making a baby greens garden
Learn how to make an indoor mini planter of baby greens! Making a baby greens garden is a simple first gardening step, and something everyone can do year-round with a sunny window sill, a recycled plastic container, some dirt and some seeds.
"Where do I start?"
One thing I often hear from people just beginning to garden is "I don't know where to start!" The truth is, there are so many ways to get started, and all of them are good.
Making a baby greens planter is an easy way to get comfortable with dirt and seeds. You can plant them all year round, in any climate, and with minimal resources. You can use the baby greens in your salads, smoothies, or just to admire your green thumb.
Making a baby greens garden can also get you ready to plant seedlings, which you'll eventually transplant into a larger container or garden outside.
Step 1: Collect Supplies
Seeds, soil and other gardening supplies can be found at your local plant nursery or Home Depot. Seeds can also be found from online seed suppliers.
For seeds, I recommend a baby greens blend, also referred to as 'assorted brassica'. If that's not available, kale (any type), a kale blend, broccoli, or collard greens seeds are also great.
For soil, I recommend an indoor grow mix. One bag is enough to fill multiple small planters, or 1-2 larger planters.
For a plastic containers, get creative! Used berry containers, plastic milk jugs, and yogurt containers all work. If you want to make a small watering jug for your baby greens garden, save the top of your plastic milk jug.
I was recently asked if spinach or lettuce mix/mesclun mix seeds are an ok substitute. Yes! They will take longer to sprout + produce edible size leaves (you'll see sprouting in 7-14 days, not 4-7), so not as instant gratification but still an option. And, with spinach and lettuce, you can often cut back the leaves and new ones will grow, unlike brassicas. Try out any type of greens you'd like to see what works!
Step 2: prepare your containers
Choose as many planters as you'd like. I chose a plastic milk jug, two plastic berry containers, and an outdoor stone planter.
If using berry containers, cut the lids off and put them underneath the container. This helps to keep the soil and water contained.
If using a milk jug, cut off the top of the jug with scissors. Be sure the bottom (where you'll plant) is less than 6 inches high. I recommend 3-4 inches. Save the top of the milk jug (the side with the cap) for later.
Step 3: add soil
Add soil to your containers. Leave about 1 inch between the top of your container and the soil.
Step 4: sprinkle your seeds
Pour a small pile of seeds into your hand. Using your other hand, sprinkle the seeds over your soil mixture.
This is not exact - that's ok! You can experiment with density in different planters. If you have too many seeds, you'll be able to thin them later.
Take a look at the close up photo below to see how close together I placed my seeds. Some are touching, some have a few seed-widths in between.
Step 5: cover seeds with soil
Blanket your seeds with just enough soil to cover, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of soil. Gently pat your soil in place, not too hard.
optional: MAKE A MILK JUG WATERING CAN
Grab the top half of your milk jug and remove the cap.
On a hard surface that you don't mind scratching up (like a deck or spare piece of wood), use the nail and hammer to make small holes in the milk jug cap.
Screw the cap back on your milk jug.
final step: find a home and water regularly
Find a sunny window for your baby greens garden. South facing windows are ideal, since they get the most sun. I placed one planter outside on a covered porch as well.
Water daily using your milk jug watering can or another gentle watering method, being sure not to flood your garden by pouring too much water in at once. This can overwater your plants and displace the seeds, leading to uneven sprouting.
Planters with drainage holes, like the berry containers, may need a small dish or tray beneath them to avoid water spillage. Planters without drainage holes, like the milk jug bottom, will need less watering, and can be watered every other day once the seeds have sprouted.
Your seedlings should start to germinate (sprout) in 4-7 days, and your baby greens will be ready for harvesting in 25-35 days. Make new baby greens planter every 2 weeks for a continuous supply of baby greens.