To grow plants indoors in winter is fun and interesting. All you need is adequate space, plant containers, adequate light and a stable indoor temperature. There are several types of plants to grow indoors in winter that can produce a profusion of fruits and vegetables. One technique for growing plants indoors is to start by saving seeds of peppers and tomatoes, eyes of potatoes and yams, and lemon and orange seeds. Dry the seeds for up to two weeks before planting. Snip off the eyes of potatoes and yams and plant them in wide, deep containers in about four to six inches of sandy soil.
Plants to Grow in Winter
Winter 2. Photo by Jamie McCaffrey
Decide what plants to grow in winter that will adapt well to your indoor air temperature, the growing environment and plants’ need for moisture and sunlight. Another consideration is how much time is available for the care and maintenance of an indoor garden. For example, lemon and orange trees take less care and maintenance than vegetables and fruits grown indoors.
Choose from your favorite species of plants, or choose several different types for more variety. If the purpose of growing indoor plants is to provide fruits and vegetables, select a variety that is used most often for recipes and menus. Radishes, lettuce, parsley, carrots and beans grow very easily in large, moderately deep containers. These germinate within two to three weeks in proper growing environments and temperature.
Don’t Forget To Grow Herbs Indoors
One of the easiest indoor gardens is a profusion of herbs. These can be decorative and useful. There’s nothing like fresh herbs in recipes. Some herbs take a little more patience and space than others. Plan your indoor herb garden around the herbs used most often in winter. Recipes that contain roasted meats, fish and poultry are enhanced with herbs that can grow indoors in winter.
Grow rosemary as an indoor herb. Rosemary grows wide and tall like an evergreen tree. Juniper berries also grow from an evergreen tree. Although, growing juniper indoors can be somewhat wieldy. Junipers are sold in pots at local garden centers. They produce dark purple berries that are dried and used for roasts and also medicinal teas.
To create a decorative indoor herb garden, purchase rosemary and juniper in a pre-potted container. Another tree-like herb to consider is bay leaf, which is part of the laurel species. Bay leaf grows indoors in pots. Make certain the bay leaf plant is one that’s specifically used for cooking and baking.
Set containers of herbs in graduating sizes between two taller herb plants for eye appeal. Place frothy containers of lime colored dill fronds next to the taller pots. Grow herbs indoors in winter to assure a full season of fresh herbs for cooking and baking.
Plant sage, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, chervil and savory in six inch by six inch deep troughs. Place on a window sill or on planter stands. Chives, catnip, lavender and anise can also be grown indoors. Allow plenty of space between plants.
Grow Vegetables Indoors in Winter
Salad vegetables are the easiest to grow in winter. Plant radishes, lettuce, chicory and baby spinach indoors in rich potting soil. These will germinate quickly and an indoor winter crop will go from winter garden to the table as needed. One of the easiest tomato species to grow indoors in winter is the grape tomato. The beauty of this plant is the profusion of small, grape-like tomatoes, ready to eat in less than four weeks. These beauties are full of flavor and are a must for salads and garnishes. Plant them in a blend of potting peat and light sand for best results. Regular species of tomatoes may also grow indoors with proper care. Although, these may take up to six weeks to produce seedlings.
Pepper lovers like to plant these veggies in several colors: green, yellow, orange and red. They also choose hot and sweet as part of their indoor pepper garden. Plant them in rich potting soil.
Beans are another vegetable that adapts readily to indoor winter gardens. Beans do need support. Once their seeds germinate, they need room to produce leaves and flowers on vines and tendrils. Place 12″ supports one inch from the base of each plant. Train the vines along the supports so that bean shoots don’t grow into soil and bean harvests don’t rot. Designer eggplant and zucchini can also be grown indoors in winter this way.
An Indoor Winter Vegetable Garden
To create the best indoor winter vegetable garden, start with a plan and a design that suits the location of the garden. For example, choose a window with morning sun for vegetables that only need four to six hours of sunlight. Select a window with full sun for six to eight hours for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and squash. Water daily for the first few weeks using a list mist on foliage and delicate sprouts.
Don’t over-water indoor plants in winter unless the growing environment is particularly dry. Certain types of heating systems such as forced air usually create a drier environment indoors. An indoor winter garden needs a certain amount of humidity so growing plants won’t dry and wither.
One tip to increase humidity in rooms with dry air is to use an electric steamer set to a moderate warm, not hot, temperature. This will help retain moisture when growing winter vegetables. Use a mild fertilizer like 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 after first blooms and seedlings appear. Indoor plants do best when fertilizer is applied to wet, rather than dry soil.
Caring for Your Growing Indoor Winter Garden
Winter 3. Photo by 55Laney69
Study germination phases for each species of vegetable before planting begins. Since the indoor winter garden can also add to room decor, stagger planting times to produce a longer lush, green appearance in a room. Plant the first group of vegetables so they can be harvested just before the last group is planted. Don’t forget to save seeds from each harvested crop. Choose seeds from the biggest and best plants. This is the basic step to cultivating hybrid plants grown indoors in winter. Experiment with cross breeding vegetables by selecting seeds from one species and planting it with seeds from another species.
Caring for your indoor garden means diligent watering and pruning off any dead foliage that will sap the energy of the plant and its ability to grow. Tomatoes should be pruned in this manner to allow the tops of plants to receive more soil nutrients and moisture. For vegetables like lettuce, spinach and kale, choose planting pots with a twelve inch diameter. Plant seeds in the direct center of the pot. Separate the seedlings into another pot if they appear crowded.
Guidelines for an Indoor Winter Garden
Keep several things in mind when considering an indoor winter garden:
. Plan and design
. Sun and moisture
. Size of planting pots
. Indoor air temperature
Fun with an Indoor Winter Garden
The most fun of any indoor winter garden is harvesting the fruits of the gardener’s labors. Dark leafy vegetables will harvest faster under the right growing conditions than tomatoes, carrots and beans.
Herb harvests depend on the species of herb. Basil, dill and sage are fast growing herbs that are harvested by simply plucking the leaves and leaving the stems. In this way, bumper crops of herbs will continue to produce two or more times.
The idea behind growing plants indoors in winter is not a new one. It may have begun with decorative indoor plants that kept the indoors from appearing too bland. Imagine how much color indoor winter vegetables or herbs offer. Adding color and providing foods is really what an indoor winter garden is all about. Growing plants indoors has other benefits. It increases the level of higher quality oxygen in indoor air and the aroma of vegetables and herbs in season make air fresheners obsolete.
For families, an indoor winter garden with a variety of plants can be a great lesson in the art and science of growing vegetables and herbs that provide food. Make growing indoor plants an educational project by seeking sites like this site that identify common herbs. To learn more tips on growing vegetables indoors, visit here.
Learn and Enjoy Growing Plants Indoors in Winter
An indoor winter garden should be planned well in advance of the season. Purchase items like potting soil, fertilizer, containers and spray misters at the local garden center before the start of winter. For an early harvest, start saving and drying vegetable or herb seeds two to three months before winter begins. These can also be purchased shortly before planting. Plan harvest time in advance for each crop so it can be coordinated to produce bumper crops during the winter months. When the days of winter seem long and endless, an indoor winter garden can be the perfect hobby for gardeners, young and old. Nothing brings a smile to faces like fresh produce grown indoors in a winter garden.