Hate letting your green thumb wilt during winter? If you have the time and space, there is a way to garden year-round from the comfort of your own home.
For starters, you’ll need plants that are able to thrive in less-than-ideal light, and are small enough to grow and mature in a pot. The National Gardening Association (NGA) recommends the following plants for an indoor garden:
- Arugula: This zesty green provides a great boost to salads and is a good source of folic acid and vitamins C, K and A.
- Blue Boy rosemary: It only reaches 24″ in height but still packs in a ton of flavor.
- Dwarf sage: A little more compact than regular sage, same strong flavor.
- Mache: A European green with an almost minty flavor.
- Tom Thumb lettuce: Loose leaf, sweet and about the size of a tennis ball.
- Spicy Glove basil: Less than 12 inches tall.
- Stevia: This little plant has leaves that can be 10 times sweeter than sugar.
- Spinach: Smooth-leaf varieties include Hector and Olympia and are somewhat disease-resistant.
- Radishes: Quick growing and a spicy burst of flavor during the winter months.
- Carrots: Round varieties are best for indoor growth and the wispy tops are a great to mix in with your regular salad greens.
The root vegetables and lettuce will require deeper pots than the herbs. Clay or plastic pots will work for most, just ensure each pot has proper drainage.
Typically, all of these vegetables will need six to eight hours of sunlight and temperatures that don’t dip below 60 F. South-facing windows offer the most daylight. Grow lights provide a great supplement to the natural elements.
Keep the soil moist but monitor it close to prevent overwatering. For the herbs, the NGA recommends watering less often and more thoroughly, waiting until the soil is dry before applying water. Make sure each vegetable container has good drainage.
The NGA recommends potting soil over gardening soil as garden soil can be too dense to use in containers and smaller planters. They also warn of microbes and insects that live in the garden soil that can impair vegetable growth. Using a liquid fertilizer is also recommended to provided added nutrients to the soil.