A lot of people think about establishing a home herb or kitchen garden but that's about as far as they go. Summer is just around the corner and we will be looking forward to a crisp, fresh salad to accompany meals on the braai, or wanting fresh aromatic herbs to add to savoury dishes. If you are keen to grow salad greens and herbs in the kitchen or on a balcony, here are some tips to get you started...

Not everyone has space outdoors to a vegetable or herb garden, but a kitchen garden will take up almost no space if it is mounted in front of a sunny window. Soon you will be able to enjoy picking organic salad greens and herbs as and when you need them.

Grow salad greens and staples indoors

Growing lettuce, tomatoes and onions indoors is not difficult using a shelf with containers along your kitchen windowsill. If you don't have a sunny place in the kitchen, nowadays it’s easy to set up grow lights to provide the right amount of light for healthy growth. And if there's no space for a window garden, perhaps you can look at the option of a window box on the outside of the window.

- Grow lettuce indoors

Lettuce does not need large pots, since their root system is not aggressive and won't take up a lot of space. A 10cm diameter flower pot is more than sufficient for a single lettuce.

Fill up your plant pots with a seedling mix. This is far better than plain garden soil and it contains nutrients to get seedlings started.

Place a lettuce seed in each pot and watch them flourish in no time. Once they reach the right height you can start picking leaves from the outside and let the lettuce continue growing.

If you sow seeds regularly - say every 2 weeks - you will have a continuous supply of lettuce that should see you through the summer.




- Grow onions indoors

While you can grow all types of onions indoors if the conditions are right, it is far better to only plant spring onions for a kitchen garden. These take up far less space and will grow quicker than bulb onions.

Spring onions don't require large pots but you can use larger pots and plant more spring onions in each one. Make sure to leave plenty of room when sowing seeds so that each plant has room to grow.

A quality seedling mix instead of soil will provide all the nutrients the seedlings require for good growth.

- Grow tomatoes indoors

Just like lettuce and onions, you can grow tomatoes indoors in the same way. It's a fact that tomatoes grown indoors under the right conditions will be far less prone to attack by pests and diseases.

Unlike the other salad staples, tomatoes will require a larger pot, say around 20cm in diameter, to accommodate their root system. They will also require room to grow in height and a support system.

Start with enriched, well-drained soil and only pop a single seed in each pot. If you want a continuous supply of tomatoes, have more pots available for planting.

Tomatoes love a sunny spot and, like all the above, a regular watering.


Courtesy of Property24



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