Book: Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke

Peter Burke envisions a world where everyone grows salad in their windowsill, and he makes a fantastic case for his method.  According to Burke, you can easily grow 50-70lbs of greens (soil sprouts, really) per year with a window, a few shelves, some sprouting trays, and a few bales of soil mix.

Soil sprouting is Burke’s technique: fill an aluminum foil loaf pan with some soil-less growing medium, compost, and kelp fertilizer.  Add water and seeds, and cover with damp newspaper.  Keep in the dark for about four days, then move to a window.  According to Burke, the technique is more forgiving than sprouting in jars or trays with just water.  It also requires less infrastructure and effort than microgreens, and produces greens in a fraction of the time.  The resulting sprouts consist mostly of the stem and seed leaves, along with a little of the first true leaves.

Required inputs (and possible DIY substitutions):

  • Seeds (we can grow these ourselves!)

  • Soil-less medium, mostly peat moss (try replacing with dried and solar-cooked leaf mold?)

  • Compost (we’re working on it)

  • Kelp (is it feasible to collect, dry, and haul enough back from the coast?)

  • Water (we’re still a ways off from collecting rainwater for potable use)

We’re still probably a year or more from being able to grow/gather most of this ourselves, but I’m excited to give it a try anyway - a 5-gallon bucket of soil-less medium and compost ought to last a few months and provide a whole lot of fresh salad.  Also, it sounds like a way to eat sunflower seeds that doesn’t require shelling them all by hand!

For more info, check out the book or visit the archived copy of Peter’s website.