It’s the middle of winter, but produce is expensive and it’s so much more gratifying to plant and grow your own food. If only summer would get here sooner. But you don’t have to wait until summer to reap the benefits of a vegetable garden.
The Yard Butler, professionals in landscaping and weed control, have helped us put together this list of ways that you can start your garden in your home this winter.
- Choose what you want to grow.
The first step to starting your indoor vegetable garden is choosing what you want to grow. Do you want a salsa garden? Tomatoes, peppers, cilantro. Or maybe you want zucchini, broccoli, lettuce, and carrots. Whatever you want, decide on that now and go pick up the seeds for it. You might even be able to get some good deals on seeds during the off season of gardening.
- Get your containers.
You can make, buy or reuse containers for your little seedlings. The best thing to do is plant them in something that is either biodegradable or something that you can remove them from easily for transplanting when they get larger.
Egg cartons and empty yogurt cups are both great options for starting your seeds. Just make sure you use something that will let excess water out, so your seeds don’t rot and mold.
Later on, if it’s warm enough outside you can move the developed seedlings to your garden. Or if it’s still cold outside, you can transplant them into larger containers.
- Find a location.
If you’re going to have an indoor garden, you’ll need to have a space dedicated to it. This can be in a garage or unfinished basement, or maybe even an empty room in your home that gets good light and has a hard floor (for any messes that might happen). You’ll want to make sure that wherever you decide to start your garden, especially at the beginning, that stays warm. Large windows that let in a lot of sunlight or space heaters can help with this.
Be aware that many plants can get quite large, so if you are planning on keeping your plants indoors, you’ll want a large enough space for them to grow.
- Start your seeds.
Get some good soil (you can find this at most home and garden stores). Place the soil into your containers and plant your seeds. Most seed packages have the directions on how to plant them (how deep and the number of seed).
If you are going to transplant your seedlings as they start to grow, you will want to make sure the timing is right – planting them about 3-6 weeks before the last Spring frost is a good rule of thumb if you plan on moving them outside.
- Water your plants.
As your seeds are starting, watering them can be a fine art. It is extremely important, but you also want to make sure you don’t over water them. Starting with a spray bottle and making sure the soil is moist at all times is a good place to start. To help retain moisture, try covering the containers with plastic or damp newspaper. Just be sure to remove this once the plants break through the soil.
- Give them light.
Open up those windows if you were able to put your garden near some windows that allow the sun through (without letting in a lot of cold air). If you aren’t able to plant your garden near a window, then you can use artificial lights.
You can use fluorescent LED bulbs as a replacement for natural light. Keep the lights about 6 inches above the plants, moving them up as they grow.
- Watch your garden grow!
Continue to take good care of your garden, giving it plenty of water and light. If you plan on transplanting, do so before your plants start producing food and before they get too big.
Enjoy your garden!
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