Growing Greens Indoors on a Budget – Yes You Can! And Sprouting, Too!
By Cdin Sky & CiCi Ellienne : )
Get your dark leafy greens all year round right from your own indoor container garden! You can SAVE MONEY, GET ORGANIC, NUTRITIOUS, DELICIOUS FRESH GREENS ALL YEAR ROUND FOR PENNIES!
Fun and beautiful, too. : )
Growing greens inside a home is actually quite easy. Any 6 inch tall container will do. Even shorter! I like to stick with the 6 inch height if possible. If you water carefully, you don’t even need holes or pebbles at the bottom!
Simplicity is the order of the day. : )
Why Listen to Me?
That’s a good question. Who am I? Some super expert plant and soil scientist? No, not at all. I’m just a little maniac who loves to play with soil and growing plants and seeds because it’s so inherent in my native construction. You see, when little plants sprout and grow, my heart just soars with love and affection. And, the scientific part of me attempts newer and better methods of growing for the sheer joy of refining, defining and purifying these methods until they’re SO SIMPLE a baby can do it!
That means the world can grow and eat just the best stuff on Earth with a modicum of loving effort and care.
I also love the idea of low water usage gardening. Pure water is becoming a very precious commodity indeed. Finally, there’s the wonder of the Circle of Life…
The Circle of Life
With a few, dear, sweet and lovely little red or earthworms, lovely homemade compost, a little fresh water, light and love, your leftovers and juice pressings can be turned into lovely food for the worms who turn it into nutritious soil for plants who turn into food for lovely you with the sweetest and loveliest poops in the world! Round and round it goes. As God and Nature intended.
I have discovered that growing food indoors in containers is amazingly doable whether you live in a room, apartment, motor home, anywhere! Access to a little sunlight with some nice little full spectrum lights or florescents can provide all the lighting necessary.
You can use almost anything for your pots and grow containers. Rubbermaid containers, pots and pans, tupperware, glassware, any container that won’t leach out any lead or heavy metals. Why, you can grow in plastic food tubs and soda cups. (Throw out the processed foods and soda of course. : ) And of course if you’re aesthetically and financially inclined, a window sill box either bought or homemade are lovely things indeed.
Do you have a patio, deck or outdoor space? Great! Beautiful lush greenery and flowers lift the spirits and grace your world with warmth, serenity, peace and beauty. Make a little fountain with an aquarium pump… heaven above! But! I digress! Forgive?
I like individual containers that can be moved. Eventually, one might get a rolley cart that can travel from window to window, out to patio, wherever, to avail all the outdoor light possible. But, that’s a luxury, isn’t it?
When i make a million zillion dollars, perhaps i will get one! Or two! Just to experiment some more. : )
A nice, basic potting soil is fine. Eventually, you may want to compost (another amazingly easy and simple thing to do requiring no special materials other than a bucket and a little soil from the backyard. Those juice pressings can turn into magnificent, beautiful soil quick as pie! : ) (Ask me for instructions on that)
General use, easy draining light soil designed for pots works best. No special soils needed! One can procure a nice, organic full spectrum all purpose fertilizer that has the vital basic nutrients and trace minerals. A favorite of mine and many gardeners is kelp concentrate . A little goes a long way – a few drop around the edges of the pot ever so often with the usual watering and that’s it! And Micorrhizaes are very nice to add.They’ll help your little greens have resistance and strength like sturdy little Popeyes. : )
Greens like something like a 20 10 10 fertilizer mix. The first number is nitrogen. More nitrogen for greens.
I have used an eigth teaspoon of organic molasses for minerals in the starter water if I don’t have kelp concentrate. I have even been known to add a vitamin, trace mineral and general mineral tablet to soil makings just because. Not too much or sweet aphids will love you and the greens to pieces.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s amazing what versatility of method green growing can endure and thrive with.
So… you will fill your moistened soil into your pot up to an inch or so from the top of the container. I mix the soil first like a cake batter in a mixing bowl so every bit has a nice moist texture. Then, I add the soil half way if I’m using pre-started baby plants, adding soil around the little baby plant and gently tamping down with my finger or a spoon.
Someday when you have loads of time and/or money you can make your own soil. Ask me about that…
The thick, plastic picnic tableware from Ikea is perfect for the garden! Only $2.99 and I donate all the pieces i don’t use. They last a lifetime. BUT… any flatware tableware wil do! A little fork and spoon are perfect. i like the little seafood forks if i have.
If I’m starting from pre-sprouted seed, I simple stick a finger into the soil and plant the little darling kerplunk. Then i cover him snugly, pressing the soil gently so he has a snuggy place to plant his little rooty feet.
Keep the soil lightly moistened at all times. To save water, you can lightly cover the exposed “ground” with plastic or mulch if you wish. I have used decorative rocks, pebbles and little Star Wars and Transformers figurines… :O
A little water goes a long way. On rare occasion, I use my little fork to gently prod the soil to keep it a tiny bit fluff on the surface. If there are little squiggly friends (worms), i make sure to take extra special care. They’re so precious.
Self Watering Containers You Can Make Yourself
Yes they can be quite lovely and wonderful. But not necessary when one is on a budget. When one can easily afford, they make a nice addition to an indoor garden. But i’ve found the fancier and more complicated, the more THINKING. No no… simple and easy for me please. :
* IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT WORMS *
Did you know worms are a feeling, loving bunch of characters? Yes, indeed! They take utter delight in making love and having children. Truly God endowed them with the ability to feel pleasure, as he imparted to ALL living creatures. And they’re sweet and odorless predigestive poopies turn soil into the most delectable nutritional yummies for plants. What a gift they are!
If at ALL possible, when discarding any soil, take the time to set your worms free where there will be moisture. A shady spot where they can tunnel under a tree or building so as to live long and prosper. : )
Keep your soil and compost moist at all times. These precious little girls and guys would appreciate it so much as drying out isn’t fun to do…
Place your babies on the window sill or beneath your grow lightbulbs. You can use florescent bulbs as well. I enjoy the grow lightbulbs because they add a nice warmth during winter weather, but compact florescents are fine and cheap to run. 1 or 2 60 watters do nicely for small green sill gardens, especially when combined with the lovely light of day through windows or glass doors. 2 or 3 compact florescents work well for several pots close together.
One can place several tiers of plants on little shelves in front of a window. Lovely!
You can turn off your lights at night. Does it get super cold? You can put a piece of plastic or a blanket over your babies using some tall pots or water bottles for the necessary elevation. In the morning when you uncover them, they chirp with delight!
Well, maybe YOU chirp with loving delight. : ) AND – Send so much LOVE in their direction… YES! Talking to them does work although your relatives might send white coats to take you away…
Lighting and Tin Foil Hats and Mats
Using Tin foil for reflection can maximize lighting benefits. Wash your tinfoil and reuse to be environmentally friendly.
The easiest and best way to sprout seeds is to soak them 24 hours in a little spring water. After soaking, you can snuggle them in a moist paper towel or moist brown paper from a paper bag in a nice warm and dark little place. They should start to sprout within 48 hours. Once you see their little white tails, you can pop your babies into the soil and cover them with 1/3 to 1/5 inch of soil.
No need to pack the soil too hard. Just a light tapdown will do. Nighty night, sweet seedling!
Space your seedlings 3 to a 6 inch round pot for greens. Nice, compact, condensed to maximize light and space usage. You will harvest when they are preteens which is ideal for taste and convenience. They don’t mind! Their energy is infinitely lovable for edible.
Eventually, if you’re growing heirloom, (a wonderful and best thing to do!) you can let some babies go to seed. It’s so fun to do this! I collect the seeds and sprout them… amazing beyond belief. They are your grandchildren…
I used to send out heirloom seeds for free. Perhaps someday i’ll be able to do that again. : ) Regular seeds are just fine to start with.
What Type of Seeds?
Any lettuces will do. AND – don’t forget about growing wheat, kamut, barley, oat and rye grass! Juice your grass and life is wonderful! Later, you can grow mini tomatoes, peppers, almost anything.
I propose a new law… Every living abode MUST have GREAT BIG WINDOWS. Period. Then we can grow anything and everything easily.
Be Aware of These Seeds – No Nos
Buckwheat sprouts are to be avoided as they contain substances which can cause light sensitivity and other problems in larger quantities.
Legume sprouts – i avoid these because my body simply doesn’t like them. But, many people love them and have no problem. Their sprout soaking water can contain anti-nutrient substances to be avoided. It’s best to throw away the water if you do sprout legumes and lentils. My plants don’t like legumous sprout water. That tells me a lot! : )
But truly – you have to do fairly large amounts to have repurcussions. My body talks to me and lets me know its no-nos.
While young, harvest the leaves from the outside leaving the inner leaves to continue growing. Space the seeding and planting of your greens two weeks apart so you can have a constant supply.
You can grow herbs such as thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary and cilantro for yummy flavor. i have a mini Rosemary tree. He’s like a little Bonsai… adorable.
Amount of Greens You’ll Get
Of course the more containers, the more greens. One can use greens as a supplement to their diet. If they want substantial harvests, they will have to use more containers! Instead of beautiful houseplants, grow beautiful veggie plants!
Start small. As you gain confidence and experience, the sky’s the limit! Beautiful greens everywhere – by every window. You’ll discover who loves what, and where. Experiment! Have fun! And when things don’t seem to go right, keep going! There’s always that pesky little dusk before the dawn…
PS: i LOVE dusk…
Little Buggy Pests
Perhaps you’ll find a few uninvited guests. Or, perhaps a bit of mildew. No matter! Wipe away the little guys with your fingers, (send them lovingly to Buggy heaven – sorry all life lovers!). For anything resembling mildew, Restart your pot with new soil. You can bake your soil to purify. Make sure you remove all little earthworms if you have them. Mildew or mold can mean you’re babies are being overwatered.
Put a lovely chair by your indoor garden and make lovely dual use of your grow lights. If your window is fairly bright, you may not even need ANY grow lights.
What did i miss? A million things? Just message me and i’ll try to answer best i can.
LOVE to YOU!!!
Happy Growing and Glowing!
i have tons more suggestions – like Rainbow Swiss Chard grows like a maniac ALL YEAR ROUND just be generous with the nutrients, etc…
oh gee… i could make the 30,000 pages long…