Kitchen Gardening: The Cure for a Green Thumb's Winter Blues

Kitchen Gardening: The Cure for a Green Thumb's Winter Blues

With the first snowfall of the winter only a few weeks away, the outside landscape has made its final transformation from lush summer green, and autumn gold, to… brown. Though the ground will soon be painted with a thick layer of winter snow, right now everything feels crunchy and dull. Those of us with green thumbs are counting the days until the Spring returns, and beginning some early preparation for the planting season. If you find yourself staring at the ground and wishing for green, I have a solution for you.

Indoor gardening is one of the most rewarding winter hobbies, and can help you transform your indoor landscape. Though standard houseplants are a joy to have in any space, they don‘t usually provide you with easy-to-access produce throughout the year. By setting up a garden in your kitchen, the growing season never really ends! It’s a fairly simple operation to set up, and can provide you with fresh produce throughout the winter. There are some plants that are easier to care for than others, so here’s a quick guide to some easy indoor produce options:

The easiest edible plants to grow indoors require little more than some good dirt, the right watering schedule, and a sunny spot to stay. Herbs such as oregano, sage, lavender, mint, thyme, and rosemary, are all easy indoor plants you can keep in your window. Of these options, mint is the easiest to cultivate indoors, as it has the highest shade tolerance and only requires a few hours of direct light per day. For herbs and houseplants, you want to give them a good long-term home. Herbs need a light soil that drains easily, as their root structure is relatively fragile. Though you may need to tailor a mix to your needs depending on how heavy of a feeder they are, many houseplants and potted herbs are happiest in our Purple Cow Organics Seed Starter Mix or our Purple Cow IndiCanja.

Leafy greens are also an easy indoor growing project. Lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens grow well indoors, but need to be placed in a sunny, south-facing window in order to grow successfully. These greens also can’t be grown to maturity indoors without artificial lights, so harvesting them as baby greens will give you the most success. Leafy greens need a more nutritious soil base in order to give you a long-term supply of produce. That’s why our Purple Cow All-Purpose Veggie Mix is the perfect home for your larger greenery!

Another popular, but easy, choice for indoor produce is microgreens! Microgreens can be best cultivated in a seedling tray filled with soil. There are many varieties of microgreen that you can grow, but the easiest to cultivate are radishes, broccoli, cabbage, arugula, and Swiss chard. Soak your seeds overnight to get them started, then place them in your tray and cover with a thin layer of soil or press into the surface. Our Purple Cow Organics Seed Starter Mix is the ultimate home for growing microgreens, because germinating plants is what it’s designed to do! Spray with water to prevent disrupting the seeds, and watch them grow. Harvest once the first leaves emerge.

Some indoor edible plants are harder to maintain, or require some special equipment in order to grow properly. The most common accessory you’ll need for an indoor growing operation is a grow light. Many plants are partial-shade, and don’t need extra exposure to UV light, but they require a warm environment in order to ripen the fruit or vegetables they’re growing. For these picky plants, here’s a rundown of what you might need and how to care for them.

One plant that needs a specialized environment in order to grow is carrots! They’re relatively easy to grow once they’re fully set up, but the construction takes a bit of time. Carrots are harder to grow because they require a deep pot to mature and grow to full size. However, if you have the right setup, they don’t require much maintenance. Sprinkle your seeds on top of the soil and keep moist until germinated. After that, thin out the plants if they grow too thickly and water when the soil is dry! The biggest hassle when growing carrots is cultivating them in a medium where it’s easy to pull them out, and where there isn’t a lot of material to mess with the root structure. Our Purple Cow All-Purpose Veggie Mix amended with our Purple Cow Bioactive All-Purpose Fertilizer is a good choice for growing carrots indoors because it contains soft material that the roots can easily break through, without getting caught or hung up.

Hot peppers are also a great plant for indoor growing conditions, but they do require a bit of an investment in order to have a successful harvest. Peppers are a high-feeding plant, which means that they require a lot of nutrition in the soil in order to grow. Our Purple Cow IndiCanja soil mix has all the nutrition that hungry peppers need to be able to thrive, but they still need some extra attention to provide a good indoor harvest. Peppers need warmth and a good 8-10 hours of direct sunlight per day in order to mature and grow fruits. Your plants in the kitchen window may get a few hours of sunlight per day, but in order to meet their full growing needs, you may have to purchase a grow light. 

Cherry tomatoes are another high-feeding plant that you can grow indoors. Full-size tomatoes are extremely hard to grow in your kitchen, and likely won’t grow to full size even with a grow light to supplement direct sunlight. Cherry tomatoes are easier to grow in indoor spaces, and have a lot of the same nutritional and lighting needs as peppers. Because it's designed for high-feeding vegetables, Purple Cow IndiCanja is a great mix for tomatoes indoor or out! You could also try our Purple Cow All-Purpose Veggie Mix, and then amend it with Bioactive All-Purpose Fertilizer or Purple Cow Tomato GroTomato Gro is a quick and easy way to supplement the soil for all high-feeding plants, indoor or outdoor.

Indoor gardening is an incredibly rewarding winter hobby, and can provide fresh produce and a change in the color of your indoor landscape. If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to keep your green thumb active until Spring, try your hand at growing your favorite vegetables indoors!


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