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Planting an early season kitchen garden indoors (slideshow)

Washed and scoured flower pots prevent disease in your new seedlings
Washed and scoured flower pots prevent disease in your new seedlings

Once you have your equipment and area set up for growing, it is time to pick seeds to grow. There is so much to learn on the subject of indoor gardening, so instead of overwhelming lists of suggestions, I here offer details of those seeds I planted this week, with hopes that it will offer inspiration and advice to all of you who want to give it a try. It is truly simple and incredibly rewarding.

Seed packets offer a world of culinary possibility
Haley Fox

Preparing the area

To make a full sunlight spot for my little seeds to start, I cleared the area around a large south-facing window. I found an open ended shelf unit at ReSource on Arapahoe Rd for $5, which I thought would make a perfect plant stand tucked close to the glass. I sawed off the legs so that it fit in the window.

For the pots, I saved some egg cartons from work to start delicate seeds in, and hit thrift shops around town for other old containers. Once home, I washed all the pots thoroughly with disinfectant. This is important since crusted dirt can carry molds or bacterias from former plantings that will sabotage your efforts in cultivating. As for leak trays under the pots, two large plates and two old cookie sheets did the job.

I bought a ten pound bag of potting soil, and a five pound bag of seedling starter. I also got a misting spray bottle for watering. I filled the egg cartons with seedling starter and misted them until moist, then filled the four pots I had collected 3/4 full with potting soil, with one inch of seedling starter on the top. I then took the sprayer off the bottle and soaked all four pots until water came through the drainage hole.

Planting the seeds

Rosemary, oregano, and parsley: These herbs are all very small seeds and very small sprouts when they come up. For that reason, I chose to plant a few rows of each in my egg carton planter. Two rows went to oregano, one to parsley, and two to rosemary. I just sprinkled one or two seeds in each egg hole, then lightly covered them with a handful of dirt. I then misted again to moisten the top layer.

Chives: Chives are lightly garlicky and very easy to grow. I planted mine in a small pot with regular potting soil, just sprinkling the seeds about every 1/2 inch around the surface of the soil. I then covered them with a light layer of seedling starter from the bag, and misted the top with water.

Cilantro: Cilantro is a beautiful fragrant herb, but frustrating to grow because of its fragility. Once you harvest it, it won't come back. The way to beat this is to plant it successively every two weeks, so you have a ready supply. I chose to plant mine in a long oval pot filled with regular potting soil. The seeds are large, so I placed them every 2 inches in two rows and then poked them about 1/2 inch down into the dirt with my finger. Then I pressed the soil down gently over them, added about another 1/4 inch of seedling mix, and dampened the top with water mist.

Basil: Delicious and easy to grow in pots, I used a large vessel for my basil crop. I planted them the same way as the chives above, and will thin them as they grow to give the strongest ones the most light, water and nutrients. There are many varieties of basil to choose from. I chose large leaved Genovese basil for its flavor and hardiness.  

Arugula: In my largest pot filled with regular potting soil, I planted a crop of arugula. This peppery green is excellent in salads or even in place of spinach on top of pizza. Even when it's very small, the strong flavor dominates, and it can be cut multiple times and then re-sprouts for more. I scattered the seeds around the surface about an inch apart, and then covered them with one half inch of seedling starter, pressing it down lightly. Then I sprayed it with water to moisten the top layer.

Over the next few weeks I will report on the progress of my seeds. I can't wait to have my first window-grown produce of the year.


  • Blissful Baker 5 years ago

    These two posts were fantastic... and inspiring! I went out this afternoon and bought seedling starter and seeds, and just finished planting (I hope to take pictures tomorrow). I don't have a green thumb (yet), but I am excited to learn more about gardening (and where our plant foods come from). I fear in my excitement, I may have put too many seeds per pot, so that will probably be one of my first lessons.

    Thanks also for making your instructions so clear and including pictures. Since starting my own blog last week, I have a new found respect for posting clear, interesting info and pics. Cheers

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