When it is cold and damp and gardening days outside are limited, you can still grow vegetables indoors. Whether it is a few leaves to add to a salad or sprouted beans for a stir fry or herbs that can be used in a variety of dishes, if you have a window sill, then you have space to grow.
You can trim a few as and when you need them and if you sow seeds in succession, you can keep a continual supply going.
Great to have in the kitchen, herbs need a bright, warm place to grow and a kitchen window sill is ideal. Plants such as basil, coriander and parsley can be grown as cut and come again crops. Fill teacups or pots with compost and scatter seeds on top. Place a plastic bag over the top of the pot to form a mini greenhouse. As soon as the seeds begin to germinate, remove the cover and leave the shoots to grow on. Marjoram, dill and mint are also good choices. If you have parsley, mint or chives growing in the garden, they can be lifted late summer/early autumn and grown on indoors during the winter. Photo credit: Get Creative Juice.
Photo credit: Birdworms
2. Pea Shoots
Pea shoots can easily be grown from pea seeds or if you want to be really thrifty, they also germinate from packs of dried peas that can be bought in supermarkets.
Plant seeds in a bowl or wooden box filled with compost, do not allow to dry out and within two weeks you will be able to add pea shoots to salads and stir fry dishes. If you trim them with scissors, they will grow as a cut and come again crop. Gourmet shoots at a fraction of the price of supermarkets and grocers.
3. Bean and Seed Shoots
You can’t get more locally grown food than from your fridge and that is where I grow bean and seed shoots. They are good sprinkled over salads and make a good addition to sandwiches. Larger shoots from mung beans or chick peas can also be used in stir fries. An inexpensive way to eat fresh food, a few beans or seeds make a surprising amount of shoots which are full of vitamins.
All you need is a jar with some muslin or net secured around the top or you can use foil pierced a few times. Fill the jar with around half a cup of beans or seeds, add a few centimetres of water and leave in a dark place overnight. I usually leave in the fridge. Next day, rinse the beans or seeds and leave in the fridge. Continue to rinse daily until the shoots have germinated. They will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
Photo credit: The Self Sufficient Living
Lettuce does need a fair amount of daylight to grow well so it tends to do better as the days get longer. If there is not enough light, the plants tend to get a big leggy and the leaves yellow. Again, fill a suitable container with compost and wet before thinly sprinkling lettuce seeds across the surface. Mist to keep damp and wait for the seeds to germinate. This is another crop where it is a good idea to sow in succession if you want to maintain a supply.
I have also seen instructions for growing cos type lettuce from the stump left after the leaves have been used but never tried myself. If the stump is left in a container of water, after about 2 weeks, leaves spouting from the centre are big enough to use. This would be a fun project to try with children as I am sure they would be fascinated to see something come back to life.
Photo credit: French Knot
Whether it is children growing cress as hair in eggshell pots or us adults choosing to grow in teacups or dishes, cress is quick and easy to grow. Genetically, garden cress is related to watercress and mustard, sharing their peppery, tangy taste which I think makes a perfect addition to egg sandwiches. Sprinkled over salad leaves, it also makes a nice addition, tasty and decorative.
Why not try a spot of indoor gardening and grow vegetables indoors, enjoying some healthy food at the same time… locally grown at its best!