Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"When the weather outside is frightful" FOOD GARDEN inside!

Ok- I keep delaying this post because I want to reflect on this year's growing season....but literally I don't have ANY TIME to do that! I went from ripping out my tomatoes and saying goodbye to my summer veggies, to hauling manure, gathering leaves, digging new beds, picking my fall garden bounty, planting garlic and planning my winter garden!

So my new mantra for this season is, "when the weather outside is frightful", just garden INSIDE! OK, I know many are wondering what this really means- and I am not talking about growing food in a greenhouse, or anything hightech like hydroponic. It is quite simple - I can grow healthy veggies and greens ALL WINTER by:
  1. investing in a grow light and growing a few select veggies
  2. growing micro greens
  3. sprouting greens

So exciting! I already invested in grow lights last year to help with sprouting seeds in the spring, but now I will put them to better use. I think I am so excited about trying these indoor gardening techniques because I am trying to go all winter without buying any veggies from the store. I diligently canned and froze and dehydrated my garden just so I could enjoy them in the deep of the winter. Supplementing these veggies with some fresh greens will keep my spirits high until the spring comes again. My inspiration comes from two sources, The Adventurous Gardener by Nancy Wilkes Bubel and the Pinetree Garden Seeds Catalog (http://www.superseeds.com/). They have dictated that this winter I will be growing (drum roll please..)

  • Lettuce (bibb and boston lettuce)
  • Radishes- take about 6 weeks to develop and are abit milder than those grown outside
  • Carrots- the short variety
  • Chinese Cabbage- grows tender, crisp and delicious under lights
  • Beets- won't grow to the outside garden size but a small bunch in February will do!
  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Dill

I plan to also grow some container greens. As stated in the Pinetree catalog, "micro greens have recenlty become the rage in trendy restaurants. They can easily be grown in a window box or under lights. After the third set of leaves begin to develop, begin to take cuttings with scissors. You can continue cutting every few days for several weeks." Note this is different than sprouting greens...well at least I think so! The micro greens I got are:

  • Healthy Blend Mix- includes broccoli, spinach, a number of lettuces, and kale
  • Pinetrees Kitchen Sink Mix- huge blend includes many greens, lettuces, chards, onions, and herbs.
  • Bok Choy-Ching Chang- basically baby bok choy. Can start cutting within 45 days and continue to harvest the delicious leaves for another 40 or so days.
  • Seedling Pea- restuarants hav begun using these tasy pea leaves in salads and they are very easy to grow. Start cutting leaves after a month, 10 days later blossoms will appear, and 20 days later some of the cutting will include small pea pods. This is a branching variety so you can continue to cut over a long period.

So there you go! I will keep updates of my progress and hopefully I will be eating well this winter!