Colder weather means most of us have put our gardens to bed for the season. After harvesting the last of the fall crops, cleaning out the remnants of tomato plants and cucumber vines from the end of summer, and laying down layers of compost and mulch to rebuild the soil over the winter and early spring, those of us with a constant green thumb can feel a little restless. Fortunately, indoor gardening has come a long way in recent years, and it is more accessible than ever. Whether you have an entire space in your house to dedicate to an indoor growing tent, or simply a couple of shelves or window sills, we are all able to incorporate indoor gardening into part of our winter hibernation and grow our own food throughout the year.
Growing your own food is a skill, developed over the course of many years, and through much trial and error. Any veteran gardener will tell you just as much about their failed crops as they will their successes. Many gardeners have a strong sense of community, and are willing to contribute their knowledge and expertise to those new to the hobby, or looking to learn more about it.
Deciding which plant you want to grow will depend on how much space you are able or are willing to dedicate. Items such as herbs, lettuces, microgreens, green onions or chives take up minimal space. They can be grown in small containers and are well suited for window sills or countertops. You can also place several types of herbs in a larger pot to create a miniature herb garden that can be easily moved throughout the home. Dedicating more space to your indoor garden means you can grow more substantial crops, such as tomatoes, kale, carrots, and peppers. It’s even possible to grow potatoes indoors! You can also regrow vegetables from scraps, such as celery.
Light plays a huge role in the health of plants. Ensuring enough light will encourage rapid growth and improve your chances of success. There are several varieties of lights that mimic the full UV spectrum of the sun, and can assist with the quality of your indoor garden. Rather than relying on the inconsistency and relatively short days of the winter sun, a UV light or grow light is a surefire way to make sure your plants are getting all the UV they need to thrive.
Soil health is also integral to the growth of your garden. Keeping the nutrients plentiful will give your plants everything they need to maintain their health while they grow. Combining potting soil with compost, fertilizer, and plant food are all ways to keep the soil healthy. It is also necessary to occasionally repot plants, or replace the soil entirely for rotating crops, such as herbs and lettuces.
Healthy soil = healthy plants.
Indoor gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh food and herbs all throughout the year. It is a way to live more sustainably, and save money as well. Even as the days are short and the snow begins to fall, we can continue to reap the rewards of a well-tended garden. It also encourages us to improve our green thumbs, learn more about the plants we eat, and gets us excited about getting back to the outdoor gardens in the spring.
Until next time,
Stray & Wander