What to Grow in the Winter and How to Succeed With Your Crop
Enjoy saving money by growing your own vegetables but not sure what to grow in the winter? Even if the season is likely to strike with snow and ice where you live, there are many tools and techniques that can extend the growing season of certain crops like spinach, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and kale.
The gift of a fresh winter salad doesn't come easy, however. If you're willing to keep your green thumb busy this winter, plan to invest some time and money.
Planting in the Great Indoors
Plants thrive thanks to a combination of the right light, water, temperature, nutrients, humidity and growing medium. There are many ways to give them what they need in an indoor setting.
You can plant them in containers with nutrient-rich soil in sunny spots of your home, for instance. Or you can avoid using soil altogether and opt for the hydroponic method in which plants grow in a solution of water and nutrients and have their roots supported with materials like perlite. There are many hydroponic kits on the market that can be used indoors.
Regardless of your method, even the sunniest real estate in your home may not provide enough light to meet the requirements of your crops. You may need to add artificial light setups, which range from single grow lights to more elaborate systems with lights and shelving. Other add-ons to look into include a fan to keep air circulating and pest control measures.
You can also grow your vegetables in a greenhouse, which is designed to absorb sunlight, trap heat and protect plants from harsh elements. Greenhouses offer a lot of flexibility. You can grow plants in containers, raised beds or with a hydroponic system. A greenhouse can even allow you to grow some plants that wouldn't otherwise thrive in your climate, such as lemon trees.
If you don't want to build your own structure, you can buy a greenhouse kit to get started. Either way, plan to keep your wallet open for other potential costs like heaters, supplemental light and shelving.
Like outdoor gardening, planting indoors involves many variables and requires a serious dose of trial and error. You may find that some varieties of lettuce grow better than others, for instance. You may also need to play around with the amount of artificial light and water you provide.
If such a setup isn't in you budget, consider getting your local produce from a winter farmers market instead. Many grocery stores offer local foods and you can use handy tips to keep your grocery store spending to a healthy level.