Winter Harvest – Fresh Produce in the Winter

Winter Harvest
5 Steps to take now to enjoy fresh produce all winter long    

The anticipation of pumpkins and sweet crunchy apples came in with the cool breeze thatbasil replaced the summer sun.   The last of the garden fresh veggies are coming in.  After the fall harvest is over we settle for produce picked before it was ripe and shipped in from warmer climates.  Fresh produce can grow indoors, through the winter!  Indoor gardens are great for apartment and as a way to grow produce using less water and pulling fewer weeds.  Here are five things you can do now to have fresh produce in the winter.

  1. Finding your spot. Sunshine, it may seem obvious but finding a sunny, hopefully southern facing, window is key.  Sun is the most important element in a vegetables success. In cloudy parts of the country it may be helpful to cover the window and plants in clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect.
  2. Choose your seeds. Some of the most popular indoor winter vegetables and herbs are tomatoes, peppers, carrots, radishes, potatoes, beans, peas, mushrooms and basil.  Seeds are definitely inexpensive but starts from your local nursery will give a faster crop – several weeks of waiting has already been done for you.
  3. Choose your containerA bigger container allows room for growth and retains water better. Choose a pot big enough for the vegetable you have chosen. Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better. To get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a slightly larger clay pot. A small layer of course gravel in the bottom of the container will improve drainage.
  4. Choose your soil. Choose a potting soil that is designed for vegetables and herbs. Grower’s Gold and Black Gold both make an indoor potting soil designed for vegetables and herbs.  Mushrooms require a different soil that contains the starts/spores.  If the potting soil is peat based, as most are, it may be helpful to add in coarsely ground perlite.  Fertilize with liquid fertilizer at least twice a month.
  5. Water and wait.  While water is important, it is also easy to overwater. Indoor plants use far less water than outdoor gardens so a little goes a long way. Water does not evaporate as quickly indoors so be sure to monitor the dampness of the soil.  While it is important to not over water it may also be helpful to flush the soil of plants potted with potting soils no more than once a month by taking allowing a sink faucet to slowly run into the plant until water is flowing at a similar pace out of the container.

Here are some helpful places to find help, advice and resources:
Container Gardening for Vegetables
9 Vegetables to Grow Indoors | Reader’s Digest
Potting Soil for Indoor Plants and Container Plants