Here at Tub To Table we are all about indoor gardening. Many people start doing this through a well known”gateway” indoor garden, the Kitchen Herb Garden. Often, unfortunately, these herb gardens fail because the plants simply are not getting enough light in anyone’s kitchen. If you are lucky enough to have south-facing windows near your kitchen, that’s awesome. Not everyone does. But I am betting almost everyone does have cabinets, and the space underneath them makes for a great herb garden or microgreen garden space. So here’s just one idea of how to kick up your chances of herb garden success, add lights!!! Read on for how to make a simple Lighted Indoor Kitchen Herb or Microgreen Garden.
This is actually the second iteration of this type of lit under-cabinet garden in my own kitchen. I’ll have to see if I have some pictures of the Lighted Indoor Kitchen Herb Garden Version 1.0, because it was a pretty cool idea if I do say so myself. It hung from chains on hooks underneath the cabinet and allowed you to lower the plants from the light as they got taller. We had all sorts of herbs growing there. In fact, we had too many herbs growing there and we just didn’t use them enough to claim so much counter top space for them. So this time, I am just going to use up some space that is pretty much non-usable by anything else. The area over the microwave is perfect to create a microgreens/ short herb garden. This garden is super short because the crops I intend to grow there are short and the light will stay close to them.
With this, Version 2.0, I simply took three under-cabinet linkable led lights, each 12″ long and screwed them in underneath the cabinets. You don’t want to use anything battery powered because you can’t put those on a timer. So it’s important that the light plugs in, so you can plug them in to a timer. Also, be sure your screws aren’t longer than the wood on that bottom shelf as you don’t want your screws to come through the bottom of the cabinet into a bag of rice or something equally disastrous. Then, so you don’t see a bunch of cords bugging out from the cabinet, just tack up the remaining length of cord with some cheap cord wall-mounting clips, which you can also get as self adhesive clips (even easier!)
Next, sew your seeds. (See here for how to start plants from seeds indoors with very little mess.) Because this is a very low garden area, I am growing microgreens predominantly – with some actual “microgreen” seeds, basil, arugula, thyme and sage mixed in, all of which I plan to harvest early and often and to essentially use just as microgreens in the kitchen.
Water the seeds regularly from below. Keep the soil moist – never soaking wet, never totally dry. Because they are in such a small container, and so close to the lights, they likely will need water every day or every other day. Set the light timer for about 16 hours a day if you can. In our kitchen, if the light comes on too early or stays on too late it will wake our puppy up so we only have it on 8 hours a day but the plants are growing fine. They may be a little slower and a touch leggier than they would be if we kept the lights on a longer, but that’s a fine compromise for me. They still are a tasty crop of microgreens!
The best part is, I can grow these tasty little morsels and use up zero counter space. Now I’m going to look at every other little nook and cranny in my house differently and dream about what else I can convert into a little lighted growing space…