NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

February 20, 2013

Tim's Tips: Curb spring fever by growing veggies indoors

Tim's Tips
Tim Lamprey

---- — Spring fever appears to have hit many people in the last week. We have seen an increase in sales of paperwhite bulbs and any plant that has flowers.

Despite all the snow over the last two weekends, spring will eventually appear in New England. It always has and I guess it always will.

Many industries have trade journals. The lawn and garden industry is no different. I was reading one of the magazines over the weekend and found some interesting facts concerning having plants in your home or office. The information came from “America in Bloom.”

In one study, reaction time on computer tasks improved by 12 percent for employees working in close proximity to plants.

By increasing humidity and decreasing dust, indoor plants have been shown to reduce cold-related illnesses by more than 30 percent. Filling a vase in your bedroom with Gerbera daisies can improve your rest because these flowers release oxygen at night.

So, what does this mean to you? It means that by having houseplants in your home or office, you will be living or working in a cleaner environment and in some cases, your productivity or that of your employees will improve.

If you haven’t thought about putting a few houseplants in your home or office, maybe it is time to think about doing so.

A few customers have asked me about starting some type of vegetable that they can then harvest indoors. What many of you may not know is that you can grow leaf lettuce indoors at this time of the year. If you have a sunny window in a cool room or if you want to set up a grow light, you can grow leaf lettuce. The best is the lettuce called micro greens. If you take a window box or a flower pot and fill it with seed-starting soil, you will then just need to scatter seed on the surface and wait for the seeds to sprout.

In a few weeks, you will be able to cut the leaves. If you are careful to cut just the outer leaves, the plants will continue to produce more leaves. You can also cut the tiny plants and then re-seed the planter for another crop of greens.

If you are going to use a previously used window box or flower pot, just be sure to wash it thoroughly and then disinfect the container by rinsing it in a solution of one-part bleach to nine-parts water. This will kill any organisms that may be lingering from the potting soil you have previously used in the container.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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Tim Lamprey is the owner of Harbor Garden Center on Route 1 in Salisbury. His website is www.Harborgardens.com. Do you have questions for Tim? Send them to ndn@newburyportnews.com, and he will answer them in upcoming columns.