Grow a Window Box Salad Garden

Grow a Window Box Salad Garden
We all look forward to those first fresh vegetables of spring. But you don't have to have acres of land to grow these precious gems yourself. All you need is a window box and a little time. Growing a window box salad garden takes no more time than caring for regular houseplants. And you can grow them either inside or out.

What You Will Need
The basic requirements for a window box salad garden are just a window box planter and a sunny spot to place it. You will, of course, also need to fill it with soil and purchase some seeds to plant. Since one package of seeds will give your far more than you'll need for your little garden, you may want to share with friends or neighbors. You can trade some of your lettuce seeds for a few of their radishes.

What You Can Grow
You can grow any shallow-rooted plants in a window box salad garden. If your planter box is at least four inches deep you can plant onions, various types of lettuce, radishes, beets, spinach and even stubby varieties of carrots. Many herbs, like basil and thyme, also do well in window boxes.

How to Get Started
If you are purchasing a new window box planter, be sure to get one with drainage holes in the bottom. This will prevent root rot if you happen to over-water it. If you're using a planter box you already have and it does not have drainage, you'll just need to be much more careful when you water it.
High quality potting soils work best for a window box salad garden. And since you won't need a whole lot, it won't be that expensive. If you use regular dirt from your yard, you may need to incorporate a little sand or humus to get a mix that has a good balance between holding water and draining well.

Fill your planter with soil and then tamp it down firmly. Then add additional soil to the top and plant your seeds according to package directions. Note: It is OK to plant the seeds a little closer than you would in an open garden, since you will be fertilizing and caring for them more closely. Water your seeds well and place the planter in a sunny spot, either inside or out.

How to Care for Your Window Box Salad Garden
Water and weed your garden at least every other day. You will also want to fertilize it often, since the seedlings will have little soil from which to extract their nutrients. If you want to grow your garden organically, you can make compost tea to water and fertilize at the same time. Or you can buy a fertilizer at any garden store that should work well.

Growing your own vegetables - even on a small scale - is a great way to feel good about what you're eating. It's also the perfect opportunity to teach children a variety of lessons about nature.