Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Growing => Grow Your Own => Topic started by: hubballi on December 15, 2010, 10:00

Title: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on December 15, 2010, 10:00
As I have had a pretty disastrous season outdoors, I thought I could perhaps grow some salad indoors. Not to be. I have a trough filled with fresh quality compost. I have a mini greenhouse cover for it and have watered. The small salad plants about a couple of inches high just wilt and rot. The rocket has sprouted the same but again, thin spindly plants with no development of leaf. When I water if it's too dry I end up getting white mould on the surface of the soil. I keep them in a windowsill upstairs to get maximum light.

Why can't I grow such seemingly easy plants ? :wacko:
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: mumofstig on December 15, 2010, 10:28
If they are indoors they will not need a plastic cover as well.
Even in an unheated room they should be warm enough to grow, mine are doing nicely in an unheated greenhouse, which was 0' this morning

So try again, minus the cover  ;)
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: Lindeggs on December 15, 2010, 10:34
As much as it may seem they are getting enough light on the windowsill, you can pretty much guarantee they're not!  Quality, intensity and duration of light is the hardest thing to achieve when growing anything indoors.  

If you were really determined to grow healthy edible plants indoors you would need to set up a system with high-intensity fluorescent (or halogen or LED) lights, with just the right spectrum for plant growth, and reflectors and timers.

Generally this type of setup is reserved for much more valuable crops than salad greens.   ;)
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: JayG on December 15, 2010, 10:40
I agree with both previous posts; realistically all you can do is take off the cover which will be contributing to the mould problems and also absorbing some of the scarce available daylight.  :)
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: savbo on December 15, 2010, 11:12
I was sceptical but a reflective surface behind the plants - I lined  a cut down beer box with foil - really seems to make a difference to avoiding spindly plants
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: bigben on December 15, 2010, 11:19
I agree 100% with Savbo - I think it was DD who put me on to having a bit of card with foil on it behind the plant to increase light. It made a big difference to my Chilli plants earlier this year. Give it a try.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on December 15, 2010, 14:04
Plants with the cover off are no better.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: JayG on December 15, 2010, 15:03
Plants with the cover off are no better.

Then you are down to the reflective foil idea (forgotten about that!)

Which way does your windowsill face? It ideally needs to be South-facing (anything but North if at all possible.)
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on December 15, 2010, 19:02
North facing I'm afraid :-(
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: Aunt Sally on December 15, 2010, 19:19
Take up painting dear ;)
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on December 24, 2010, 15:05
I seriously think that I just don't have green fingers as everything, and I mean everything I seem to do fails despite doing all the right things. The salad leaves have just withered and died.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: Aunt Sally on December 24, 2010, 15:56
... despite doing all the right things. ...

Obviously not doing all the right things as if you were they would not fail.

If you have more failures (next season) and can post some pictures of them here then our gardeners may be able to tell you what you are doing wrong.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on January 08, 2012, 16:52
Coriander indoors in new compost on a windowsill. Thin, wispy growth with nothing worth picking. Been growing for months and stayed the same size.

Rocket in greenhouse. Started well and gone thin and whispy.

Radish (here we go again) in greenhouse. Since Sept they have grown and thin and wispy, some withering. Not globes.

Red Lettuce grown indoors. About 3 inches for months on end. Now some withering and keeling over. New compost.

It's a mystery to me because I am doing all the right things.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: mike1987 on January 08, 2012, 16:56
sounds like lack of light to me this and wispy groth or to give it its propper name Etiolation nothing much you can really do about it other that set up an expensive grow light system
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: compostqueen on January 08, 2012, 17:29
You are probably trying to grow stuff at the wrong times.  Follow the sowing dates on the packets.  No-one tries to grow salad or coriander etc in the house at this time of year I wouldn't have thought.   You can grow stuff in the unheated greenhouse but only the hardy leaf mixes. I wouldn't attempt them in the house though where it gets far too warm

The first thing I do when I buy seeds is to read the instructions on the back, even after many years of veg growing. Ignore them at your peril  :D
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: Aunt Sally on January 08, 2012, 18:35
Coriander indoors in new compost on a windowsill. Thin, wispy growth with nothing worth picking. Been growing for months and stayed the same size.

sow fortnightly throughout spring and summer

Rocket in greenhouse. Started well and gone thin and whispy.

Sow every 2-3 weeks, from April to early September


Radish (here we go again) in greenhouse. Since Sept they have grown and thin and wispy, some withering. Not globes.

Sow from March to mid-August; or for an early crop sow in February in pre-warmed soil and protect with cloches.

Red Lettuce grown indoors. About 3 inches for months on end. Now some withering and keeling over. New compost.

Outside March September    Indoors February September

It's a mystery to me because I am doing all the right things.

You are trying to grow things out of season. Far too cool, too dark and short day length.  If they are warm enough indoors they will not have enough light without banks of lighting.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: New shoot on January 08, 2012, 18:57
I find sprouting seeds and mustard and cress are about the only windowsill crops this time of year Hubballi, but both are worth doing to pep up salads and stir frys  :)

My greenhouse has just shallots starting in it and a few spring onions overwintering from autumn last year.   The onion seedlings are on a south facing windowsill but will be going out to the greenhouse soon.

As Auntie says, its hard to get anything growing in the dark days of winter, but with a greenhouse you can make a start next month with lots of stuff.  I am thinking about doing microgreens having watched one of HFW's River Cottage Veg programmes the other day  :D
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: hubballi on January 08, 2012, 19:38
Ok, thanks. It's the light then that's lacking.
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: compostqueen on January 08, 2012, 19:57
And the time of year is wrong for what you're trying to do, as Aunty just set out for you
Title: Re: Why Can't I grow Salad Indoors ?
Post by: viettaclark on January 08, 2012, 23:00
I sowed rocket and a mustard mix that were both supposed to be ok for indoors over Winter. South facing kitchen window sill, fresh compost etc. I had the "whispy" seedlings too and was going to chuck them but bunged the trough outside.
With the rain and mild weather they have toughened up and may well produce soon if we don't get a freeze!!
I think they were too warm!