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Indoor Salad: the Book | indoorsalad

Indoor Salad: the Book

book cover

What Do You Really Need to Grow Vegetables Indoors?

You’ve seen systems for $200, others for $500, expensive lighting solutions and hydroponic claims. IndoorSalad puts these technologies and more into perspective, and you into the driver’s seat.

The practical crops to grow indoors are the salad crops we eat fresh – lettuce, brassicas like kale and salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, beans, peppers, and mouth-melting tomatoes. Starting from what those crops need, IndoorSalad explores technologies to meet those needs – from the humble CFL light bulb to hydroponics. Get growing today with do-it-yourself projects for the craftsy. Or buy ready-made systems with confidence.

  • Hydroponics and potting mix – when to use which
  • Organic and inorganic options
  • Best grow projects for kids
  • 4 types of crop plant needs
  • 7 lighting technologies
  • 9 DIY projects include the author’s own inventions
  • 11 crops detailed with proven indoor varieties

Buy the Book!

Are you an urban gardener disappointed by your harvests? An Aerogarden owner suffering tomato heartbreak? A container gardener who wants to take it year-round? A black thumb that yearns to be green? Stubbornly insist that growing your own should cost less than the farm market? Bemused or offended by the price tags on indoor grow systems? Believe all kids should know how to grow food? Simply want to eat good food, bite into a tomato and mayo sandwich, bursting with rich flavor and no pesticides? Me, too.

Whether you’re an indoor gardening novice, or an experienced vegetable gardener seeking to up your game, read this engaging, skimmable book. You’ll soon be busy gardening and eating the fruits of your efforts – year round, no matter where you live. I dare you to buy this book and not harvest fresh lettuce indoors within the month.

photo of GingerGinger Booth is a mathematician turned programmer with a career in environmental science and engineering. A lifelong gardener, she tried hydroponic lettuce in her kitchen in 2007, and fell in love. Eager to share experiments, she leapt onto the Internet, but found too few people talking. So she set up as an online Dear Abby of indoor gardening to egg people on, and learn from the experience of thousands. Ginger has a condo in shoreline Connecticut, with crops spilling out onto the balconies and down the driveway. Reach her at or


Table of Contents

Preface . . . . . 4

Chapter 1: Introduction . . . . . 9

What Can You Grow Indoors?
How Do You Grow Indoors?
Book Organization

Chapter 2: Plant Tech . . . . . 16

Greens—the Vegetative Vegetables
Cukes and Beans—the Immature Fruits
Tomatoes and Peppers—the Mature Fruits

Chapter 3: The Root Zone . . . . . 25

The Potted Plant
Growing Organically

Chapter 4: Grow Lights . . . . . 50

Light and Distance
Kelvin and Colors
Fluorescent Lights
Fluorescent Options
HID Lights
LED Lights
Light—How Much is Enough

Chapter 5: DIY Grow Light Projects . . . . . 68

The Potted Plant
Project: Reflectors
Project: Lettuce and Seedling Shelf
Project: Crop Pen
Project: Aerogarden Light Boosters
Project: Aerogarden Lightscreen

Chapter 6: Leafy Vegetables—Lettuce, Greens, and Herbs . . . . . 88

Brassicas—Kale, Cabbage, Mustard, and Asian Greens
Swiss Chard
Project: Hydroponic Lettuce
Project: Lettuce in Potting Mix
Project: Lettuce Splasher—Manual Hydroponics

Chapter 7: Immature Fruits—Cukes, Beans, and Eggplant . . . . . 119

Project: A Cucumber Run

Chapter 8: Mature Fruits—Tomatoes and Peppers . . . . . 141

Project: Deluxe Crop Pen

Chapter 9: Indoor / Outdoor Growing . . . . . 165
Appendix: Shopping and Other Links . . . . . 174