees it is hard for me to get a lot of sunlight to my plants. However most herbs will be fine in any window that receives enough direct daylight. Obviously they won’t grow as fast or as big as they would in the outdoors, but that’s okay. Make sure you are periodically fertilizing them. Frequency depends on the type of fertilizer you use, follow the directions on the label.
Buy herbs from a nursery or hardware store rather than a grocery store like I did. These plants will be outdoors and have been hardened off. They will require less frequent watering, and you don’t have to help them survive the transplanting process. They will be healthier than the ones you’ll find in the grocery store that is sitting in water 24.7.
Pay close attention to how frequently each plant needs to be watered. That will be your greatest challenge. You don’t want to over water some and end up with root rot, and under water others that like to stay moist. Follow instructions and you’ll be fine.
Tips For Growing Microgreens
Don’t be intimidated by all the fancy microgreen setups out there. You don’t have to rely on a specific process to produce microgreens.
While more common methods require sprouting trays or grow pads, you can also use whatever you have on hand. For me, that was a bit of organic potting soil and some plastic closet organizing trays.
Here’s what to do if you plan to use the soil method until you can invest a little more time and money into your microgreen growth:
Soak the seeds overnight, then sprinkle them on the bottom of the tray and barely cover with soil. Mist them with squirt bottle until the soil is moist everywhere. Cover the trays loosely with some plastic wrap to create a greenhouse affect. Make sure the soil stays moist and within a week or so (depending on the type of seeds) they will start to sprout. Leave the plastic wrap loosely on top until the growth starts to reach the plastic. Continue to keep the soil moist, and when they are tall enough to eat, cut and enjoy!
When you are ready to invest a little more into your microgreen garden, you can buy grow pads for your greens, or go for the microgreen trays that don’t require soil or grow pads. It isn’t expensive, so you can jump right in, but it may require a little more attention. This is the better solution so you don’t have to worry about washing dirt off your microgreens.
Sprouts & Lettuce
As crazy as it sounds, you can even grow lettuce indoors if you have a window that gets enough direct sunlight. Choose a variety that doesn’t need as much sun, and expect that you will harvest it before it is a full head. Much like microgreens, lettuce you grow indoors will be eaten before it has reached it’s full size, and you’ll harvest thinnings of the lettuce as it grows.
What About Outdoor Urban Gardening?
Do double duty by keeping a set of indoor herbs and greens to enjoy year round, and an outdoor garden in the summer.
You can glean from both to keep a consistent harvest. Your salads and your health will thank you!
Looking for ideas on how to urban garden? I’ve got a few great ideas and tutorials for you over on Home Made by Carmona, my home and garden blog.
Learn how to make container garden that is self watering here. Build garden beds for your decks that are also self watering here. Or gain a little inspiration and know-how with our video and tutorial on starting an HERBan garden as a project for the kids.