Grow Winter Greens with Indoor Lettuce and Radish

Growing baby greens indoors during winter can stave off seasonal blues while giving cut-and-come-again harvests.

Reader Contribution by Dave Bentz
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by Nebraska Dave Bentz
Lettuce ready for transplanting.

It’s always a sad day when the first hard frost comes to the gardens and ends the year’s gardening. In 2021, this meant early November. The joy of November is that it’s the start of seed catalogs arriving almost daily. When the hustle and bustle of the holidays slow, it’s time to start planning, scanning seed catalogs, and ordering new trials and old standard seeds. It’s very satisfying to see that some things are still as they should be.

However, I can’t just sit and wish for springtime to arrive so I can get my hands back into the dirt. One of my winter things is to have a basement winter salad garden of baby greens.

Indoor Winter Lettuce

Good starts are transplanted into 18 ounce cups to begin their journey toward harvest.

lettuce plants in black potting cups

Harvest will begin in about another week. Lettuce takes about 25 days from planting to harvest. My technique for harvesting is not cut and come again but instead, it’s pinching off the larger bottom leaves and letting the top leaves mature and grow bigger as the plant grows taller. I use the double-cup method to bottom water and fertilize the plants.

Indoor-Grown Radishes

growing radishes

In the meantime, radishes are beginning to bulk up. It takes about 20 days to grow a radish. However, with radishes, only one harvest per plant means many more plants need to be planted to have a continuous harvest. I’m still perfecting the procedure to do that.

The first radish harvest comes in almost 20 days exactly. Tending my plants and eating my winter fresh salads will pass the time until actual seed starting begins in February.

four radishes on a table

Nebraska Dave is a Nebraskan-Iowan dirt farmer-turned-urban dweller who lives to improve life with backyard compost, raised beds, vertical growing, automatic watering, and other undercover techniques.

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