Growing vegetables and herbs indoors over the winter is a good way to supplement your diet and can also lead to learning opportunities for children.
What vegetables can I grow over winter?
According to Gateway Gardener, a gardening blog, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach and kale grow pretty well inside. They’re relatively low-maintenance and do well in partial shade.
Other easy plants to grow include many herbs like oregano, parsley and basil.
Related: Herb gardens give many benefits
If you have the space, try growing tomatoes and peppers. Remember, if you’re growing tomatoes and peppers, you may need to supplement sunlight with grow lights. Another thing to keep in mind with growing tomatoes is a stake will be needed to prop the plant when it bears fruit.
Where can I grow my plants?
Ideally you’ll want your plants to get sunlight throughout the day. Some plants like tomatoes and peppers may need more light than the winter sun can offer. In such cases, buying some grow lights may be in order.
Window sills, if properly sealed from drafts, make a great place to set your pots or other containers.
Pots vs. other containers
According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the only requirements for a vegetable containers are the following:
- Must be big enough to support plants when they are fully grown
- Hold soil without spilling
- Have adequate drainage
- Never have held products that would be toxic to plants or people
It’s easy to see how people have become very creative with their planting containers.
Instructables user tokala built an indoor window box out of tin spouting and a couple of pieces of untreated wood.
Related: Adding pallets to your garden
If you have extra canning jars after this year’s harvest, there’s a way to turn those into a cheap and creative wall planter.
Watering and fertilizing
Water your plants as you would outside. Keep in mind that the air inside your home may become dry over winter due to your furnace. Check your plants’ soil for moisture every few hours.
Fertilize according to the maker’s instructions. The West Virginia Extension service says that plants grown inside will grow less quickly, thus requiring less fertilizer.
Because your plants are growing indoors, the risk of pests is somewhat lowered. But, some pests do thrive inside. Pests that can live indoors are include: mites, whiteflies, mealybugs and aphids.
Colorado State University Extension has a great resource page that details how to control each of the indoor pests that you may experience.
Related story: Three ways to extend your gardening season