Winter is perfect for growing lettuce!

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:
img_0456Herbs – Start with those packages from the grocery store in plastic bags or pots.  The most easily found is basil.  Stand up the basil, while in the bag, and add some water and a tablespoon of potting soil.  Let sit over night.  Fill a planter with 2 inches of soil.  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.  You can do basically the same technique for any other herb.  Heavily water the plant.  It has been used to a LOT of water.  You may want to feed the plant with an organic plant food.  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 – Cut and use the leaves and stalks, but leave a 2 inch stalk for the img_0459lettuce and a 1 inch base for the celery.  Put these 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 hydroponic lettuce make sure the roots are covered.  After day 3-4 add a few spoonfuls of potting soil.  Check for tiny sprouting action.  Depending on how much light and heat you have, small roots will sprout.

img_0458Keep in water, but continue to add potting soil.  With a hydroponic lettuce stalk, you can move 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.  
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The photos show the lettuce ready for a planter, but the celery will need another week or so.  
This celery is growing the roots.  Add dirt a little at a time to get the roots ready for full dirt.
It can be great fun and a good learning experience for kids see roots growing and sprouts img_0455turning into something they use on their sandwiches or in a dinner salad.  Especially after an afternoon of sledding.
FYI – these photos are from northeastern Pennsylvania.