The Gardener’s Rake tip for November 10, 2008 is for raising vegetables indoors . If you want a few fresh garden vegetables during the winter all you need is a sunny window or a windowsill.
photo credit: erix!
I grow mustard, spinach, several lettuces, onion and radishes on one windowsill and herbs in a hanging planter. I already have a nice crop growing and will be starting a new crop soon. I also grow cherry tomatoes and at least one experimental plant each winter.
Here are a few steps and supplies to help you set up a windowsill garden.
- Fresh soil… I heat it in the oven to make sure it is sterile.
- clean pots
- small pebbles or rocks
Start by making sure you pots are clean. I fill the pots with good soil and place the pots on a tray with rocks. This will insure I have good drainage and that the plants have a humid atmosphere. Humidity in the air promotes healthier plants.
A window with southern lighting or southwest lighting is the best for garden crops. I like to have 6 to 8 hours of light. If you don’t you can always supply additional lighting. I plant my seeds a cover with clear plastic to help them germinate quicker.
Once the plants have germinated I remove the plastic. I also water from the tray instead of on top of the soil. This prevents soil mold. If by chance you get soil mold (A light white look to the soil top) cut back on water and use artificial lighting to dry the top of the soil. You can also add a couple of sprinkles of baby powder to the top of the soil. I also water once a month with chamomile tea, which helps prevent bacteria and helps to prevent the mold.
photo credit: cygnus921
As the winter progresses you may want to use a liquid fertilizer or compost for more nutrients. I also change the soil in my pots once during the winter when I am replanting crops.
Growing a few fresh vegetables gives you produce without chemicals and with today’s high prices will help your food budget. It is amazing how much you can grow on a windowsill! It also adds color to your rooms and reminds me of spring and the summer that will follow. I also have a few flowers mixed in the vegetables too for more color.