Indoor cultivation this winter? Think vegetables

Due to limited outdoor production or cold plots, fresh, self-grown vegetables may be lacking. Be it the winter when you are trying to grow some vegetables in a sunny window or under artificial lighting.

Greens are one of the easiest to grow indoors. Most leafy vegetables tolerate weaker indoor light, require minimal space, and prefer cold temperatures.

Choose a container with drainage holes that will fit near a sunny window or under artificial lighting. Keep the artificial lights about 6 inches above the top of the above and other plants. Fill the container with a well-drained flower mixture and sprinkle the seeds of your favorite leafy vegetables on the soil surface. Lightly cover the seeds and moisten the soil.


Remove the overcrowded plants, called thinning, so that there is enough space for the remaining plants to reach full size. Start collecting outer leaves when they are 4-6 inches high.

Extend the time between watering and increase your success in growing this and other vegetables by modifying the soil with a moisture-retaining product such as Wild Valley Farms wool pellets (wildvalleyfarms.com). This keeps 20% of the weight of the organic and sustainable product in water and slowly lets moisture into the soil when needed.

Crispy your salads with the help of fast-maturing lettuce. Plant the seeds to a depth of ¼ inches and 1 to 2 inches apart. Use scissors to thin the seedlings at ground level and add a little zipper to the salads and sandwiches with the greens.

Expand your indoor edible garden by growing dwarf sugar peas. These and other vegetables that you eat fruit or flowers need more light. Complementing natural sunlight with artificial lighting will help increase success.

Choose shorter varieties that are easier to grow. The Patio Pride grows to just 9 to 16 inches tall, while Sugar Ann and Little Marvel can grow up to 18 inches.

Plant two seeds in each 3-inch pot, or several seeds 2 inches in a long, rectangular pot. When the seedlings reach a height of 2 inches, thin the seedlings. Leave a plant in each pot and place the seedlings 4 inches apart in larger containers. Cut the extra sprouts at ground level and use them for salads, sandwiches and fries.

Peas are self-fertile, so no bees are needed. Collect the sleeves when they reach the desired size.

Don’t forget the tomatoes. These last longer and are a little more challenging, but that’s the joy of gardening. If transplanting is not available, start the plants from seeds.

Consider growing one of the many small varieties of tomatoes that require less space and increase your chances of success. All-America Selections winner Patio Choice Yellow, Lizzano, Torenzo, and Tiny Tim and Micro tomatoes are some of the varieties worth trying.

Grow small plants in 1-2 gallon pots and larger varieties in 3-5 gallon pots. Water thoroughly when the top few inches of soil begin to dry out. After the flowers have formed, shake the stem gently to aid in pollination.

Growing indoor vegetables is a fun way to enjoy edible gardening all year round. It increases your overall gardening experience and success with each planting.

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