A green space for urban gardeners

Four dollars and a dream: is a windowsill lettuce crop possible?

I'm hoping that this lettuce will survive and thrive on my condo windowsill.

Here's hoping this leaf lettuce will survive and thrive on the windowsill of my Chicago condo.

We’ve talked about growing heirloom tomatoes as an entree into recession gardening, well, now dare we dream of cultivating a companion crop of lettuce, too?

I recently read somewhere in cyberspace that it was relatively easy to grow lettuce on your windowsill — and to keep it going! And while I always assumed lettuce required lots of space, who am I to argue with the Worldwide Web.

So today, when glancing at the plant offerings on flats outside my local grocery store I stopped and took notice of the lovely cell packs of lettuce and thought: I have an empty windowsill, so why not put the hypothesis to the test?

So for $4, I got four sets of three small cell-packs of lettuce (red and green leaf). If, like me, you buy the bagged, prewashed salad greens, you know that it’s quite common to pay just about that much for one 10-ounce bag… The thought of a continual crop for the same price is too seductive to resist.

Of course, the care tags don’t give you much information, so this will have to fall firmly into the learn-as-you-go category. My windowsill has a southern exposure, so we’ll start with good light and regular watering and feel our way forward from there.

But, I’m open to any tips fellow gardeners have to offer, so if you’ve grown lettuce successfully on a windowsill, let me know. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of one of my favorite salads: mixed lettuce, red seedless grapes, crumbled blue cheese, walnut pieces and raspberry vinagrette.

And once my heirloom tomatoes are ready to harvest, the creative possibilities grow exponentially.

[Thanks for visiting City Diggity, please check out my archives for previous posts that you can take into your garden. And don’t forget to leave a comment; I want to know how your garden grows.]


  Elaine wrote @

I’m curious to see how this works out. My southern windowsill will be free once all my seedlings are transplanted outdoors. I’m considering growing leafy greens there for the rest of the year.

  Lynne wrote @

Wow! Lunch at your house every day!!
curious as well to see you grow lettuce.

  Dawn wrote @

It looks like you’ve got cut and come again varieties which would be ideal. Have no experience of windowsill growing but I do find lettuce surprisingly tough and able to recover from a little wilt.

Good luck!

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

[In response to: Four dollars and a dream: is a windowsill lettuce crop possible?]

What seedlings have you planted for your rooftop garden?

Oooh! See, I’ve learned something already: “cut and come again”! I’ll remember that. Thanks for the tip!

We’ll have to have a sampling party and have people bring their homegrown tomatoes to mix with the lettuce!

  Sarah wrote @

How is your lettuce doing?

I never had luck growing lettuce in containers, or in the ground – it never grew, or the rabbits got them before it did, so I’m interested in hearing how yours is.

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

My lettuce is struggling right now. I still have hope that it’ll adjust and thrive. I’ll do a post with a thorough update later.

  Sarah wrote @

Thanks Avis! I’m looking forward to it.

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