Locally grown sustainable food is becoming a true 21st century trend, as the process of food production and delivery becomes less and less mysterious to us. So, what are some of the ways we can take control of what we eat, add some green to our green lifestyles, and to keep our hand in local consumption all at the same time?
Winter gardens are certainly one way, particularly gardens that we manage indoors during those months. To talk about some ways to plan yours, writer and winter gardening enthusiast Doug Clayton is here to outline the how-tos and wherefores of planning a winter garden that actually can turn out to be an all-season garden.
Spring might be just around the corner, but you don’t need to wait another month to start growing self-sustaining garden of your own. If you’ve got access to a basement or a little extra space on the window sill, growing fresh produce is an option even in winter months. In this blog post, I’ll outline how you can get started with winter gardening this season so you’ll have fresh produce by the time spring finally does come around.
Find a green gardening space indoors
First things first, assess the amount of space you’re willing to dedicate to your garden. Ideally, a well-lit basement or recreation room will work best since there is less traffic and typically more room to store large plants. But some extra space near a window or door will work fine as well. Jot down the square footage that’s available for your future garden onto a note pad and move on to step two.
Choosing what to grow in a green garden
The amount of space that’s available in your home will play a big role in determining the plants you’ll want to grow. Limited on space? I recommend starting out with some hearty herbs that don’t require a lot of effort to maintain like chives. Chives will take up little space in your home, grow easily, and can be used to season a variety of dishes, including a variety of dips or yummy summer salads.
Larger plantings and indoor winter gardens
But let’s say you’re a bit more ambitious and fortunate enough to have a larger indoor space in which to base your own green garden. In that case, I give you the green light to start growing larger plants. One option that I highly recommend is Arugula.
Arugula is a hearty leaf that can grow in almost any soil type and requires little in the way of care aside from regular watering.This plant also thrives in cooler, damp environments making the basement the ideal location for Arugula to grow.
Winter gardens and salads all year round
In my home, salads are a healthy staple that I like to serve with almost every meal. Fortunately, lettuce is another crop that enjoys cooler temps. Traditional lettuce seeds can also be found a just about any grocery store or supermarket making this a convenient choice for beginners.
Winter gardens and light sources
One of the biggest challenges of growing plants inside your home during winter months is of course finding enough light. If you’ve got plants located near a window or in a sun room this may be sufficient light to ensure a strong harvest. However, if the plants are completely removed from sunlight or you live in a part of the planet that receives just a few hours of sunshine in the winter months you’ll need to get some extra help in the form of artificial lighting.
Fortunately, the cost of entry for lighting is fairly inexpensive. Personally, I recommend LEDGrowLights but you can go to just about any local hardware store or Lowe’s and they should be able to direct you a similar product (probably at a lower cost).
Lighting tips for indoor green gardens
A couple quick tips regarding lighting, try to keep LED lights about six inches from your plants to ensure they receive enough light. Also, keep in mind that lettuce and other plants will grow larger over time so you’ll want to be able to easily adjust the positioning of the lighting to ensure they receive the appropriate amount of light.
No need to wait for spring
Finally, remember to provide basic care for your plants. I’ve outlined a few hearty selections in this post, but you’ll still need to provide consistent watering and fertilize the soil for best results.
In conclusion, I hope you’ve learned that there’s no need to wait until spring has sprung to pull out your green thumb. If you’ve got any additional winter gardening questions, feel free to leave questions in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to respond.