Beat Winter With an Indoor Garden
Indoor Gardening Basics
Winter isn't a very exciting time of year for a lot of gardeners. It's too cold outside for mostly everything to grow,and even if it were possible to grow things, most people just don't want to deal with the cold. It doesn't have to be that way though. Even having some herbs in a window box can be a big morale booster for a bored gardener.
Starting an indoor garden doesn't have to be a major undertaking. There are five factors that you do need to consider though.
- The space you have available is probably going to be the biggest factor in determining what you can and cannot grow. Spare rooms, closets, and even cabinets can be used as the space for your new garden if you set them up right. By recycling old shelving units, or making your own shelves, you can easily give yourself the ability to grow vertically. This will create new space for you to grow.
- Unless you have a lot of windows, light is probably going to be the most expensive factor to consider when planning your indoor garden. Save money by choosing LED grow lights as your light source. Make the light available more effective with the use of shiny things like mirrors, Mylar, and even aluminum foil all around your grow room to reflect it.
- When it comes to containers, make sure that you either get self watering containers, or containers that have drainage holes and drip trays for underneath them.
- Quality potting mix full of organic materials will both hold water,and drain it off and save you a lot of headaches.
- Fertilizers shouldn't be skipped. Even if you buy a potting mix that already has a fertilizer in it. Use liquid fertilizers exactly as the packaging instructions say to.
If you can supply all five of these things that plants need to thrive, then you should be able to grow pretty much anything that you want. These five vegetables are easy to grow indoors and very low maintenance, but will still give you comfort in knowing that you have roots in the soil:
Okay, so maybe herbs aren't quite a vegetable. My focus here though is to try to get you to have something green and healthy to satisfy those gardening urges when everything outside is all white and gray.
Herbs will do just that because they don't take up a lot of space. Most herbs only require five to seven hours of sun a day, and grow pretty heartily at room temperatures. And also, when it comes time to cook all of those holiday comfort foods, you can just go to your indoor garden and add your own touch of freshness to your meals.
Herbs that I have had the best luck with in the past, in my indoor gardens are:
I've heard them called green onions, early onions, scallions, and bunching onions. No matter what you call them though, these things are going to grow for you indoors. By practicing cut and come again harvesting methods, a windowsill planter and 20 or 30 seeds will have you harvesting from them all year long.
All you need to grow green onions indoors is some dirt, water, a planter, and a window. If you can give them eight to 10 hours of light a day then you will be able to notice a big difference in them every single day. They won't do quite as well with five or six hours a day, but they will grow healthily nonetheless.
To harvest green onions, all you need to do is cut them off about two inches up from the soil, and rinse the tops that you just cut off under running water. This leaves enough of the plant established in the soil to regrow. With my experience, another harvest can be taken from the same plant again in three days to a week.
Radishes are are a joy to grow indoors because they grow so fast. The greens and the roots are edible, and add a fresh, peppery crispness to the usual Winter foods.
Growing Radishes for Greens
If you choose to grow your radishes for the greens alone, pay no attention to spacing. Scatter your seeds on the top of the soil as thick as you see fit, and then cover them with a fine layer of soil and water them. As soon as they start producing true leaves, harvest all but one leaf from as many plants as you need to harvest from and they will regrow for you.
Growing Radishes for Roots
Space your radishes about two inches apart if you want to grow them for the roots. They will require eight to 10 hours of light to produce enough energy to form the radish itself. Read your seed packet instructions for a harvest time on your specific type of radish, but I have harvested mature radishes in as early as three weeks from my indoor garden.
Carrots are a great addition to the indoor garden, because they are good to snack on fresh out of the soil. They are also called for in a lot of Thanksgiving and Christmas dishes. And though most people don't eat the greens, when the carrot is young they are pretty good as well.
I strongly suggest growing a type of carrot that won't get much longer than five or six inches, and in a pot that is eight inches or deeper. With eight to 10 hours of light most of the shorter varieties will be mature in about 60 days
Leaf lettuce varieties will benefit the indoor gardener quickly, and often. Cut and come again harvesting methods will provide you with salads, sandwich toppings, and leaves for low carb wraps all Winter long.
Again, since cut and come again harvesting methods will be practiced, seed your lettuce as thick as you want to. Then cover it with a fine layer of soil and water it in. Lettuce can survive on five to six hours of light a day, but for quicker growth, eight to 12 hours is even better.
Harvest the leaves after each plant has at least three true leaves. Two can be carefully trimmed off, leaving the third one to continue to collect light for the plant. This can be repeated about once a week, all Winter long.