Growing Winter Vegetables Indoors
As the days get shorter and temperatures get colder, does anyone else crave fresh from the garden veggies? Depending on what zone you live in it could be some time before you even start seeds. But, did you know that with the right materials and a south facing window, there are several types of vegetables that you can grow indoors?
The materials you will need are-
*Really good soil– If you don’t have any excellent, composted soil, go buy some. Trying to grow food in the winter isn’t the time to skimp.
*Containers– these need to be size appropriate to your plants. They could be buckets, bowls, pots, bottles, anything.
*Seeds– I prefer heirloom seeds for several reasons, and I’ll cover that in another article, but, for now, just go with what you have.
*Sun– Like I mentioned before, you will need a south facing window. You are going to need at least 6hrs of sunlight and a south facing window is the best place to find that. It is also likely the warmest spot in your house.
*Ties– you may also need some twine or plant ties depending on what you are growing.
Now, what can you grow? The list is probably endless but I’m going to share with you what I have successfully grown.
Lettuce– Not head lettuce but the loose leaf variety. I grow mine in a large plastic salad bowl with holes in the bottom for drainage. Follow the directions on the seed pack for planting. Set in a sunny area. When the lettuce has matured, harvest the outer leaves only, leaving the inner leaves to regenerate more lettuce.
Herbs– I keep a variety of herbs growing in a window box in my kitchen. You can plant any you like. I recommend growing the ones you use the most. Nothing will make those winter soups and stews better than the flavor of fresh grown herbs. The aroma is an added bonus!
Cabbage and Kale– Like lettuce, these are notoriously easy to grow. You will need a larger container because they require more room than lettuce. They grow amazingly well inside. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t dip below freezing often, you can grow them outside year round provided you grow them in a cold frame.
Sprouts– You don’t even need a window for sprouts! You can grow these right on your counter or kitchen table. If you don’t know much about sprouts, I would recommend checking out http://sprouting.com as a resource. You can find lots of useful info from how to grow sprouts and where to gets seeds to how to use them. Super easy and super nutritious!
Beans– Beans are some of the easiest things to grow indoors or out. You can build a trellis to put in your container or try what I do. I have taken an old window frame, inserted eye bolts, wrapped it with twine and hung it in my window. Just sit the container below this hanging trellis and watch it go!
Tomatoes– I saved tomatoes for last because most people think you can’t grow them inside without growing lights. I must admit that trying to grow them in a traditional manner, for me, was an epic fail. However, after growing them in a hanging soda bottle planter, I’m a believer. This type of DIY planter grows the plant upside down. The plant doesn’t expend as much energy trying to remain upright and is then able to direct that energy toward growth. You can find instructions for making your own soda bottle planter at this link-
It’s not the biggest variety but it’s enough for me to take the bite out of winter blues. I’m sure there are more plants you can grow indoors but these are the ones I have experience with. If you are feeling adventurous, try some new ones. What is the worst that can happen?