Tips for Indoor Winter Gardening
One of the easiest ways to improve your mood during the winter months is to keep your indoor garden growing, green, and bountiful. You can even use these wintry weeks wisely to prepare for your spring and summer gardens. Here are a few wise tips to keep your indoor garden healthy even when it’s snowing, below freezing, and dark outside.
Find The Light!
The Colorado sun is amazing during the winter. As it lowers in the southern sky, more sunlight can enter our south facing windows for a greater portion of the day. If you have plants in your home that love basking in the sunlight, move them into a window where they can see the sun. Be careful of plants that don’t need a lot of sun and are used to indirect light. Even the winter sun can damage them. If these low-light plants find themselves in extremely dark spaces, move them into the main living rooms where light feels abundant, but they are still out of the sun.
Another way to enhance the lighting in your home is to buy full-spectrum LED lights.They come in all shapes and sizes and can be inexpensive. With these grow lights you can arrive home from work and turn them on for a few hours to keep them thriving without moving them in the winter. Grow lights also stand in as general room lighting, with a bit of color sometimes.
Winter brings cold temperatures and strong winds. If your home is drafty, or your windows radiate cold, it may be best to look into keeping your plants warm during the winter. Keeping your plants in the sunlight during the day will definitely help keep them warm. Moving your plants off windowsills at night may also be wise. If you have a room that’s particularly cool, or your plants are too large to move daily, investing in heating mats is an option. This is a low-energy way of maintaining the temperature of your plant’s roots, which is vital for plant health.
Time Your Starter Plants.
If you plan on gardening in the spring and summer and want to save a little money, start your starter plants indoors during the winter. If you live in Colorado, it’s always wise to wait until after Mother’s Day to plant your flower and vegetable gardens. There’s always the threat of a springtime snowstorm. With that in mind, look at how long it takes each seed to germinate and grow to a healthy stock before transplanting into the ground. It’s typically a good idea to start your starter plants in March, before April, but some plants do well indoors and can be started in the middle to late February.
The best plants to start indoors, especially in Colorado, are Tomatoes, Peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cabbage. You can grow leafy green vegetables indoors, and probably bring them to a harvest indoors. Leafy greens don’t typically like to be transplanted; not as well as tomatoes. You can, however, plant leafy greens like lettuce, collards, spinach and kale in the ground in the late winter for a spring harvest. Some of these vegetables like cooler temperatures and don’t do as well in our summer heat.
Who doesn’t love seeing blooming flowers in the dead of winter? Most people know about Amaryllis, Paper Whites, and the Christmas Cactus for winter celebrations. There are many plants that bloom during the winter. There are more fragrant flowers like Jasmine that bloom in winter months, or the quaint African Violet, which grows lower but blooms beautiful little bursts of flowers. Do a little googling and find your favorite winter blooming plants and add some beauty when the winter doldrums set in.