when i started my seedlings
in late march/early april, i experimented with trying to grow lettuce indoors (i want salad year round!). I got a plastic container (for storing toys/sweaters) at the dollar store and filled it about halfway (about three inches deep) with potting mix. I scattered seed
and put it under fluorescent light (quite close to the top of the container, on a chain so I could later raise the light, always keeping it within a couple of inches of the tops of the plants). more days than not, the light is on for 24 hours. watering was a mix of sprayer and watering can - mostly responding to how the plants looked and how the soil felt, and every two weeks i added a little "food" to the water. i dunno whether it matters, but the basement is cool (in the temperature sense; the basement is most definitely NOT "kewl").
within days, seeds
were germinating and I've been enjoying beautiful & delicious mixed lettuces (loose leaf) for at least the past six weeks. There's no sign of bolting and all the heads are still producing nicely. All of the other seedlings
have moved outside (the first went in the ground today!!) and i've direct seeded lettuce outside, but i'm going to continue the basement greens. in fact, i'm going to start a second container so that there's a continuous supply.
the best part is that my late night snack can now be freshly picked salad without having to grab a flashlight and go outside.
i don't know which of these things mattered, but i'm pretty sure that the fluorescent light, the potting mix (as opposed to soil) and the light feedings all were part of the success.