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How to Grow Your Own Indoor Winter Salad Garden, Plus a Secret Discovery!

I am using 4 GE Plant and Aquarium 48 inch florescent tubes that are 40 watts each of energy. They are in one old 4 tube holder bought at a garage sale. The plug was wired in so I could plug it in a power bar and not have to install it wired into the ceiling. So my set up is like using four 40 watt bulbs. The holder for the grow lights is rested on its end against a wall corner on a large plastic bin , and it has a plug in wired in so I can turn it on and off easily with a power bar. The room is sunny. I use the lights a few hours a day morning and evening. See my account for a PICTURE of a small window box or kitchen counter top garden.

My garden consists of some short window boxes on tables. They cost $2 each at the Dollar Store. In those boxes I have cherry tomato plants, a cucumber plant, lettuce, beet tops, garlic, green onions, celery, parsley, spinach, dill.

Oregano, rosemary, mint grow in pots and grow like bushes all year. You can share with others by taking some clippings off the vines and rooting them in water. Now here is my discovery! It might not be new.

How To grow Beautiful Lettuce, Celery, Beet Tops, etc FAST
Buy some heads of green leaf lettuce and red lettuce and or romaine at the grocery store. Wash them and just take all the outer leaves to use for now. Wash the small tight inner hearts of the lettuce and set the root on top of some soil. Water the soil. The lettuce will start to grow fast and will stay crisp. Use the outer leaves as needed.

Buy some celery. Cut the bottom off the celery about 1/4 inch of it. Use the stalks as usual. Place the bottom you cut off on top of moist soil. In a few days the celery will begin to grow again and in a few weeks it will have a root. Take stalks off as needed and leave growing. Do the same with beet tops and carrot tops. You can also place an entire garlic bought at the store on top of soil. It will grow roots in a few days and green garlic tops for soup and salad. Use as needed and keep growing. Do not bury any of these roots or tops under the soil, just on top with a little soil around the lettuce bottoms to hold upright.

I make these winter gardens as gifts for my family. They can sit on your kitchen counter under your top cupboard with a small florescent grow light attached to the bottom of the upper cupboard. This is all the light they need. Every upper kitchen cupboard can grow a garden in a window box set at the back of the counter.

You can try for a cold frame made of old windows on the south side of the house. Lettuce and parsley will even grow in snow.

Need heat? Use solar heaters you can make yourself. You can look around You Tube for ideas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u7mstBFbrE&feature=related

If you have any new ideas I would love to hear about them!

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One last comment about the winter garden.

Keep your small window boxes light weight. Layer manure and soil, and add some perlite, vermiculite. My lettuce has been growing for weeks now and is still vibrant green and very crisp, and good tasting. Even the endive is growing. The celery just keeps growing even faster than it does outdoors. The beet leaves keep growing. So does the garlic head I set on top of the soil. You need a number of heads of lettuce if you are going to take the outer leaves off all the time. I have 8 lettuce of different varieties and will probably experiment with more. You can place as many as 5 lettuce in a small window box.

Since the boxes are light weight move them around if necessary to catch the sun. Place outdoors in the sun if temperature permits. It is still warm enough in north west Ontario for the boxes to set outside for part of the day. I have seen Lettuce and parsley still growing in early snow.

Good luck with your own winter garden. Would love to hear how you do with it.
Always interested in new ideas.

Sounds good but unfortunately flawed.

You may get large, beautiful produce growing indoors with simulated environment, but the reality is that without the actual photosynthetic properties of the sun interacting with the plants, the nutrient value of the food is severely denatured and diminished. Just fact, sorry. The only viable option is outdoor greenhouse with no roof, or a retractable roof that can be positioned to cover after the sunlight passes for nighttime protection from cold.


Thanks for the advice!

My winter garden is in a porch that has large wall size windows on three sides. I guess it is like a green house without the glass roof. Better outdoors, but it is the best I can do for the winter in northern Canada.

For others who are doing the small window box gardens these boxes are so light (mix in manure, perlite, vermiculite with the soil) and the boxes can be carried around to place anywhere that gets sunlight, even OUTDOORS if temperature allows!

It is not the same as plants grown outdoors, but you have the joy of watching them grow! I have been using my indoor herbs for years for tea and seasoning. They are fragrant and the parsley is fragrant and dark green. I am enjoying my very green lettuce leaves, but will now try to get them more sunlight outdoors! Very good observation about photosynthesis.

We are all here to learn. Thanks for the information. Thinking about my porch roof... :)

Sounds like you still have a great set-up considering your site!

Best wishes to you.


Add some greenhouse gasses

to promote growth. CO2 is a great one, if you flood your vegetables, fruits with co2 in the early to late morning they grow even better and faster.
Especially strawberries, they can get 50% larger.
I use the bottled co2 that is also used for welding, make sure it is pure co2 and not a mix.
Another source is dry ice, just make sure you not freeze your plants to death.

Wow! This makes so much sense.

Thank you for this great idea! Now I am planning to get bottled CO2 and dry ice asap.

My veggie garden is sitting in a room among other very old very BIG plants that have been growing for years, some handed down from my mother that were there even when I was a child. I guess they give off their own CO2 at night and this might be part of the reason my veggies are doing so well.

Never thought of it until you mentioned it.

Great but use it very carefully.

CO2 is heavier then air and it will accumulate quickly driving out oxygen.
If you have a small child be very aware of this.
Small animals, like cats and dogs can be a victim also.
I use it in a kind of 'greenhouse', that is completely locked.
After the morning it is ventilated with fans to disperse the CO2 quickly.

If ever someone breaths in this co2 it will stay in the lower part of the lungs, you need to 'stand on your head' to let it flow out quickly. Just make sure it will never happen by locking the area.

OK will be very careful. The area

is a porch that is away from the main living area. It has a fan and window door ventilation. Will experiment.

CO2 might not be for everyone, if the garden is on the kitchen counter under the top cupboards or other living area. My gardens have been doing really well even without CO2. But I like to experiment so will try CO2.

My question is...

What about those lights - tell me they do not off gas mercury vapor?

Thanks for pointing that out!

Just read the side panel and it says "lamp contains mercury". My light is only on morning and evening. But I still prefer to be cautious.

Does the tube give off mercury vapor? Side panel says caution with tube disposal.

Will look for something different on replacing the tubes.

Appreciate any advice you might have re a better tube to buy.

Mind If you

Post some pictures?

"Truth is Treason in an Empire that lies" - Ron Paul

Educate the masses, and win in the end.

Go to my account.

There is a picture there of one 16 x 6.5 x 6 inch window box with 3 lettuce, 1 celery in back left corner, 1 garlic, 2 parsley plants, 2 beets tops with leaves. It would fit at the back of a kitchen counter with a florescent grow light attached to the bottom of the upper cupboard. It is light enough to move around to catch the sun. If you use up all the lettuce just buy another one from the store and plant it again. Always fresh. You need lots of lettuce plants so you can take off a few leaves at a time from each plant.

The lettuce and beet leaves have no root. They just grow by drawing water and nutrients from the soil through the flat cut off root left on the plant. I cannot explain that. Maybe someone else can? The celery and garlic have a root that grew quickly.

I will try to get more pictures.

I was planning a greenhouse over the septic tank.

It's warm there all winter.

Free includes debt-free!

Questions and a few suggestions

Are you saying the grocery store lettuce, typically sold cut off from the roots, will regrow roots? You are explicit about the celery growing new roots but I'm doubting the lettuce. I have seen butterhead lettuce sold in my grocery in special containers with roots intact, and I've worked with that, but I am having a harder time imagining cut lettuce heads sprouting roots. I can try, but I'd prefer to get clarity from you before I try too hard!

Now here are some suggestions from my own experience. Let me start by saying I'm in a zone "9" which means winter temperatures bounce around freezing, sometimes going below, but don't generally go below 24 degrees F on the coldest days.

With that scenario, I've been able to use agribon fabric on raised/ framed beds and grow all manner of things -- lots of lettuce, broccoli, chard, radishes, carrots, beets, peas (lots and lots of peas), onions, and many many more all the way through winter. The agribon raises temperatures inside the beds probably 8 degrees and keeps off the worst of the hard freezes. Some of these plants actually make it okay without agribon, but they still benefit from the slightly raised temperatures. To support the agribon I settled on making my raised beds 3' x 4' which allows me to neatly buy a stock metal concrete mesh from home depot at minimal price and, with almost no work, bend it over the raised bed frame to form a sort of low tunnel to which I can easily secure the stock agribon against even high wind storms. This gives extra growing room, too, for things like peas which want to grow and spread. I have a variety of tomato which seems hardened somewhat to the climate and, especially when I find a microclimate area to add further winter protection, it typically gives tomatoes until, at least, January. Then I find beets and pomegranate seeds (which I harvested in November/ early Dec) pretty well provide that sweet/ tart sparkle to the salad very well.

When I look around my community and see little but dead/dormant vegetation in the winter. Then I come home and my whole yard is growing in riotous color like madness in the spring. And the food! Oh. My. God. Nearly all my veggies come from my own garden, all winter, with exceptional taste and the knowledge that they are wholesome. Then I drive around the community again, looking at all the drabness and defeat, and I just have to shake my head. Ignorance isn't bliss. With food, as with governance, it just isn't remotely true that we can't do vastly better.

Bill of Rights /Amendment X: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Do you need a politician or judge to "interpret" those 28

Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

I am going to try some of your methods! I am copying and saving your post.

Yes the lettuce from the store grows and is crisp and it does NOT grow a root. It just seems to draw up the nutrients from the soil and water it is sitting in. It has been weeks and still no roots. You can also keep lettuce a long time in the fridge by just sitting the root in water and covering loosely with a plastic bag with some air holes. A beet top does not make a root; just grows new leaves by sitting on the soil. Maybe in time there will be roots, but not yet on my plants.

Celery and garlic make a root quickly.
Click on my account for a picture of a small window box.

Try it, you might be suprised. Re-rooting the head, that is.

Dad grows figs north of the 42 parallel.

Free includes debt-free!

What a great post!!!

This is incredibly beneficial information and will be trying myself. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

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It is amazing how easy and how little space you need

Also the taste of home grown veggies is incredible.

Your kids may even eat them.

These little gardens with a small

florescent grow light make nice gifts.

Throw some fish in the loop!

You nearly have an aquaponics system already.
Great post!

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Something to think about.

Not sure how it works because the lettuce does not grow a new root, but leaves grows. It must suck up the water and nutrients by capillary action.


Wish I had the room--

We have a cold frame and in a northern climate are still getting some greens--

but I don't have room for anything you mention in a sunny room; we have a . . . um . . . small home-- :)

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

My entire winter garden fits on a 6 ft by 30 in fold up table.

A head of Romaine lettuce will grow even in a small 4 inch pot, because it does not get a root. It just sucks up the water and nutrients through the bottom of the lettuce plant. Amazing how little soil it needs! Just set it on top of the soil and keep the soil moist. I have my plants crowded in boxes that are only about 16 in by 6.5 in by 6 in deep. I can fill that with about 4 or 5 lettuce plants from the store.

I crowd in parsley, lettuce, onion, beet tops, carrot tops, celery all in one little box. For some reason it just grows. If you have a kitchen counter you can put the box on the back of the counter and attach a small florescent grow light to the bottom of the cupboards. That is all they need to grow! And it is fun watching them grow!


maybe we'll try again another time--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--


They cost $2 each at the Dollar Store.

Regarding Palin: I believe we are watching in real time the rise of the third party, which will be controlled by the powers that be from its' inception.

Next Scam: "Cash For Cash"


When I was a kid,

the Five and Dime stores had become a lot more than that. That's how I learned about inflation.

Now the Dollar Stores are selling

cheap and not increasing their prices.

Now the Dollar Stores are selling

junk. Buyer beware.
I have just planted 1 celery bottom, 5 carrot tops and 1 romaine lettuce heart. Thanks for the info. We'll see how it goes, or grows, as the case may be! ;)

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!"
- Howard Beale

I am a penny pincher !

Old Scottish saying. " Waste not, want not".

Step by step

1. First decide what kind of salad you want. Cobb salad, Caesar salad, macaroni salad, whatever.

2. Buy that kind of seeds. My favourite is mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette with capers and shredded carrot with just a hint of fresh ground black pepper.

3. Grow them until the plastic bag fully encloses your whole salad.

4. Grab one, place in refrigerator, remove from refrigerator, open bag, serve and enjoy!

That's how it works right?


Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.