Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Countertop Gardening for Every Kitchen

Let me introduce you to my new kitchen appliance, the Growlight Garden. This handy structure lets me grow a lot of fresh sprouts, microgreens, and salad right on my kitchen counter. Plus, it can be used to start seeds for the outdoor garden, root cuttings indoors, and nanny plants when I’m on vacation. Why every house doesn’t have one is beyond me. It’s so useful and practical! Let’s dig into some countertop gardening, shall we?Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening
SPONSORED CONTENT: This post was sponsored by A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge, who also provided me with a Growlight Garden to review. All of the opinions that are shared in this post are my own. See the full disclosure policy here.

Be sure not to miss the giveaway at the end of this post as well. A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge has also generously provided a prize for one of our lucky readers!Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Countertop Gardening Basics

Gardening indoors comes with a unique set of challenges. Plants love fresh air, natural light, and deep soil for their roots. Indoor gardening limits all of these things.

There is no wind to strengthen plant stems, and the humidity levels are not the same as they are outside. The light, no matter how bright your home is, will always be less desirable to plants than being surrounded by natural sunlight. And the soil outdoors, which is packed with microbes and organisms, is a live filtration system and nutritional source.

Indoor pots are filled with sterile soil to keep the critters at bay, but this also means that additional fertilizer must be added. Outdoor plants’ roots can stay dry or reach for moisture as the water disperses throughout a larger expanse than an indoor pot can have. This seems like a lot of challenges, but knowing all this will help you to become a successful countertop gardener.

First of all, let me show you how to set up the Growlight Garden and some of the features that help with countertop gardening.

Grow Light Kitchen Garden

Self Watering Tray

The base of the grow light garden is a large tray with a stand to hold the plant trays. The stand can be used with an absorbent blanket that helps to deliver water on demand to plant roots. You fill the tray with water and set the stand in the tray.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Then, set the blanket on the tray. Cut a hole so that you can refill the tray, and let the blanket touch the water evenly on both ends.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardeningGrowlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Water will wick up through the blanket, and when you set the plant trays on top the soil will wick up the water, keeping it constantly moist. This is a very effective system, and the soil will be kept moist at all times. It’s important to know which plants enjoy having moist soil and which do not because overly wet roots can also be susceptible to root rot in plants that prefer to have the soil dry out between waterings.
Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Light Hood

The lights are next in the setup process. Remove the bulbs from the lighting ballast and snap them into the clips. Replace the bulbs once the ballasts are securely in place. This ensures that you can clip the ballasts in place without breaking the bulbs. The light hood is adjustable, so you can choose what height it should be above your plants. Plants will reach for the light if it is too far away, making them leggy and weak. Position the lighting hood just an inch or so above the plants and raise it as they grow.

Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Countertop Sprouts and Microgreens

You can use the Growlight Garden to grow a fast and healthy supply of fresh greens for your family. Fill the trays with moist seedling starter soil mix and then sprinkle a generous amount of seeds on the top of the soil. You want to cover the soil with a lot of seeds so that you have a lot of sprouts or microgreens to eat. Use seeds meant for sprouting, as they are often sold in bulk and can go much further than a seed packet meant for planting. In my garden, I have planted chervil, a mesclun salad mix, and sunflower seeds. As you can see, it produces different sizes of sprouts and microgreens that can be harvested at different times.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

The light doesn’t need to be turned on until the seeds sprout, and then it should be lowered to just above the seed leaves.

Harvest sprouts by cutting them with clean scissors and then washing them in a salad spinner. Add more seeds to fill in spaces and grow more sprouts. You can use the same soil many times over as long as there are no signs of fungus or disease.

Note: when growing sprouts and microgreens in the Growlight Garden, do not use the watering mat. Instead, mist the soil daily to keep the top inch of soil moist. This will allow the seeds to germinate but not create so much moisture that the seedlings become susceptible to dampening off, a fungal disease.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Countertop Kitchen Garden

There are two ways to grow herbs and salad greens right on your counter to be freshly harvested at mealtime. Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

The first method is similar to the sprouting method, although you will plant lettuce and herb seeds in the trays less densely. Allow the seeds to grow into cut-and-come-again spring greens. Cut-and-come-again will grow back from the roots after you harvest small sections of them. You can also reseed any areas that are looking sparse.

The second method is to plant herb and lettuce starts from a local nursery in the trays. This gets you larger plants more quickly, but it is a more expensive option. In this case, you will want to use the moisture blanket to keep the soil moisture level regulated.

Countertop Seed Starting

Starting seeds for the outdoor garden is much like sprouting, although you will plant the seeds much less densely.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Fill the trays with indoor seedling mix and space out the seeds as per the instructions on the seed packet. Label the seeds so you know which ones they are when they move out to the garden or into larger pots.

Again, don’t use the moisture blanket but spray the surface of the soil daily to keep the seedlings moist. Turn on the lights when the seedlings emerge and keep the light just an inch above the top of the seedlings as they grow.

When the seedlings are ready to be moved outdoors according to the package instructions, move them outside for just a few hours at first and gradually increase their time outside. This “hardening off” process allows the seedlings to acclimate to the outdoors before transplanting them in the garden.

Rooting Cuttings on the Countertop

This is where the moisture blanket comes in handy. Instead of rooting cuttings in water, you can add them to a sterile seedling mix in the trays and set them on the self-watering mat. This will keep the soil wet and allow the stems to root quickly indoors without needing to watch them carefully.Growlight garden for countertop indoor gardening

Countertop Plant Nanny

More often than not, I have a gardening project on the go when I leave for vacation. I’m accustomed to losing some plants whenever I go away, but this year I think that will change! I can move all of my sensitive plants to the Growlight Garden, and the self-watering feature will allow the plants to regulate their water supply. In addition, I’ll put the lights on a 12-hour timer so that they will receive equal light and dark each day.

Giveaway Time!

Whew! Who knew there was so much that you could grow on your countertop?

A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge has a lot of really handy gardening products made by gardeners for gardeners. One lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to shop online for some of these genius products. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Vianni from Wisconson!

 

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Emily W
    Emily WFebruary 26,17

    What a great post! I would grow lettuce and in the off season grow my herbs instead of putting them in the garden. I also love the idea of rooting plants this way.

  2. Judy H
    Judy HFebruary 26,17

    Heirloom tomatoes to transplant to start with. And then an indoor herb garden.

  3. Karen Moore
    Karen MooreFebruary 27,17

    I would like to grow microgreens and herbs on the countertop. I may need two lights because the herbs, hopefully, will grow tall while the microgreens will be short. It will be enjoyable watching them grow and harvesting them right in the kitchen!

  4. Shirley Hartley
    Shirley HartleyFebruary 27,17

    I would grow fresh herbs to cook with instead of having to purchase them from my local super market.

  5. Susie Hord
    Susie HordFebruary 27,17

    root rose cuttings! In my harsh 5a zone, own root roses are hardier. Thanks!!

  6. Scottie Fech
    Scottie FechFebruary 27,17

    Myself and my 9 year old friend, who I have introduced to gardening and plants this winter, will be experimenting with growing! Definitely herbs will be grown to show him the ‘farm-to-table’ concept. As well, he loves cucumbers so we will start our seeds under the grow light. Oh! and pomegranates and mandarine oranges…. I think the list is endless at this point, but we have some awesome plans and ideas!

  7. Debby Hastings
    Debby HastingsFebruary 27,17

    Hi Stephanie, I love your blog and enjoy receiving your posts. This is an amazing tool for a frustrated winter gardener! I would love to grow fresh basil, celantro and a salad mix, especially rocket.

  8. cynthia
    cynthiaFebruary 27,17

    how cool! microgreens and herbs to start…

  9. Shari
    ShariFebruary 27,17

    I would love to start an herb garden this year. This would be a great way to do it inside. Thanks for another great post!

  10. Gail Bell
    Gail BellFebruary 27,17

    Another great, informative post about an awesome product. I am already a happy customer of A.M. Leonard, and would grow lettuce, basil, and cilantro.

  11. Kathie Gratton
    Kathie GrattonFebruary 27,17

    The real question is, “What WOULDN’T I grow in a GrowLight Garden?” Baby lettuce, herbs, sprouts, flower and veggie seed germination, rooting plant cuttings….” Wow! could I ever use one of these!

  12. Vianni
    VianniFebruary 27,17

    Great idea. best way here in Wisconsin to bring a bit of life into the house during the winter months. Love it!

  13. Dawn
    DawnFebruary 27,17

    I think these are just so cool and I’ve wanted one for a long time now. I would definitely use it for starting tomatoes and other veggies in the spring and would like to try some indoor herbs when it’s too cold to grow them outside. Great post!

  14. Kelly Morrissey
    Kelly MorrisseyFebruary 27,17

    This is exactly what I need this year, as last year I tried starting seedlings on the windowsill. They got spindly. I would use this product to start my tomatoes, okra, chard, and kale because if I direct sow them, the rabbits will get them.

  15. Karen Simon Peterson
    Karen Simon PetersonFebruary 27,17

    The fresh herbs I use most often are thyme, basil, parsley and mint and they are the ones I struggle to keep alive during winter. I’ve wanted a grow light system for a long time!

  16. Fran
    FranFebruary 27,17

    It’s really a no brainer, microgreens & sprouts for my husband whose fighting cancer. Would go to good use in our home ;o)

  17. Manuela
    ManuelaFebruary 27,17

    I would like to be able to grow herbs all year long.

  18. Sharon
    SharonFebruary 27,17

    Basil! What a treat it would be to have fresh basil right in my kitchen. Other herbs too, for cooking, would be fun.

  19. Tonia Deakin
    Tonia DeakinFebruary 27,17

    I’ve never been a successful indoors gardener. I’m sure the Growlight Garden would remedy that! I’d definitely start seeds in it and then turn to micro green and sprouts, which I’ve always wanted to try. Next I would try all manner of herbs. This is a great article. I can imagine growing just about any anything in it.

  20. Amy Kittel
    Amy KittelFebruary 28,17

    I would grow lettuce and spinach. Two big favorites with my family. My kids would eat spinach all the time if they could. I would even keep growing spinach in the winter.
    Thanks for all your helpful info.

  21. Brenda Penton
    Brenda PentonFebruary 28,17

    I would grow herbs. I’ve always wanted to do this.

  22. LesleyAnn
    LesleyAnnFebruary 28,17

    I’d grow salad fixin’s so I could eat every day!

  23. Erin C.
    Erin C.February 28,17

    Rooting and seed starting for sure!

  24. Jane Emery
    Jane EmeryMarch 1,17

    I would a variety of herbs, lettuces and some mini veggies.. For fun and add some beauty I would grow some flowers..

  25. Diana G
    Diana GMarch 1,17

    Basil, mint, all the herbs I kill when trying to grow them outdoors, spinach, lettuce, and new house plants

  26. Kathryn Ann Courtney
    Kathryn Ann CourtneyMarch 1,17

    I would grow lettuce and herbs, start seeds fir my outdoor garden (tomatoes) and use it to root cuttings of roses and other perennials in my garden.

  27. Robin
    RobinMarch 1,17

    Herbs! Violas to jazz up salads. Lettuce … looks like a great way to keep gardening throughout the year.

  28. Vicky
    VickyMarch 1,17

    I have a bunch of seeds for sproouting/micro geens, alfalfa, Adzuki, broccoli, chard, kale, red & green lentils, mung bean, watercress, pea, radish fenugreek, & mustard.

  29. Diane
    DianeMarch 1,17

    I look forward to growing micro greens this year, I am living in a new home – without an outdoor garden.

  30. Kathy Cerwin
    Kathy CerwinMarch 1,17

    I would grow lots of herbs to use in cooking.

  31. Mary
    MaryMarch 2,17

    I would grow a big salad under the light. Everything that you would want to eat in your salad, I would grow

  32. mel
    melMarch 2,17

    What wouldn’t I grow? I love this I could garden year round and this is so versatile!

  33. Karen Williams
    Karen WilliamsMarch 2,17

    Being able to have year round gardening will support my health SO much!! Can’t wait to clip my herbs as I need them and not throw them out because I have to buy so much more than I need! Fresh spinach, lettuce, kale and the list goes one!! Can’t wait !!

  34. Suzanne G
    Suzanne GMarch 2,17

    I would want to try to grow herbs and lettuce. It would help get through the long winters here.

  35. Ann
    AnnMarch 2,17

    I would have a countertop herb garden…nothing like fresh herbs for cooking!
    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  36. Stephanie
    StephanieMarch 2,17

    I would love to grow basil year round and have been wanting to experiment with microgreens!

  37. Gnoma
    GnomaMarch 2,17

    What a perfect answer to cabin fever in February

  38. Joy young
    Joy youngMarch 2,17

    What a handy system. I would start all of my tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower seeds in it.

  39. Suzanne
    SuzanneMarch 2,17

    lettuce, spinach and kale. i have been looking into hydroponic gardens, but this looks much easier. thanks!!

  40. Elaine Williams
    Elaine WilliamsMarch 2,17

    I have looked at this indoor grow system in stores previously but haven’t got around to purchasing one yet. I am an avid gardener and grow many varieties of vegetables in my small backyard garden, but I would love to grow herbs indoors as the ones you purchase from the store doesn’t last very long and are so expensive. It would be wonderful to grow basil, mint, rosemary, dill, garlic and many more herbs in my kitchen as I use these in my everyday cooking. Also I would start tomato, cucumber and beets indoors in this. I love receiving the useful newsletters from Garden Therapy – keep up the good work!

  41. Jeanne
    JeanneMarch 2,17

    I would grow herbs

  42. Pat
    PatMarch 2,17

    I would grow salad greens.

  43. Nancy
    NancyMarch 2,17

    I would start my heirloom tomatoes, radishes, snow peas, basil, and some sprouts.
    I have a plot at the local community garden and summer planting needs to be done by May 1.
    But I want herbs and sprouts readily available.

  44. Kay Smith
    Kay SmithMarch 2,17

    Loving all the awesomeness

  45. melissa
    melissaMarch 2,17

    I love fresh herbs for cooking so that would be what I would attempt to grow.

  46. MARTHAIA
    MARTHAIAMarch 2,17

    Cherry Tomatoes & variety of herbs would be nice to grow.Thanks

  47. Kim
    KimMarch 3,17

    I would grow micro greens, herbs and lots of sprouts which we love. Would also start tomatoes, cucumber, pepper plants and more for my garden. I am an avid gardener but don’t have windowsills or much natural light in my place so the garden growlight system would be great. Love your website and all the wealth of info it contains and your awesome projects.

  48. Mary Cichocki
    Mary CichockiMarch 3,17

    Love your blog. I look forward to each new post. I would start seedlings to be transplanted into my garden, then grow flat leaf parsley, basil and salad greens to use all year long.

  49. Rachel Gogan
    Rachel GoganMarch 3,17

    I’d love to be able to grow my own greens like that!

  50. Cora Wells
    Cora WellsMarch 3,17

    I’d grow basil, lots and lots of basil. It is an herb I adore but seem completely incapable of growing!

  51. Crystal
    CrystalMarch 3,17

    Oh please please!! I’ve been wanted to grow alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, and cilantro in my kitchen!!!

  52. Heather
    HeatherMarch 3,17

    I love it. I would definitely use this to keep a variety of herbs going!

  53. Brita
    BritaMarch 3,17

    I would grow lettuce for sure! Then I’d probably start some garden seeds!

  54. Dee
    DeeMarch 4,17

    We bought one of these last year and used it to start our tomato..pepper..and eggplantfor our deck garden. We just started our seeds for our garden and were discussing how stupid we have been for not using it all winter to grow greens..(which we spend a fortune on!) THAT WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN!

  55. joyce
    joyceMarch 4,17

    I love to start my parsley (lots of it to use as an edge for my flower garden).

  56. Holly
    HollyMarch 4,17

    I would definitely use it to start tomatoes for the garden and then would use it to have a herb garden in the house. I can’t seem to keep rosemary plants alive over winter, not enough sun in the house in Alberta winters.
    Love your blog!

  57. Trish Barger
    Trish BargerMarch 5,17

    I’d like to have fresh greens all year long. Would love to try one of these!

  58. Jaclyn Reynolds
    Jaclyn ReynoldsMarch 5,17

    I would grow herbs!

  59. Ande
    AndeMarch 5,17

    I’ve just started sprouting and venturing into micro greens! I attended a class at a local nursery recently. So excited for this!

  60. Yulia
    YuliaMarch 5,17

    Chives! I’ll grow chives! And arugula.

  61. Rhonda Bargery
    Rhonda BargeryMarch 6,17

    I root cuttings ( or try to anyway) this grow light garden is just what I need !

  62. Jaclyn Reynolds
    Jaclyn ReynoldsMarch 6,17

    I would grow herbs in our kitchen!

  63. Therese Ramirez
    Therese RamirezMarch 6,17

    I would grow lavender to make my beeswax soaps with. Mmm, it’s going to be amazing to win! Thanks for the chance :)

  64. cynthia
    cynthiaMarch 7,17

    I Would be growing fresh herbs to use in my dishes and salads, just to be able to have fresh herbs available on hand would be awesome, thank you for the chance.

  65. Cultivar
    CultivarMarch 8,17

    I started with one of these and got the bug for growing my own, i then upscaled to a greenhouse

  66. DEBBIE RETTMANN
    DEBBIE RETTMANNMarch 8,17

    We have been wanting one of these, for So Long!!!! We want to grow our herbs, “within fingers reach”, in our kitchen!!! This would be Awesome!!!!!

  67. Linda
    LindaMarch 8,17

    I would grow arugula on my countertop so I could have baby arugula to eat all the time.

  68. Clare
    ClareMarch 11,17

    There are so many opportunities… I have been wanting to grow fresh herbs in the house for ages, this would be perfect! Also seed starting for my outdoor garden would help lower the cost. This may be what I request for my birthday:)

  69. Frances L Baker
    Frances L BakerMarch 14,17

    I would love to try salad green, maybe start seedling for outdoor tomatoes, all kinds of herbs, just anything to get my hands dirty and to say YES I did this on my own, i am worth something. Thank you so much for posting, just found your site and I love it.

  70. Jacki Pintal
    Jacki PintalMarch 15,17

    I love fresh herbs. I would grow thyme, oregano, and basil on my counter to.

  71. Joanne Coderre
    Joanne CoderreMarch 15,17

    Greens, greens and more greens! I eat them every day in eggs, smoothies, salads, soups, sandwiches, pizza…can’t get enough.

  72. Ana Ziegler
    Ana ZieglerMarch 16,17

    I would grow the herbs I usually use (parsley, basil and rosemary) but would also like to try lavender, for some reason I’m never successful keeping lavender alive for more than few months. Also would try to root cuttings from my beautiful 15 year old gardenia.

  73. Anne Weber-Falk
    Anne Weber-FalkMarch 16,17

    I would grow herbs and start seeds for various flowers

Leave a Reply