Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 Days

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I’m a lot of things. Some of those include: A backyard gardener. Impatient. Living in one of the worst droughts in California history. Impatient. A book worm. Oh, yeah, and impatient!
I contacted Chelsea Green Publishing (click here to check them out!) after discovering them through the National Heirloom Exposition. Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is recognized as a leading publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living. They publish authors who bring in-depth, practical knowledge to life, and give readers hands-on information related to organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and much much more!
Chelsea Green Publishing has over 350 books in print and many more on the way, and each book looks like a useful, worthy and edifying read. As an avid book reader and reviewer (as you all well know!) I was impatient (see, I told you it’s a major trait!) to review something, ANYTHING from this awesome publishing company.
I literally sent them an e-mail asking to review ANYTHING they sent me. (Of the dozens of publishing companies I’ve worked with in reviews before, I have NEVER done that before!) And they recommended Year Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke.
I was stupid excited to review this book, and would have thought the company has some kind of creepy mind reading powers on what book I’d most like to review if I didn’t want to review Every. Single. One. Of. Their. Books. Haha! Seriously guys, check this company out!
But anyway, on with the review!

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About the Book

Book description from amazon.com (click here to buy!):
The Low-Tech, No-Grow-Lights Approach to Abundant Harvest
Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers good news: with nothing more than a cupboard and a windowsill, you can grow all the fresh salad greens you need for the winter months (or throughout the entire year) with no lights, no pumps, and no greenhouse.
Longtime gardener Peter Burke was tired of the growing season ending with the first frost, but due to his busy work schedule and family life, didn’t have the time or interest in high-input grow lights or greenhouses. Most techniques for growing what are commonly referred to as “microgreens” left him feeling overwhelmed and uninterested. There had to be a simpler way to grow greens for his family indoors. After some research and diligent experimenting, Burke discovered he was right―there was a way! And it was even easier than he ever could have hoped, and the greens more nutrient packed. He didn’t even need a south-facing window, and he already had most of the needed supplies just sitting in his pantry. The result: healthy, homegrown salad greens at a fraction of the cost of buying them at the market. The secret: start them in the dark.
Growing “Soil Sprouts”―Burke’s own descriptive term for sprouted seeds grown in soil as opposed to in jars―employs a method that encourages a long stem without expansive roots, and provides delicious salad greens in just seven to ten days, way earlier than any other method, with much less work. Indeed, of all the ways to grow immature greens, this is the easiest and most productive technique. Forget about grow lights and heat lamps!  This book is a revolutionary and inviting guide for both first-time and experienced gardeners in rural or urban environments. All you need is a windowsill or two. In fact, Burke has grown up to six pounds of greens per day using just the windowsills in his kitchen! Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening offers detailed step-by-step instructions to mastering this method (hint: it’s impossible not to succeed, it’s so easy!), tools and accessories to have on hand, seeds and greens varieties, soil and compost, trays and planters, shelving, harvest and storage, recipes, scaling up to serve local markets, and much more.

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My Thoughts on the Book

This book came with impeccable timing, arriving in the fall after a less than successful drought ridden California summer. It’s now autumn and my thirsty garden of blighted tomatoes and rodent plagued greens had left me feeling a bit brown in the thumb if you know what I mean.
I’m told that it was a hard summer for ALL backyard gardeners in the Central Valley, which makes me feel less horrible, but STILL. As an avid supporter of urban farming, I was feeling super down about having to put the garden to bed for the winter with my shamefully small veggie haul.
So a chance to grow a greens crop – or rather, multiple crops – inside, in the winter, year round, and in less than two weeks? SAY WHAT?!?!? Color me intrigued!
So let’s just jump right in, yeah? Does it work?? Ummm,,, YES!!
This is so ridiculously easy it seemed like there HAD to be some kind of “catch”. As I read the book cover to cover, I kept thinking, “Where’s the hard part? It’s CAN’T be this easy!”
This method is just perfect for me too. While lots of light isn’t a requirement for this method, it helps, and I have tons of windows in my house, and lots of windowsill space in my kitchen and dining room.

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The big problem I have are the cats who like to eat ANYTHING I grow indoors. I have laid many a houseplant to rest after being nommed by one of our furry babies. So after doing what Mr. Burke says not to do, and jumping right in buying 5 pound bags of seed, I held my breath in the six days of windowsill time the trays enjoyed, and amazingly enough the cats DID NOT eat my sprouts! WE’RE A GO! Haha.
So for my first round of sprouts, I tried organic red clover, black oil sunflower seeds and pea shoots. I kept hovering over the cupboard, anxious to check and see if the sprouts were pushing up the wet newspaper, and my husband kept catching me in the act, telling me to “have faith and let it do it’s thing”. Stinkin’ patient man husband.
I used baking trays from the Dollar Store, but I intend to make some cedar plank trays since they’ll be far prettier for the windowsill and I have a feeling these babies will be out and about A LOT over the fall and winter! We made an all green salad once the ten days were up, and the three trays made a good dinner salad for the hubby and I. I think I’ll plant five trays next time, and keep a three to four day rotation up to keep my family in side and dinner salads over the winter.
Mr. Burke kept stressing throughout the book that you can’t mess this up.. and that is so so SO very true. After harvesting my sprouts, I chucked the baking tins into my garage since we were going out of town and I wouldn’t be doing another batch for a week or so. When I came back, not only had some of the pea shoots regrown, but tons of the red clover late bloomers had regrown the ENTIRE tray.. while sitting in a rubbish heap in my garage!

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This book, along with some starter trays and seed packets, would make an EXCELLENT Christmas gift! Check it out!

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Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls.

Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Gingi Freeman

Gingi is a photographer, cosplayer, amateur chef, crazy cat lady, anime otaku, bookworm, generic geek, world traveler, conservative Christian, homeschooler, devoted military wife and stay at home new mother of two little girls. Gingi blogs about anything and everything that is relevant to being a supermom, stay at home wife, homeschooler and geek girl! You can contact her at gingifreeman@gmail.com or via the contact form on her website at www.domesticgeekgirl.com

36 thoughts on “Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 Days

  • 12 November, 2015 at 11:23 pm
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    your kitchen makes me want to cry! look at those windows! the sprouts look lovely, too 🙂 i have been meaning to grow sprouts in our kitchen for a while now.. perhaps this will be the year! thanks for the inspiration!

    • 13 November, 2015 at 4:47 pm
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      LOL, I am sooooo in love with my kitchen it’s sad.. it’s the whole reason we bought this house, haha! Post pics if you do try growing sprouts!! I’d love to see!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 12:31 am
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    Love this idea! Must look into it. Thanks!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 2:30 am
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    I’m so intrigued by this! I’m definitely saving this post 🙂

    • 13 November, 2015 at 4:50 pm
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      <3

    • 13 November, 2015 at 4:51 pm
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      Yeah, these are stupid easy to grow!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 8:32 am
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    Beautiful post and lovely pictures!!
    Have a lovely weekend:)
    Rosanna x

  • 13 November, 2015 at 12:45 pm
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    I think having something sprouting and growing during the winter months is very hopeful and inspiring. Winter can feel long and dark, so I love the idea of creating life during this long “wait” for spring.

    • 13 November, 2015 at 4:52 pm
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      Yeah, it’s a feel good project.. good for the soul and good for your tummy! haha

  • 13 November, 2015 at 5:32 pm
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    Not known for my green fingers, I tend to quickly kill anything that isn’t a cacti or some kind of succulent.

    That said I did try my hand at some indoor herbs which did do quite well until our cats (sadly no longer with us) discovered them and not knowing if they were toxic to cats or not I threw them out.

    • 16 November, 2015 at 1:58 am
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      I usually research everything that I bring into my house to make sure it’s not toxic to my cats.. they like to eat EVERYTHING!!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 6:36 pm
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    Your sprouts are adorable. Is it bad I just want to chomp on them? I would love this as a Christmas gift. Hint Hint Tom!!!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 6:53 pm
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    Well to be able to see something growing is so good for the soul …
    Herbs can also be grown indoors to be used in many recipe ideas, and interesting to read your review about the indoor salad garden.

    Hope you have a good weekend

    All the best Jan

    • 16 November, 2015 at 1:59 am
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      I actually don’t have as much luck with herbs.. no idea why! But these sprouts are hard to get wrong!

  • 13 November, 2015 at 9:01 pm
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    Wow it looks like you have a green thumb Gingi! I could never grow something even the grass for out indoor cat)) But, my mother in law is super gardener so I might suggest it to her)

  • 15 November, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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    I used to grow my own sprouts too, until my cat came along 🙁 Also, during winter we don’t get much sunlight indoors. searching for a solution to this.

    xoxo – Style.. A Pastiche

    • 16 November, 2015 at 1:59 am
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      If I had to choose sprouts or cats, I’d choose cats.. haha.. luckily they appear to be coexisting for the moment! lol!

  • 16 November, 2015 at 1:04 am
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    You and your red clover. I love it! And I love the photos and how easy you make this seem. I had no idea.

    • 16 November, 2015 at 3:28 pm
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      LOL, I know, I love that plant so hard!! 😉

  • 16 November, 2015 at 3:08 pm
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    Look at your windows!! I love them! I have some good, high windows in my dining room. If the cat on the carpet is any indication, they get some good sunlight too. I normally have a brown thumb, but if this is as easy as you say it is, I might give it a go!

    • 16 November, 2015 at 3:29 pm
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      I know, I LOOOOOVE my kitchen windows!!! <3

  • 16 November, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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    very beautiful plants
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  • 17 November, 2015 at 12:08 am
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    This makes me want to get back into sprouting, thanks! And this book is a perfect gift for family.

  • 23 December, 2015 at 11:39 am
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    Nice idea. I’ts a worthwhile read. It love your idea of a indoor garden. It lightens the mood inside your home.

  • 24 January, 2016 at 12:53 am
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    What was your source for seed? I haven’t seen 5# bags anywhere. Thanks and LOVE your post!

    • 24 January, 2016 at 11:53 am
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      I found all of my seed at amazon.com, I have a Prime membership and was able to find some organic seed to work with!

  • 30 January, 2016 at 2:37 pm
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    These are awesome pictures. I am like you – super impatient – but these trays with the chalk labels look ADORABLE! I love it!!!

  • 13 February, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    I LOVE this idea. I’m going to get the book. As I write this I’m sitting inside in frigid CT so an indoor sprout garden would make a lot of sense. Thank you.

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