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Growing edibles inside in the winter

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It's cold and miserable outside and unless you've got a cold frame going with cold-resistant vegetables, you are going to be limited to growing indoors. This isn't that hard to do as long as you have realistic expectations about which plants will do well growing indoors.

Some plants need a lot of light and heat to produce fruit. Tomatoes and peppers are not good candidates for indoor growing except for the smaller varieties such as Golden Harvest or Heirloom Cherry tomatoes and Cayenne or Jalapeno peppers. These will still require direct high energy light and heat that can be provided by a grow light, an Aerogarden or similar appliance. Sunlight in the winter, even in a southern facing window, tends to be diffused by clouds, is of shorter duration and has rays in northern climates in winter that produce less energy. You could grow greens in a windowsill since they tend to favor cooler temperatures and less intense light anyway. Rosemary, sage and other herbs can winter inside by a sunny window. These plants will also do well with a grow light or indoor growing appliance. Make sure the plants don't become root-bound or the nutrients and water won't be able to nourish the plant.

A good candidate for indoor growing is the mushroom. Kits are available that include compost, a container and spawn. They need a dark, warm place to grow and can be harvested fresh within weeks. Small carrots (the round or globe variety) and small radishes can be grown in boxes and deeper pots. These would probably need grow lights to get the right amount of light and heat. Getting containers deep enough onto a windowsill might prove difficult. Check online sellers of gardening supplies for equipment helpful for growing indoors. Aerogarden sells units that are good for growing greens, herbs, tomatoes and peppers. If you have an enclosed balcony or porch, you could look into a Garden Tower or something similar.

You don't have to give up on gardening in the winter. You can keep growing edibles inside with the right equipment and a little ingenuity. Mushrooms, herbs, greens, and cherry tomatoes grown indoors can supply fresh, organic produce for your winter meals.



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