So you’ve done some container gardening on your balcony or patio, and you’ve even grown some vegetables as well as flowers and herbs. But what if you’ve enjoyed the experience so much that you don’t want it to stop during the winter months? Is it possible to create a container garden indoors as well as out?
It certainly is, to at limited extent at least, but you’ll need some prerequisites. You may not be surprised to learn that the first of these is sunshine. If you have a sunny window, preferably facing south, that will be the first ingredient in your container garden’s success. You may also need an added fluorescent lamp that you can focus over certain vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, to provide enough light so they won’t grow spindly or fail to grow fruit.
Up to a point, you can prepare the containers in much the same way you would do for an outdoor garden, with the right soil mix, plenty of drainage, and so on. However, these pots are likely to be quite a bit smaller, and being indoors in the winter, they may not have as much humidity as they need. One way to get around this may be to set your pots in large trays instead of on saucers, sitting on a layer of small stones, and have water in the trays. This will not only help them access water as they need it, but it will increase the humidity that surrounds them as well. Another difference between indoor and outdoor containers will be that you’ll need less fertilizer, since the vegetables will grow more slowly inside the house.
The choices of plants will of course be more limited than in an outdoor container garden. But you can grow radishes, smaller peppers and tomatoes, several lettuces, and of course, many herbs. In addition to the usual herbs like sage, basil, thyme, etc., you a grow parsley, chives, and cilantro as well. You can grow these in six-inch pots on a windowsill.
Radishes will probably be the most quickly growing vegetable you can start with. Take a six- or eight-inch pot and scatter seeds on the moist soil, then cover with another 1/4 inch of soil. To make the seeds germinate quickly, try a “greenhouse” effect, either setting some glass over the pot to conserve moisture, or stretching some plastic wrap on it, until the seeds have germinated.
Small tomatoes, peppers, and certain kinds of lettuce will grow indoors, but will need warm, bright conditions. With the tomatoes and peppers, you’ll need to keep an eye open for whiteflies and aphids, and eliminate them with insecticidal soap or another vegetable pesticide when or if they first appear. You should be able to harvest both tomatoes and peppers about ten weeks after you plant them. Small-rooted carrots can also be grown indoors.
Your choices of vegetable will be more limited with indoor containers than with outdoor, and you’ll need to guarantee the required conditions for their growth. But you can still have at least a partial garden to keep you through the winter, and remind you of all the possibilities of your outdoor container garden in the coming spring.
With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...