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A Desk Garden for Office Plants and Indoor Gardening Trends

Plants immediately add life and vitality to an office desk. We love the idea of displaying more than ornamentals though. What if you grew your lunch and snacks at work in and on an office desk garden?!

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 towers, pyramid garden planters, vertical wall hangers, 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.

PHOTO CREDIT: Feature image by Studio SyBrandy

Desk Top Gardens

There are so many lovely options these days for adding beautiful plants and planters arrayed as desktop gardens. Plant lovers have to be careful in such places as it’s easy to get carried away with all the many cool options. We’ll cover some of these and then move onto desk gardens.

Salad Bowl Gardens and Desk Top Herb Gardens

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.

A couple of these can work great for someone living alone or a couple who are very light salad eaters. They can also become a garden desk for your work or home office. Imagine cubicles all around the country with greenery growing all around and on desktops.

Zen Desk Gardens, Succulents and Air Plants

Popular options include Zen Desk Gardens that are not only visually attractive, but provide a relaxing meditative break that helps relieve stress and stoke creative inspiration. You can add small succulents and airplants to your zen gardens as well.

Regrowing Vegetables

You can even grow vegetables as desktop plants. There’s nothing better for your health than organic garden fresh food. Imagine the difference in food value, taste and nutrients, when you can pluck fresh greens for a salad, straight from the plant.

Indoor gardening takes the “Farm to Fork” phrase to a new level, where it becomes “From planter to plate“!

It’s exciting to see so many more people getting involved in gardening and growing their own food. A simple way to get into growing food indoors is to regrow some of the vegetable heads of the organic produce we buy from the store.

Regrowing works especially well with foods like spring onions, celery, lettuce and leeks. Add some herbs and microgreens there you have salad fixings! We snip the young leaves as needed for toppings to salads.

Place a celery core into a bowl of water and watch it grow – great fun for children too!

A celery base looks like a lovely flower. When you consider it’s a plant that’s been chopped from its root, transported, stored, refrigerated and yet even then, that root base still grows!

The base of celery looks like a flower.

Growing Food Indoors

When you can’t be out in the garden, bring the garden indoors!

Year round in our kitchen window now, there are always those disposable plastic “clamshell” containers of salad fixings or microgreens growing. And sure… this isn’t as efficient for feeding a family of four as a full-on garden, but there’s just something really gratifying about growing something that was just going to be trashed or composted, into something more. So we regrow plants mostly in winter to help stave off the winter gardening blues.

There’s just something really gratifying about growing something that was just going to be trashed.

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. Separate out the bottom stem and place the base in a bowl of water. In just days, fresh green leaves are growing.

In winter, we keep these things growing in kitchen greenhouse window and clip the larger leaves for salads.

It’s fun and practical to grow edible plants and herbs wherever you can.

Bringing Nature Inside, Nurtures Us and Our Environment

If growing a desk garden isn’t practical for you because you just don’t have enough space, then at least get a plant or some flowers to bring life, beauty and vitality to your home and workspace. These days with so much more digital storage, some of that desktop and drawer space can be freed up to for more than papers and chocolates! 😉

It’s Like Growing Vitamins and Supplements

Grow some mint, basil or longevity spinach and nibble on a snippet each day for an amazing burst of flavor and nutrition. These kinds of natural foods and herbs actually reduce cravings for junk food. Whether I’m in the garden or inside around our plants, every day I take snippets of herbs as natural vitamins and a bite of immunity boosters.

Vibrantly healthy foods reduce cravings for junk food.

In fact, we start some of our spring seedlings under an extra desk in our office. We know many of you gardeners without greenhouses can relate… seedlings growing everywhere!

So while our setup doesn’t look as elegant as the desk in this cover photo… it’s still making use of available space to GROW! You can read more about our DIY grow-light stand in the article., and also our updated indoor greenhouse system.

Under desk grow light – homemade PVC stand

Exercise Your Right to Grow and Be Healthier!

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.

Make it Inconvenient!

So, while most people 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? We’re slowly replacing some our home light bulbs—especially in our office space—with grow lights.

Plants bring beauty and freshness, inside and out.

Tropical Desk Garden
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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 desk garden. While it may not seem practical, in fact, it’s not only practical, it can actually keep you healthier.

Don’t Improve Air Quality But Plants Do Decrease Stress

While it’s been proven that plants do NOT measurably improve indoor air quality, other studies prove that plants in your environment can help diminish stress and anxiety. Apparently the air quality myth was from a 1989 NASA Clean Air Study was done in a tiny closed chamber which is nothing like any living environment.

Desk Garden Health Benefits

  1. Having a grow light at your desk can help overcome the SADD Syndrome, a seasonal disorder which responds to added light[1]
  2. Green growing things adds a soothing natural presence that helps reduce stress and anxiety
  3. Growing herbs are like chewable vitamins, giving you snippets of fresh bursts of flavor
  4. Eating freshly grown food reduces junk food cravings
  5. You can even make tea fresh from your plants
  6. You can snip microgreens for salad toppings
  7. Herbs are healthy, healing immunity boosters

Breath Freshening Supplements

A pot of fresh parsley, for instance, keeps your breath fresh and provides a daily dose of vitamin C and more. Vastly better for you than gum, breath mints and sprays!

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Something like an AeroGarden might be the simplest desk or kitchen accessory. Here’s an example of that available on Amazon.

So if you’re thinking that what’s growing in that desk might be only enough to feed one person for one meal, you’re right. But here’s the thing: it’s about looking at snacking differently by providing ready access to healthy snacks.

It’s about looking at snacking differently.

Healthy Snacks at Your Desk

A few leaves of fresh chard and a sprig of basil for instance, instead of some sugary anti-nutrients in a wrapper, can be surprisingly satisfying and gratifying. The more you condition yourself to eating this way the more you will want to.

Once your taste buds are weaned from the usual hyper sweet, salt and preservative laden processed foods, you will grow to prefer that. Processed foods actually cause cravings because of nutrient deprivation and sensory stimulation. Consume a fresh growth salad, or snippets of herbs for snack and you’ll find it more refreshing and a natural appetite suppressant.

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.

desk garden plants
Photo Source, Studio SyBrandy

Salad Days: Grow Your Own, at Work

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. Instead, choose to nibble on herbs with medicinal and practical benefits, such as herbs that reduce sugar cravings.

Remember the mandate:

“Let thy food be thy medicine.”
Hippocrates, philosopher, 400 BC

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.

Indoor garden, growing food indoors,

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

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 and plant towers we can use indoors and out, which is a hugely popular topic. Please let us know what kind of gardening you’re doing.

You may also enjoy this article on wall garden planters where… literally… the plants make up the wall in one of the examples!

 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.
Image by Nienke Sybrandy of StudioSybrandy – for more related images on Sybrandy’s Pinterest

Let’s keep on growing!


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