Growing a salad indoors is a feasible option this winter

These freshly pulled radishes were grown under lights.  |  Joan Airey photo

For the last three winters, I have grown my own salad makings under grow lights that I start my bedding plants under in the spring.

At the time, I could only find Commercial T5 Fixtures at Vesey Seeds, a mail order seed company located in Charlottetown, P.E.I. These fixtures are now readily available at numerous hardware stores and seed companies. 

At the moment, I have lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and carrots growing under a set of lights. I also plan to start radishes, parsley, onions and more lettuce. You can even cut the roots off the living lettuce plants you buy in the grocery store and replant them. I have grown three heads off a plant and let the fourth one go to seed and used the seed to start new plants in the planter outdoors the next spring.

You can grow lettuce and herbs in a plant pot in a window that receives lots of sunshine. 

I save soft water from rain to water my plants or melt snow when I run out of rain water. If you can’t do that, tap water works as long as it hasn’t been through a softener.

I give them a little organic fertilizer when needed. So far, I have grown everything in potting soil but hope to experiment with hydroponic techniques. 

Seeds and seed catalogues are available online during winter from seed companies. 

You could make this creamy cucumber salad with a cucumber you grew this winter under lights or next summer in your greenhouse or garden. 

Creamy cucumber salad

  • 4 large cucumbers
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash, peel and thinly slice four large cucumbers.

Thinly slice the sweet onion.

Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a ceramic, glass or plastic bowl that has a lid.

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Mix until smooth. Turn the mayonnaise mixture into the cucumber and onion mixture and combine well.

Cover with lid. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least six hours. Refrigerate leftovers.

I quarter this recipe when there is just my husband and I for a meal. Another thing I do sometimes is use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.

Romaine mandarin salad

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 1/2 cup silvered toasted almonds (optional)


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. liquid from onions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in jar; shake well. Prepare romaine lettuce. Toss lettuce, onions and celery together. Add dressing. Garnish with oranges and toasted almonds.

Greek salad

  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 diced red pepper
  • 1/4 diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • small handful black olives
  • 2 tbsp. Greek with feta and oregano dressing

Wash and dry lettuce. Combine all ingredients (except dressing) in bowl. Toss with salad dressing. Serve.

This is one of my favourite salads. I love making it when I can get most ingredients fresh from the garden or from under my grow lights.

The red peppers I have been growing under lights were started from a pepper I bought.

If you have some leftover turkey or chicken this Thai chicken salad, which Shelley Ramsey of Oak River, Man., shared with me, is delicious.

Thai chicken salad

  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 bag cooked steamed fried noodles
  • 1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

Toss all ingredients (except sauce) together. Mix in Thai sweet chili sauce. Enjoy.

I don’t use nuts in salads because frequently I have people in my home who are allergic to nuts and the salads are still delicious.

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