“Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers good news: with nothing more than a cupboard and a windowsill, you can grow all the fresh salad greens you need for the winter months (or throughout the entire year) with no lights, no pumps, and no greenhouse.
Longtime gardener Peter Burke was tired of the growing season ending with the first frost, but due to his busy work schedule and family life, didn’t have the time or interest in high-input grow lights or greenhouses. Most techniques for growing what are commonly referred to as “microgreens” left him feeling overwhelmed and uninterested. There had to be a simpler way to grow greens for his family indoors. After some research and diligent experimenting, Burke discovered he was right—there was a way! And it was even easier than he ever could have hoped, and the greens more nutrient packed. He didn’t even need a south-facing window, and he already had most of the needed supplies just sitting in his pantry. The result: healthy, homegrown salad greens at a fraction of the cost of buying them at the market. The secret: start them in the dark.
Growing “Soil Sprouts”—Burke’s own descriptive term for sprouted seeds grown in soil as opposed to in jars—employs a method that encourages a long stem without expansive roots, and provides delicious salad greens in just seven to ten days, way earlier than any other method, with much less work. Indeed, of all the ways to grow immature greens, this is the easiest and most productive technique. Forget about grow lights and heat lamps! This book is a revolutionary and inviting guide for both first-time and experienced gardeners in rural or urban environments. All you need is a windowsill or two. In fact, Burke has grown up to six pounds of greens per day using just the windowsills in his kitchen! Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers detailed step-by-step instructions to mastering this method (hint: it’s impossible not to succeed, it’s so easy!), tools and accessories to have on hand, seeds and greens varieties, soil and compost, trays and planters, shelving, harvest and storage, recipes, scaling up to serve local markets, and much more.
Peter Burke’s book is Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening — How to grow nutrient dense, soil-sprouted greens in less than 10 days by Chelsea Green Publishing
The video is a little long so here are some key points from the video if you don’t have time to watch it. I’m presenting the following info as abbreviated notes to save time:
Indoor salad gardening is also called kitchen gardening, can grow 365 days per year, low cost, low tech, very easy to grow all of your salad greens, minimal effort so even busy families can do in a few minutes per day, no watering first 4 days, water only once a day for about 4 days after that, can use north or south windows, small containers fit more easily on windows, works in apartments and tiny houses, sprouts alone may be boring to most people but a mix of buckwheat greens, sunflower sprouts, radish sprouts and pea shoots create tasty salads even kids enjoy. You will enjoy the pleasure of growing your own food and improved health.
No special greenhouse or equipment such as lights or pumps needed, will grow even in cold climates like New England, rapid grow cycle (about 8 days), fresh, tasty greens are more nutritious than food shipped to supermarkets and much less expensive, extrapolated to production per acre these window gardens are equivalent to about 2,300,000 lbs of food per acre. It’s easy to grow endless varieties for different flavors and nutrient profiles. You can grow superfood plants such as broccoli sprouts (proven to fight cancer) and many other colorful greens.
Some sources say there are 40-80x more nutrients in radish sprouts than in a radish vegetable. (This is based on US Dept. of Ag. studies.) Eating them immediately means the nutritional difference could even be higher. Broccoli sprouts at 6 days old have about 50x-100x more of the cancer fighting nutrient than the vegetable according to Johns Hopkins Univ. There are thousands more nutrients in plants in addition to the common ABC vitamins including phytonutrients, enzymes (= life force), minerals, bioflavinoids, nutrients that break down and clear out cholesterol and other toxins for effective detox, DNA repairing/longevity benefits, disease preventing, increased oxygen in the blood. (Some notes are from a Sproutman kitchen garden video that covers similar material.)
3 thoughts on “Indoor Salad Gardening”
I have a daughter who has Prader Willi Syndrome PWS. This is a condition that leaves you desperately hungry all the time. It also has the additional problem of low low muscle tone so burning calories is a nightmare. She is on an extremely low calorie diet just to maintain. Losing weight calls for 700 calories a day. On March 6 we went on lock down for Covid 19. Fearing fresh vegetable chain supply problems I jumped right into the pages of “Year-round Indoor Salad Gardening”. A few days later and since we have had all the homegrown salads and treats we can eat. Thank you Peter Burke for your wonderful book.
I wonder what the macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein levels are in these greens?
If it was really this efficient, it would be good food production for urban areas and low-income families.
Apes, chimpanzees, horses, cows, etc. live on leafy greens so clearly they provide plenty of protein and other nutrients. Store bought salad though is way different since it’s often grown on depleted soil, often sprayed and grown with chemical fertilizers, and takes days to get from farm to table.
For those thinking of doing this on a larger scale I’d suggest a backyard greenhouse. I’ve been posting lots of low cost DIY greenhouse ideas over the last year or so.
And yes, it can be extremely profitable. Check out our blog posts about Curtis Stone the Urban Farmer and Fortier’s Market Gardening book. http://www.themarketgardener.com/ The most remarkable video was Curtis Stone interviewing a guy in Vancouver who’s growing microgreens in a converted shipping container. He’s making over $100,000/year and he explains how he’s doing it.