05 Aug

How to Grow Fresh Greens in the Winter

Raeby Rae Patterson

 

Want to know how to grow fresh greens in the winter? Don’t fret! With a little creativity and a lot of leafy love, you will be on your way to delicious, organic veggies even if it is freezing outside. Here are two awesome methods to grow fresh greens in the winter.

 

  1. Indoor Window Gardens

bottle-garden

 

This hobby is growing in popularity and is not as difficult as you might think. All you need are the right location in your home and the right seeds. Tomatoes and peppers (miniature varieties suggested) are perfect for this method. Since these take more time to push through the soil, click here to learn how to grow them in hanging upside-down bottles.

Your plants are going to need around 6 hours direct sunlight, so observe the way the light moves through your rooms over a few days and pick the room that receives the most. If you have a south-facing window, that will be your best bet. It is not only the sunniest but also the warmest spot in your home during the winter.

 

Simply gather a few pots, planters, window boxes, or even empty cans and jars. Any container will do, as long as you use high quality potting soil. If you have fertile garden soil outside, you can take from that supply to fill your pots, giving it time to warm up before planting.

Cold hardy and easy-to-grow plants are perfect for the dimmer sunlight of winter days. Here are some good choices:

 

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Beans and peas – These are pretty home décor and perfect for apartments! Remember to give them something to climb: bamboo sticks or twine.
  • Culinary herbs like basil, parsley, and mint
  • Edible flowers such as lavender, violets, or calendula – Use as seasoning or in some hot tea.
  • Sprouts, such as lentils, radish, and quinoa – Click here for tips on growing. These only take a few days to poke their heads out of the soil!

Be careful not to overwater your indoor plants. They won’t be drying out from the sun as much, and the water can rot their roots.

 

  1. Hoop Houses and Other Coverings

window-garden-ground hoop-house

 

If you want to brave the harsher outdoors, there are ways to protect your gardens there. Harvey and Ellen Ussery of The Modern Homestead discuss forms of “protected growing,” or “putting into place a structure that can help mitigate winter’s extremes.” They remind us to try to get outdoor plants “well established by the onset of ground-freezing temperatures.”Cold frames, purchased or homemade from window frames, and cloches, “also known as bell jars,” are possibilities for protecting small gardens or individual plants.

hoop-garden

 

Hoop houses are made for larger areas of gardening. If you already have an outdoor garden, protect it with “a series of large hoops or bows … covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic” and just keep right on growing, simply changing to more cold-hardy plants. You can even build your own. The materials and instructions are simple and can be found all over the internet.