Winter can be a bummer. It’s cold outside, the snow is falling, the wind is howling, and you have to wait for warm weather to return before you can work in your garden again. But who says you can’t continue to grow fresh organic veggies in your home during the frigid months?
The cold doesn’t mean you have to give up eating fresh veggies that you grow yourself. You can try working with an outdoor undercover garden, but the easiest option is to grow them inside. Keep in mind that your yields will be much smaller.
Two of the most challenging aspects of indoor gardening is the lack of natural light and the lack of wind and pollinators. On the plus side, you do have more control over water, soil, and fertility, which makes the experience highly rewarding. Indoor gardening can have its challenges as pests and diseases can follow your plants inside. The good news is that having your veggies in the house makes it easier to spot problems before they get out of control.
Getting Your Indoor Organic Garden Started
- All gardening starts with good soil, so invest in a high-quality potting mix.
- Put your veggies in containers that drain well and are the perfect size for each particular plant. Example: Greens with shallow roots should only need containers that are about 2 inches deep. If you’re growing tomatoes, they’ll need about 12 inches of soil for their long roots.
- Sunny windows are great, but they usually provide less light than plants need. Winter days are so short and the light is too dim, which means you’ll need supplemental lighting. Invest in a plant light or a full spectrum fluorescent light so your plants get all the shiny goodness they need to thrive.
- Keep plants away from windows so they’re safe from drafts. You should also keep them away from furnaces and registers that can dry them out.
Now that we’ve covered the basics you’ll need to know before you started, let’s talk about the most common veggies you’ll probably want to enjoy throughout the winter months.
Carrots are the easiest vegetable to grow inside because they’re so forgiving. Carrots can be grown easily in containers, especially the smaller varieties. They’re easy to work with because they need little space and grow quickly. If you’re growing a variety of vegetables this winter, consider using a long container like a window box. Place your carrots in the box along with singles such as one pepper or tomato plant and they should do just fine together. Remember that carrots like moist soil – give them that and they’ll sprout up in no time.
Keeping Your Garlic Happy
Growing garlic indoors can be a challenging because it’s a picky plant. Garlic thrives at about 50 degrees. Fortunately, you don’t need a large container to grow your garlic sprouts. A container 4 inches deep should do just fine. Plant the cloves 1 inch deep and water them consistently. You should see them sprouting in about a week. Harvest them once they reach 8 to 10 inches.