Guest Blog Post by: Tim Graham of the Yard & Garden Guru
There are many gardeners, who are very passionate about what they do and grow in the garden. Unfortunately, when winter comes with hard frost, it is not possible to produce and harvest many vegetables. There are some simple ideas, that can be cheap to implement and will allow you to grow vegetables over the winter.
As there will be restrictions in the space you can allocate for this your number of vegetables will decrease yet with the right growing conditions your plants can produce high yields of vegetables.
Getting Started Tips
Once you have decided what space you can allocate there are a few things that will differ from growing vegetables outside.
Lighting – vegetables will require plenty of light to grow. If they just have the bare minimum of light, your plants may grow yet growing vegetables might just be out of their reach. Growing lights can help here and can produce the extra lighting your vegetables need. Even if you are planting close to a window, your plants may not receive enough light to fully mature.
There are many growing lights you can choose, the range from cheap which are okay for houseplants or to very expensive which would cover an indoor garden. The best middle of the road options is compact fluorescent bulbs. These give off good light without the heat and can be placed closer to your vegetables.
Vegetables grow best between 65-75F with a slight variation either way. If your plants become too hot, they will be weak and stunted, and if they are too cold, they may get yellow leaves that fall off.
This can be the most significant challenge for any indoor vegetable growing. Winters usually are drier than summer and can lead to the following problems:
- Vegetables lose their leaves
- Your plants look withered
- The tips of the leaves begin turning brown
To increase humidity, you can mist your vegetables daily or place a tray of water close to your growing area.
Soil and Fertilizer
If you are growing indoors, it might be the possibility you have to purchase a growing medium. This should be loose in your hand as it encourages root growth. Many organic soils are pest free, and they will help the drainage from watering. Vegetables will require extra nutrients; an excellent organic fertilizer can be purchased and used at the time of watering as per instructions.
Types of Vegetables you can grow
- Peppers, Salad Greens, Kale
- Chard, Carrots, Onions
- Tomatoes (cherry types the best)
- Many herb types.
Windows and Window Ledges
Windows can make a great indoor greenhouse area for smaller vegetables and herbs. To make this greenhouse window choose an inset window and measure the width and the depth of the window recess. A good strong glass is needed to support the weights of the vegetables so a visit to a glazier will be handy.
The glass should be ½ inch thick and can be sanded to rid any sharp edges. To fix these into place, all which is required is molding strips which are cut to length. Drill the small holes and screw them to the window frame and place the glass on top with a felt support on each end.
Any shelves are ideal so long as they let light through. These can be placed by any large window
These are easy and very cheap to make. They are also very effective and once constructed they can be placed on your patio to face the sun.
To make these find a used pallet, one with a solid top is more than ideal. Make supports at the back and then on either side fasten a diagonal piece of flat wood to the front corners of the pallet.
A triangular door can be constructed and connected to the rear upright with two hinges. The most substantial expense comes in the form of the multi-purpose heavy duty clear sheeting. 3m x 4m is the ideal size.
Now cover and secure the sheeting all around the framework. These are quite similar to the 4 tier PVC greenhouses which you can purchase, yet a DIY greenhouse is much cheaper to buy and construct and gives you a higher growth area.
This is super cheap and is tall enough to grow tomatoes on poles.
If you wish to utilize a larger space indoors, an old table placed in a space where there is some light can make a tremendous growth area. These are ideally suited to low growing vegetables and herbs rather than taller things such as tomatoes.
All you require for this are larger pots or containers with at least 8 inches depth for your veggies to grow in. Your vegetables can gain natural light from the window and be supplemented by growing lights which can be suspended above all your vegetables to offer them the correct amount of daylight.
It is possible to grow anywhere in your home following this procedure, although a lot more light is required.
All watering and temperature vegetable garden tips will be at the start of the article.
Growing veggies in containers can be fun. Most people think of containers as round pots, and in many cases, this is true. Containers though can be anything that is large enough to hold the vegetables or herbs you wish to grow.
As you have complete flexibility with containers you can choose any area of your home to grow vegetables. You are not limited to a just a window; you can place your containers on a balcony. As the weather becomes colder, you can bring the pots indoors and put them in an ideal area.
You can even use a shelving unit which stands close to a balcony door; this can comfortably accommodate smaller containers that are large enough to grow a few veggies.
One other container type many people often forget is hanging baskets. If you have a suitable location, these can be attached in areas that have enough light, and the growing conditions are favorable for your vegetable.
All it takes is a little imagination, and you can have fresh vegetables all year round, just keep an eye on the watering and any drips you may get on your floor. Get that sorted and your good to go.
About the Author
Tim Graham is a blogger over at YardandGardenGuru.com where he writes about his passions in life yard care, gardening and the outdoors. Outside of this Tim usually finds himself knee-deep in lawn clippings, weeds, and grandchildren.