Winter salads – top tips for growing organic salads indoors
If you’ve enjoyed growing your own fresh organic food this summer, don’t be fooled into thinking it has to stop over the winter. You can keep your household in organic salads and greens without venturing outside. Not only are they easy to grow indoors, but they will sprout and keep you in healthy vitamins within weeks of sowing. Here’s how:
Pick your spot
- Find a windowsill that offers at least 6 hours of light a day. Sunshine optional!
Choose your container
- Any rigid plastic tub or pot will do. If you don’t have any plant pots, reused margarine or yoghurt pots and supermarket fruit trays are great options – even cut down drinks and milk bottles. But be sure to make drainage holes in the bottom. And stand pots in a tray or on a plate to catch excess water, so your windowsill doesn’t get stained.
How to sow
- Use either organic peat-free seed compost or your own loam (soil). If you are using the latter, it can help to sterilise it first by baking it for 20 mins in a high oven. That will get rid of any weed seeds which will compete with your seedlings. You don’t need to add any homemade compost, but if your loam is very heavy and dense, mix it with some sand or grit.
- Sieve the mixture into the pot, so there are no large lumps, and it is about ¾ full. Firm down the compost gently, and water it enough to make it moist all the way through.
- Now sow/scatter your seeds on top. Cover lightly with potting compost and water gently once more. Visit our Six steps to successful seed growing here.
What to grow
Try the following, to add zip to your salad plate:
- Mizuna, rocket, cress, winter purslane, corn salad, or mustards such as Green in Snow, Winter Red and Golden Frills.
- Any lettuces, but especially the ‘cut and come again’ varieties.
- Beetroot, kale and other brassicas. You can harvest these as baby leaves.
- Coriander. If you have organic coriander seeds in your spice cupboard (they are usually lighter in colour) you may be able to sow these. Non-organic seeds are probably coated and suitable for cooking not sowing.
- Dried peas - these will grow into delicious pea shoots
Sprouting involves nothing more than a jar, water and seeds. Once the latter has been soaked for a while and washed, they will sprout, so that both shoots and seed provide a nutritious combination. Here’s the best way:
We recommend sprouting from beans of any sort, chickpeas, alfalfa, brown lentils.