Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Life on the Ledge; National Gardening Week, Which Aims to Inspire People to Get Working on Their Borders, RHS Expert GUY BARTER Offers Beginners' Tips on How to Grow Microgreens and Other Crops on Windowsills

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Life on the Ledge; National Gardening Week, Which Aims to Inspire People to Get Working on Their Borders, RHS Expert GUY BARTER Offers Beginners' Tips on How to Grow Microgreens and Other Crops on Windowsills

Article excerpt

OU don't need a vegetable patch to start growing - just a sunny windowsill.

YSo says Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Adviser, who is joining colleagues in trying to encourage newcomers to grow plants during National Gardening Week.

During the week, the RHS gardens are hosting activities to showcase the benefits of gardening and inspire new gardeners to engage with nature at all levels.

Meanwhile, Guy and his RHS pals have been growing all sorts of things on their own windowsills, to prove that it's possible to create an edible indoor veg patch.

So, what have they been growing? Guy gives us the low-down.

MICROGREENS THE modern equivalent of mustard and cress, now a wider range of seedlings are grown, including basil, beetroot, carrot, celery, dill, kohlrabi, leek, perilla (from the mint family) and Swiss chard. Ideally use seed sold for microgreens as this will germinate well and evenly, and will be free of any unwanted materials. If in doubt, rinse seed well in several changes of fresh water before sowing.

Sprinkle seeds on to trays containing 25mm (1in) peat-free potting media or on to damp kitchen towel, in a seed tray or plastic box. Smaller containers are more manageable - half seed trays (23cm x 17.5cm x 5cm) are ideal. Use containers with drainage. After light watering, place the seeds on a warm, sunny windowsill and allow to germinate. Plenty of warmth is needed for germination and a heated propagator is helpful where the central heating is not turned high. Too much heat on the average windowsill will result in "leggy" seedlings - if this happens, move the trays to a windowsill in a cooler room.

Water seedlings as required as they won't put up with drying out or being drowned. Once they reach 5cm high, they can be cut with scissors and used as soon as possible. They will keep in the fridge in an airtight box for a day or two. Expect crops to take two to three weeks to complete their life cycle at room temperature (18-22C).

PUMPKIN SPROUTS PUMPKIN seed sprouts are among the quickest "crop" you can grow. Ideally use hull-less or naked pumpkin seed such as Baby Bear. …

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