Gardeners are at high risk for developing severe cases of spring fever, which often begin with the new year. One of the best ways to prevent this problem is to plant lettuce and other salad greens indoors.
Lettuce varieties with broad, wavy leaves like Black Seeded Simpson are efficient light collectors. This is also a great project to use mesclun seed mixtures, which often include other salad greens like arugula, chicory, mustard and kale.
Start Greens Indoors:
- Collect shallow containers such as clear plastic clamshell boxes to grow baby greens indoors. Make four or more drainage holes in the bottom of planting containers using an awl or nail. Cut lids from clamshell containers to make them completely removable, but don’t throw them away. When the lids are not being used to retain moisture for germinating seeds, you can use them as trays under the containers.
- Crumble two inches of seed-starting mix into the containers. Dribble in just enough water to thoroughly dampen the mix. Close the container lid and set aside for a few hours. Stir mix lightly with a fork and dampen again.
- Scatter seeds on top of the mix about ½-inch apart. Gently press seeds into the soil’s surface. Mist with water to settle seeds in place.
- Place the planted containers on a sunny windowsill or under any bright florescent or LED light. The seeds should germinate in three to four days under normal room temperatures. Thin crowded seedlings after a week or so, and keep the planting mix lightly moist at all times.
- Keep seedlings as close as possible to lights, which should be kept on for at least 12 hours a day.
- Harvest when the baby greens are three inches tall by tilting the container slightly over a colander and using scissors to clip the plants back to 1-inch tall.
- Return the plants to lights and water. Plants will produce a second flush of greens in a few weeks.