Grow Greens Indoors this Winter

January can be a tough month for gardeners. Thumbing through seed catalogs is a nice diversion for a while, but then what?

Instead of using your green thumb to turn pages in a catalog, you can stretch it with a couple of easy indoor gardening projects. Each of these projects takes minutes to plant, and in a few weeks you’ll have something delicious, green and growing in your kitchen. You probably already have most of the supplies to get started today.

Garlic greensPlanting Garlic Greens

While this indoor herb planting won’t grow garlic bulbs, you’ll get several cuttings of tall greens. These greens add a delicate garlic flavor to stir fry dishes, green salads or any favorite recipe.

Materials:
Small container of potting soil
Saucer to catch excess water
Garlic cloves (old or new)

Instructions:
1. Place a paper coffee filter to cover the container hole.
2. Fill container with potting soil and add water to moisten the soil.
3. Separate the garlic into individual cloves; leave skin on.
4. Arrange the cloves in the container, planting 1-2 inches apart.
5. Push cloves into the potting soil, about 2/3rds of the way in, pointed end up.
6. Water in; place the container in a window or spot with indirect sunlight.
7. Keep soil moist and you’ll see the garlic sprout in about a week or so.

When the greens are 6 inches tall, clip and use. The cloves will keep growing for at least several more cuttings.

micro greensPlanting Micro Greens

Micro greens can be planted outside in early spring, but they can grow indoors, too. These small green leaves are tasty and nutritious when used to top green salads, sprinkled into sandwiches instead of lettuce, stirred into omelets or any other way you’d like to eat them.

Materials:
1 packet micro green mix or sprouting seeds like broccoli or pea (check with your favorite garden center, natural grocery store, or order online)
1 shallow plastic container with holes punched in the bottom (like a clear lettuce or spinach container, minus its lid)
1 tray or second container to catch any excess water
Loose, well-draining seed starting mix or potting soil
Spray bottle

Instructions:

1. Punch small holes in the bottom of the container for drainage; cover holes with paper coffee filters. Place the container on tray to catch drips.
2. Fill container with several inches of soil (about 2 or 3 inches).
3. Moisten the soil; allow excess water to drain and discard.
4. Scatter seeds over the top of the soil; cover with a thin layer of soil.
5. Use a spray bottle to moisten seeds.
6. Place container on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights placed several inches above the top of the plants.
7. Keep soil evenly moist, but not overly saturated; don’t let seeds dry out.
8. Look for seeds to sprout and grow their first leaves in about a week or two.

When plants are about 2 inches tall and have one or two more sets of leaves, use scissors to clip greens and enjoy.

Do you have an indoor gardening project that keeps you busy in winter? Please share your ideas here!

By Jodi Torpey
Denver master gardener

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