Indoor veggie gardening

TruscifiAugust 18, 2011

We happened into a nice utility shelf and some fluorescent shop lights recently. Hubby has borderline high cholesterol and was told he needs to start eating more veggies. He actually likes salads, I just don't like paying the ridiculous prices at the grocery for mediocre lettuce, and have had no luck growing lettuce outdoors...sooooo, we decided to start a small indoor garden to grow lettuce - hopefully year round. Does anyone have any BTDT advice? Ie, how deep should my containers be, what is a good potting mix to use inside, how many hours under the lights, what are some other small, low growing veggies that would work inside?

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saldut

When I lived in Canada, I had a very large south-facing window, and grew lots of stuff all winter, just in the sun that came in that window..... several lettuces, radishes, chives, parsley... green leafy that is so pricey in the store... to supplement the root-crops that grew outside in the summer, and kept all winter in the cellar.... I used soil from the garden.... Here it would be better to buy good potting-mix, because of all the nasties in our native soil.....sally

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 3:25PM
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gardengimp(9B Seminole Cnty FL)

.... must confess to high cholesterol issue ....

along with high blood pressure and low vitamin D and a random slew of other odd ball stuff related to limited mobility and chronic pain issues.

I started gardening this time last year as a means to address cholesterol, blood pressure and vit D. Actually, I had tried to start a diet modification earlier but I just couldn't stand most of what I should be eating.

Growing it and eating it fresh makes the world of difference.

This winter, my annual physical, my cholesterol and blood pressure are both improved. My good cholesterol number is significantly improved and my bad cholesterol slightly. And my doctor says this is a very good thing.

My reading and research indicates that you want to shoot for a daily serving of brassica's. Fortunately, I found I love brassica's fresh from the garden. From the grocer, not so much.

I also learned to broaden my thinking about what makes content for a salad. I'll link something I logged back in May for summer plans, some of which worked and some not.

I had thought I would be able to get some summer greens, and some baby greens and with a bunch of brassica's i parched and froze get at least 4 servings a week. I didn't quite meet that goal. I could never get brassicas past the micro stage. And you have to plant a whole bunch of seed to get even a decent part of a salad from micros. I haven't given up yet on getting salad makings to the baby stage, I've just not personally achieved success yet.

Another thing to try is broccoli sprouts. I tried sprouting some in a canning jar and that was a no go. I don't have a sprouting system, and that might be needed.

I've given some thought to trying lettuce hydroponically. Though that doesn't really solve the summer heat issue. And my lights are in the garage, and while cooler than outside, still warm.

You will want to look into 'heat tolerant' lettuce varieties. Understanding that heat tolerant is relative to our northern friends. Lettuce seed will not germinate if the temps are too hot. I was germinating seed inside just fine. Then moving it out under lights in the garage and growing up to micro size just fine. I haven't figured out the soil mixture for potting up.

Oh, some heat tolerant varieties to check out: Jericho, Anuenue, Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, Red Sails. Those are just the ones I know about, and I'm a noob so hoping for others to pop in.

Oh, and make sure you add parsley to your daily mix. I've kept a flat parsley patch going all summer in partial shade and add some to just about everything.

Lately, thanks to Mark/Walli I read about the benefits of Jewels of Opar and have some of that growing. Have been snitching leaves from purslane.

Oh, and your containers don't need to be deep at all. Four inches maximum is plenty. Probably less for baby greens.

~dianne

Here is a link that might be useful: Summer Greens

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 8:32PM
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gatormomx2(9a)

Microgreens have been very popular lately.
UF has some great links on this subject.
This one has two videos that are very helpful especially the second one
called Behind The Scenes.
It shows the entire set up including soil prep and sowing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvest & Marketing: Microgreens

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 7:19AM
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Truscifi

I was thinking mostly of baby greens, but the microgreens look interesting too. Maybe a few trays of each would be good for variety. I am definitely planning on growing parsley and cilantro inside as well. I'm thinking radishes might be good too, I know they don't take much space and grow quickly, and it looks like I could harvest some early as micro greens but let the rest grow the root.

Hubby was asking about growing tomatoes inside so we have them year round - any ideas on varieties that would stay small enough to conveniently grow inside?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 12:02PM
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