Fresh greens while watching the snow

Posted on January 1, 2020
Written by Marty Davey

Winter brings a little disappointment due to the lack of local fresh greens and herbs. But, maybe not. You can have a little indoor garden and include the kids in the fun without a lot digging and weeding.

You can easily grow herbs, celery and lettuce on a window sill or glass doors with a southern exposure. Here’s how:

Herbs – Start with those packages from the grocery store in plastic bags or pots. The easiest to find is basil.

  • Stand up the basil, while in the bag, and add some water and a tablespoon of potting soil and let it sit overnight.
  • Fill a planter with 2 inches of soil. It works best to have a helper hold the basil in the planter, with the roots straightened and touching the soil.
  • Fill the planter around the root and up the basil stalks 2-3 inches. Heavily water the plant, remember it has been used to a LOT of water.
  • You can to feed the plant with an organic plant food just follow the directions on the bag.
  • If the plant looks sad after 1 day, put in a dark closet for 2 days, water every day. Then, bring out and slowly move toward more sunlight over another 2 days.
  • If the herb has been in a pot with other herbs, simply re-pot in a larger planter and put some room between the plants to they can grow.

Lettuce and celery – Use the leaves and stalks as usual, but leave a 2-inch stalk for the lettuce and a 1-inch base for the celery.

Put these stalks in a small, flat bottomed dish with water up to the middle of the stalk or celery base. Keep half the stalk submerged for a few days. With lettuce make sure the roots are covered.

After 3-4 days look for tiny sprouts to begin and add a few spoonfuls of potting soil. Depending on how much light and heat you have, small roots will sprout.

Keep in water, but continue to add potting soil. With a hydroponic lettuce stalk, you can move it to a planter within a week. If you are starting from a flat bottomed stalk, let roots grow for a few weeks, then re-plant.


The photos show the lettuce ready for a planter, but the celery will need another week or so.

It can be great fun and a good learning experience for kids see roots growing and sprouts turning into something they use on their sandwiches or in a dinner salad. Especially after an afternoon of sledding.

FYI – these photos were taken in the winter in northeastern Pennsylvania.