#WinterGrowingChallenge Update #2

#WinterGrowingChallenge Update #2

Moving into January and the second month of our #WinterGrowingChallenge I’ve decided to step up my seed-sowing activities. Initially I had imagined I would be eating delicious leafy green salads every night when I undertook to grow my own greens, yet I’ve eaten a mere 3 salads since the start of this project. Sure that’s more fresh greens than I would have otherwise had, but I want more!

premature pea shoots
Premature pea shoots growing in the window.

This is the fourth week of the challenge. In the first week I sowed 3 trays of seed, and another 3 trays in the second. Then in the third week I repurposed the bottoms off 2 gallon milk jugs, a half-gallon cider jug, and the little plastic tray from mushrooms purchased at the grocery store and sowed 4 trays. This morning I sowed 5 of the aluminum half-loaf pans.

The majority of what I’ve sown has been the dwarf grey sugar pea seed I purchased from Johnny’s─at least 2 trays of this per week. I’ve also tried the daikon radish, the cressida cress, broccoli, Johnny’s mild micro mix, and the bull’s blood beet. Of these, the peas, radish and cress have performed best under the particular growing conditions I am able to offer─that being cold.

Maine, like much of the country, has been suffering through some brutally cold temperatures. It’s hard enough for Paul to keep the trailer warm under average winter conditions without the added pressures of an Arctic blast to contend with. While some of these varieties tolerate the cooler temps in our house, the beets have been exceptionally slow to germinate and grow. I’ve decided I won’t bother with them again this winter.

radish shoots
The daikon radish did well even in the cooler temperatures of our home.

As we move into January with the chaotic holiday season behind us, I’m stepping up my sowing schedule in order to be able to eat more leafy greens. 1 salad per week is just not enough lol, and I have yet to have enough to offer them to my kids, which is important to me. So for the remainder of my #WinterGrowingChallenge I will be increasing my seed-sowing from 1x weekly to 4x weekly.

New Sowing Schedule:

Monday          x
Wednesday   x
Thursday       x
Saturday        x

I recently purchased a pound of gray striped sunflower seed for shoots from Johnny’s to add more diversity to my shoots mixes, and I’ve added alfalfa sprouts to my indoor salad gardening regimen. I like growing sprouts in mason jars and have done it off and on for years (check out this article I wrote on Sprouts: Easy, DIY Winter Greens to learn how you can do it too!), and the alfalfa gives you a good charge of greens from just a small amount of seed.

January is a rather cold and miserable month, and after the gluttony that invariably comes with the holidays, eating more leafy-greens seems like a smart cure for the winter blues. Not only is it healthy and tasty, but with the #WinterGrowingChallenge I’m growing these vibrant green plants that refresh and inspire my spirit. I’m thinking I’m going to do this every winter from now on!

Who else is growing shoots or sprouts this winter? Leave a comment to share with us your favorite varieties to grow indoors during the winter, and stay tuned for more from Runamuk coming soon!


  1. Darlene Mathieu

    Hi, my name is Darlene and I live in North New Portland and I follow your site. I decided to plant some sprouts after reading your challenge. I printed your instructions, saved containers, and ordered Johnny’s Micro Mix, Daikon Radish micromix, and dwarf grey sugar peas. I mixed my soil and soaked the Micro Mix yesterday. Today, I made my first tray. Micro Mix has very small seeds and after soaking and draining, how can they be spread on the soil without overlapping? They fall in clumps because they are wet….am I missing something? Is there a trick to it? I have my first tray covered with wet paper towels and put it in a drawer. I’ll wait to hear from you before planting my other seeds. Thanks!

    1. Samantha Burns

      Hi Darlene! Thank you for participating in the #WinterGrowingChallenge! I had more trouble with the smaller seeds too. What I wound up doing was draining them, then I tapped them out of the sieve directly into the tray in a line down the middle. Then I just kinda spread them out best I could in either direction. It was definitely a little tedious, but not horrible either. Sometimes the soil coated the wet seeds and made it a little easier to separate the wet clumps, and I would just press the seeds into the soil to get them to unstick from my finger lol. The bigger seeds were easier to manipulate for sure.

      I hope this helps! Can’t wait to be a resident of New Portland along with you!!!

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