Indoor Salad Garden
7 Steps to Never-Ending Greens with No Special Equipment
Even if you don’t have a garden space, you can grow a wide variety of lush, edible greens in your own Secret Salad Garden, indoors. You DON’T need to invest in special shelves, trays, racks, fertilizer, or lighting.
You can use simple, everyday items you probably already have around the house to grow a never-ending supply of greens.
Approach your indoor garden as a system rather than a one-time experiment and once you have implemented it, minimal daily maintenance – around 5 minutes – will keep your salad bowl full.
You will also have greens for tacos, sandwiches, stir fries, and to add any every meal you desire.
Watch the video ~ I walk you through the system, step by easy step! It is so simple and organized anyone can do it.
Click the pink button below to print the Supply List and 7-Step Guide.
Indoor Salad Garden Supply List
Before you begin: gather these supplies
- 4 small jars (baby food size or half-pint)
- Measuring spoons
- Small strainer
- 20-30 shallow soup bowls, depending on size of family and desired harvest
- Quality, organic potting soil (I use Happy Frog)
- Something to scoop soil, such as a sturdy 1-cup measuring cup
- 2-4 gallon-size containers or Ziploc bags
- Spoon, a regular spoon from your silverware set
- Old seed catalog, newspapers, paper towels, or napkins
- Wide, shallow bowl or 9×9 inch (23 cm) glass baking pan
- Water can with a narrow spout
- Small dot stickers, optional, + a pen
- Seeds (pea, sunflower, buckwheat, and radish; see list below)
- Jars of appropriates size to hold seeds
- Salad spinner, optional
- Window with a ledge wide enough to safely hold the bowls
- Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke, optional and highly recommended
- Azure Standard (my affiliate link; qualifying purchases help me earn credit toward a future order)
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- Sprout People
- High Mowing Seeds
- Starwest Botanicals
Transfer your seeds to jars with lids for ease of use.
Fill the gallon-size containers or Ziploc bags with potting soil. Add 3 cups of water, then cover with lids or zip to seal. Turn the containers a few times over the next few hours to evenly moisten the soil.
Now that you have gathered your supplies, give them a home. I use a drawer and cupboard in my antique hutch in the living room. You can use a cupboard in your utility room, a shelf in the family room, or a plastic storage bin.
Clear out a shelf or two in a cupboard to place your bowls once they are planted. More on that in Step 4.
Indoor Salad Garden: 7 Step Guide
Step 1 Soak seeds
We start with the easiest seeds to grow that will produce a reliable crop of greens in your indoor salad garden. Measure a tablespoon of one kind of seeds and place them in a small jar. Add water to fill, stir, and soak 6-24 hours at room temperature.
Step 2 Prepare paper caps
Tear off 2 pages of an old seed catalog (one with soft newsprint-type of paper, not a glossy one). Fold the paper into a shape that will fit the bowl and come up the sides to cover the surface of the soil and the seeds. Paper acts as the top layer of soil. Prepare four caps, one for each planting bowl. Place folded caps in a dish of water to soak.
Step 3 Sow seeds, place in the dark
Scoop pre-moistened potting soil into a soup bowl and gently pat it down, smoothing the surface to create an even surface for planting. Soil should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Repeat for remaining three bowls.
Rinse seeds, one kind at a time, in small strainer. Invert the strainer over the prepared planting bowl, and tap to dislodge seeds. Use fingers or the back of a small spoon to spread the seeds out evenly. It’s okay if they are crowded, but they shouldn’t be stacked on top of each other. Do not cover the seeds with soil. Do not add water.
Lift a paper cap from the water dish, let it drip back into the dish, then place it on the planted bowl right on top of the seeds. Press it in gently to allow the edges of the paper to come up the sides of then bowl. Repeat for remaining three bowls.
Optional: write today’s date on a dot sticker and place it on the pea bowl for reference.
Place all four planted bowls in a dark cupboard for 3-5 days.
Step 4 Move bowls to a window
When the seeds have sprouted and grown shoots 1-2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm) tall, move the bowls to a window. It does not need to be south-facing. Any window with a ledge wide enough to hold the bowls and light coming in will do. All four bowls may be ready the same day, or they may not. Check your cupboard daily and move them as they are ready.
Step 5 Water daily
Fill a watering can with a narrow spout with water and water the planting bowls daily. Average size soup bowls will need about 2-4 tablespoons of water each day.
Step 6 Harvest and eat
Brush your hand over the buckwheat and sunflower shoots to dislodge hulls. Pick off any that remain.
When shoots are 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall, they are ready to pick. Harvest before the shoots grow a second set of leaves – except for the peas, which will have multiple leaves and possibly curly tendrils.
Gather the greens in a bundle with your non-dominant hand and use clean scissors to snip the shoots off close to the soil. Place cut greens in salad spinner basket, if you have one, and wash with clean, cool water. Spin dry (or towel dry) and they are ready to eat!
Peas give 2-3 harvests, successively smaller each time, before the plants give out. The others are single harvest plants. Feed the root wad to chickens, ducks, rabbits, sheep, or the compost pile.
Step 7 Repeat
The beauty of this system is that it is duplicatable. You can keep soaking, sowing, growing, and harvesting greens as long as you want, as much as you want.
If you want larger harvests, plant more bowls. If you want a more continuous daily harvest, plant fewer bowls but more often.
For example, when our children were living at home, I planted 5-8 bowls every other day. Now with just two of us, I plant 6 bowls 2-3 times a week.
You can supply your household with its entire quota of fresh greens year-round or use this system to fill in when your outdoor garden is not producing.
6 Helpful tips
- Watch my video tutorial where I walk you through the process multiple times if needed. Use the time stamps in the video description and in the pinned comment below the video to help you locate the information you need.
- Print the Supply List and 7-Step Guide using the pink button above.
- Gather all the supplies before you start.
- Get a copy of the book Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke.
- Keep planting and keep harvesting!
- See examples of incorporating greens into meals here, here, here, and here.
Happy gardening! May your harvest be bountiful!