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Desk garden

Desk Gardens and Indoor Garden Trends

Here a garden, there a garden, everywhere a garden!

These days people of all generations, especially millennials and urbanites—as the fastest growing segment—are into growing their own food. We hear from folks regularly, who are interested in beginning gardening, who’ve just gotten started, or who are long-time gardeners. Most are steadily increasing their garden spaces.

A study conducted by the National Gardening Association on growth in gardening, confirms that. Gardening is a growing interest and a growing industry.


It’s inspiring and gratifying to see so many creative ideas and a burgeoning market of new products that help people garden, even when they don’t have space. Today there are all kinds of plant towers2), plant pyramids,3) vertical wall hangers,4) and other creative ways to grow plants and food even in limited space, such as these colorful pots that can hang from a fence or railing.

One of the most popular selling items at our local Farmer’s Market these days are the Salad Bowl Planters. They’re lovely, have you seen them? These are so called because they’re container gardens of different salad mixes. When you want a salad, you clip from the largest outer leaves straight to your bowl for the freshest salads possible.

One of the most popular selling items at our local Farmer's Market these days are the Salad Bowl Planters. They're lovely, have you seen them?There’s nothing better for our health than organic garden fresh food. Imagine the difference in food value, taste and nutrients, when we can pluck fresh greens for a salad, straight from the plant.

From “Farm to Fork” as the saying goes. But now, we can say things like:

  • From wall to fork – using vertical wall planters
  • From planter to plate – using grow towers
  • From kitchen to fork – using kitchen grow stations (prototype pictured below)
  • From desk to fork – using things like the grow desk featured later in this article.
Nano Kitchen Design by Hyundai
Nano Kitchen Design by Hyundai, Kitchen Grow Stations, prototype drawing

Okay, so these don’t aliterate as well as “farm to fork“, but it’s exciting to see so many more people getting involved in gardening and growing their own food. We’ve started always replanting the lettuce heads we buy from the store, as well as the celery and leeks, and we pluck from them as we need it.

Place a lettuce core into a bowl of water and watch it grow.

We do the same thing with celery. It’s lovely how they look like a flower, and amazing, when you consider it’s a plant that’s been chopped from it’s root, transported, stored, refrigerated and yet even then, that root base still grows!

indoor gardening, growing celery

Year round in our kitchen window now, there are always those disposable plastic “clamshell” containers of salad fixings or microgreens growing. So greens in your desktop may not be practical for some, but these days with so much access to digital storage, some of that desktop space can be freed up to for food growing… even if it’s just some fresh herbs like mint for a refreshing nibble.


Growing celery meme

Okay, so celery takes a little longer, but it does grow, and we’ve begun clipping the green tips of the growing celery—microgreens style—and adding them to salads. Same thing with lettuce. Buy a few heads of your favorite organic lettuce from the grocer. In just days, fresh green leaves are growing.

In winter, we keep them growing in kitchen greenhouse window and clip the larger leaves for salads. In spring and summer we transplant those to the garden to become full sized heads of lettuce.

It just make sense to grow edible plants and herbs wherever you can.

In fact, we start our spring seedlings under an extra desk in our office. So while our set-up doesn’t look as elegant as the desk in this photo… it’s still making use of available space to… GROW! You can read more about our DIY grow-light stand in the article footnoted here, titled Easy PVC Grow Light Plant Stand: 5)

Under desk grow light - homemade PVC stand
Under desk grow light – homemade PVC stand

Now you may be thinking that you need that storage space for your papers and filing, and of course that would be the norm. But… here’s a tip that—like garden veggies—is good for you inside and out:

It’s healthier to get up and move as much as possible.

So, while most have created a cubby of convenience out of their desk space, to have to stand up and walk a few paces, then squat to sit back down each time we need to file something, is actually a healthier way to work if our job has us desk-bound most days.

Whether we grow at our desk, kitchen counter, garden or greenhouse, the important concept to remember is to:

Include edible plants into the rooms of our lives and not just in the garden.

We love the concept of multi-purposed lighting too. I.e., if you need a desk lamp anyway, why not make it a grow light? Thanks to this article from Gardenista, we’re going to begin replace more of our home light bulbs—especially in our office space—with grow lights.

Plants bring beauty and freshness, inside and out.

Now, for more on a garden right in your desk…

Office Garden – Have a Garden Right in Your Desk

This is such an interesting and intriguing concept! The idea of replacing paper storage with plant storage… although I’m not so sure I have less paper these days. Maybe it’s time to clear it out!

Obviously someone who spends a lot of time at the office developed the idea of a Desktop Garden and while it may not seem practical… there’s something to be said for keeping your work area fresh with healthy nibbles that nourish you without guilt. Having a grow light right there too will help people overcome the SADD Syndrome a seasonal disorder which responds to added light!6)

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 7.25.18 PMSomething like an AeroGarden might be the simplest desk or kitchen accessory. Here’s an example of that available on Amazon.

And if you’re thinking that what’s growing in that desk might be only enough to feed one person for one meal, here’s the thing: it’s about looking at snacking differently by providing ready access to healthy snacks. A few leaves of fresh chard and a sprig of basil for instance, instead of some sugary anti-nutrient in a wrapper, can be surprisingly satisfying and gratifying. The more we condition ourselves to eat this way the more we will want to, and it’s entirely possible once our tastebuds are weaned from the usual hyper sweet and salt laden foods.7)

So while we realize it may not be enough for a daily salad even (especially if you eat salads like we do in my family, the idea of breaking off a sprig of fresh parsley, basil, mint and various microgreens for nibbling, instead of unwrapping that candy in the desk drawer, has so many plusses!

The other place this has application is for urban dwellers in small spaces. When space is at a premium, having green edibles here, there and everywhere, might just make sense. See what you think.

When space is at a premium, having green edibles here, there and everywhere, might just make senseSalad Days: Grow Your Own, at Work

Photo Source, Studio SyBrandy8)

Now before you discount this as impractical, consider the incredibly positive idea of having fresh greens to graze on rather than junk food snacks that typically populate office desk drawers. You know… that junk food that is killing us slowly.9)

Next we’ll see some awesome Kitchens of the future, which are already in the prototype phase

Kitchen Gardens Are Our Future!

Homes of the future will be built around the concept of gardens indoors and out. Imagine children and adults alike, accustomed to plucking fresh produce for snacks over opening packages of devitalized, sugar-laden processed foods. A hydroponic garden where you control the source light, water and nutrients to provide fresh produce right in the kitchen! Check it out.

Kitchen Nano Garden by Hyundai (can’t find original source info now, see Editor’s Note at page bottom).
Indoor garden, growing food indoors,

Nano Garden is a vegetable garden for the apartment kitchen, using hydroponics, so users don’t need to worry about pesticides or fertilizers. Instead of the sunlight, Nano Garden has lighting which promotes the growth of plants. The amount of light, water and nutrient supply is also controllable, so users can decide the growth speed. It lets users know when to provide water or nutrients to the plants, and Nano Garden functions as a natural air purifier, eliminating unpleasant smells.

Credits: Hyunjung Lee, Jaeyong Park, Changjin Shon and Seulki Park of Hyundai Engineering & Construction (South Korea), and Ill-woong Kwon of Gromo (South Korea)Website:

Editor’s Note – Re: Credits: We could not find the original source of this on Hyundai’s site. Similarly, the photo source link no longer works. If you have knowledge of any updates on this, please advise so we can provide updates and give proper attribution).Photo source: Idea via Fast Co Design (link no longer works)

Meanwhile, there are numerous grow stations we can use indoors and out, which are a hugely popular topic. And, we also know of at least one entrepreneur who plans to unveil his grow station prototype this year, so we’ll come back here and update this article once that’s out.10)

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