Saturday, 18 September 2010

Growing on a window sill

The yields are not high but there is nothing like a few really fresh leaves to add to a salad or a sandwich.  I have already pinched off some tops from these pea shoots (right). The little plants keep growing. The fresh green leaves and tendrils are a delight to look at. 

Use fresh compost. Here, the module tray sits inside another tray.  Water into the green tray and the compost will absorb what it needs.  Keep an eye on how sunny it's been as parts can dry out very quickly. Monitoring every day feeds your need to grow stuff when outdoors growing is slowing up.

Here (left) are some mizuna seedlings.  I've got rocket, too, and you could grow any lettuce or oriental leaves thickly like this to cut and come again.  I took these seedlings away from the window to a less sunny spot for a few days and you can see how the stems have elongated unnaturally.  They are back in the sunny spot now but it's not certain they'll make strong enough plants to get decent sized leaves.
Later editing note - these seedlings would have definitely benefitted from a reflector box see here for instructions on how to make
However, you don't have to have a lot of sun. Sprouting seeds are harvested in less than a week and take nearly all their energy from the seed itself.  You eat them before the leaves have a chance to photosynthesise.  Here is alfalfa.  I've had these sprouters for a few years. I think they're a German make. 
Rinse the seeds twice a day (say, while waiting for the kettle to boil am and pm). When the sprouts have grown, keep them in an airtight containeer or plastic bag in the salad compartment of the fridge for a few days.  Mind you, this lot got wolfed in a sandwich direct.  Lovely with wholemeal bread and butter.I encourage you to grow seeds for the wonder of germination - for your children and your inner child!
Most seed catalogues and garden centres carry sprouting seeds and sprouters but you can try organiccatalog.  You get a discount if you are a member of gardenorganic.
Please leave comments on the nutritional value of sprouts (very high in minerals and vitamins, I believe).