Tips and tricks to growing food inside all year round.
If outdoor space is lacking or the elements make outdoor gardening difficult, don’t let your gardening efforts be deterred! Numerous crops do grow indoors and with a little understanding within a week or two you can be eating and enjoying freshly picked greens, sprouts and veges grown indoors.
Six tips to successful windowsill gardening:
- Let there be light: The more light the seeds or plants get the better. Place on a window sill, bench or table. Once a week, rotate the plants around, so a different side is facing the light source.
- Containers: Any container will do as long as it has drainage holes and a decent depth to hold enough potting mix to house the roots. Lack of root room will limit the capacity for a plant to fully develop. Add SaturAid to potting mix to aid water distribution and retention.
- Seeds versus plants: Quick growing crops such as wheat grass, sprouts, mesclun and rocket are best grown from seed. Whereas robust longer lived plants can be purchased as young plants and potted into suitable pots and containers.
- Dust: Dust particles cling to plants leaves, every now and again, spray a fine mist of water over the leaves to unclog the pores.
- Make it pretty: Plastic pots can be hidden, slip them into something more attractive, like a vase, ceramic pot, urn or Mexican oil cloth pouch.
- Watch out for: Dampening off or mould problems can occur. Remove the plants and pots immediately and start again, only a week or two will be lost until something new germinates and crops up again.
Top crops to try inside:
Mesclun leaves and rocket:
Quick and easy to grow, sprinkle a tablespoon of seeds in a pot filled with Tui Vegetable Mix once every 4-6 weeks to ensure a constant supply. Use as soon as the leaves are a pickable size.
The ‘go to’ herbs are chives, coriander, mint, parsley and oregano. Soft herbs such as basil and dill can be grown as micro greens and treated as short term crops, they tend to collapse under air conditioning and sudden changes in temperature. Plant into Tui Herb Mix, keep the soil moist and pick regularly, to stimulate the plant to produce more leaves. With mint, the key is to cut it hard back every few weeks to force it to push fresh new leaves from below.
These mini veggies pack a punch and can be grown in something as small as a tea cup or pudding bowl. Pak choi, parsley, basil, lettuce, celery, beetroot are all good micro campaigners. Find out more about growing micro greens here.
Numerous seeds can be grown as sprouts - try lentils, beans, peas, mustard and alfalfa. Cover seeds in a preserving jar with water over night, drain the next day and leave in the jar to sprout, this takes 3-5 days depending on the seed. Harvest as soon as the leaves appear, then store in airtight containers in the fridge.
Healthy and packed full of energy, wheat grass is a super quick and easy crop to grow. Only a shallow dish is required - old takeaway containers are fine. Fill with Tui Vegetable Mix and sow seeds thickly on top of the soil, and lightly cover with more mix. Keep the soil well watered, and within a couple of weeks, it will be ready to harvest.
With a slightly nutty flavour, sunflower greens should be ready to use in 10-12 days from sowing. Sow as you would wheatgrass and harvest once finger length.
Super fast to germinate, with edibles leaves and roots. The round ball varieties are better suited to indoor gardening, make sure you allow plenty of space for the roots to develop.
Both the leaves and roots can be eaten. Sow seeds into trays and transplant once the seedlings have developed, or sow directly into pots filled with Tui Vegetable Mix.