In most areas of the country, winter marks the end of the growing season. While some people hang up their gardening shears when the cold weather rolls around, the winter is actually a great time to grow crops indoors and enjoy the benefits of ingesting produce. From herbs and vegetables to everything in between, here is a list of indoor crops that are great for winter wellness.
Herbs are easy to grow indoors during the winter and can often yield several crops. However, they need a lot of sun and should be placed in small pots in the sunniest part of the home. Best of all, you can trim herbs as they grow and preserve them for later use.
Basil is popularly grown for its flavor and anti-inflammatory properties. You should plant this herb in a pot that is at least four inches in diameter and has proper drainage. Basil needs frequent watering and lots of sunlight. Pruning basil leaves will result in higher yields and should be done when the leaves are about six inches in height.
Chives are loaded with vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, making them a prefect crop for winter wellness. Chives need a container slightly larger than six inches in diameter and should have plenty of potting soil. Chives don’t need a lot of sunlight and thrive in partially shaded environments. Water frequently and harvest by snipping individual leaves, making sure to leave behind some leaves for future harvests.
Vegetables generally need larger containers than herbs and more sunlight. Although they require a little more maintenance, they also yield a larger crop, making them perfect for growing indoors during the winter.
Carrots contain high levels of vitamins and minerals such as niacin, thiamin, folate, potassium, and manganese. They are also a good source of carotenoids, which are great for the eyes. Carrots should be grown in containers that are close to two feet deep with plenty of drainage. Space the seeds an inch apart and thinly cover them in soil. The soil should be kept moist, but not too wet. It typically takes around two weeks before the seeds start sprouting.
Garlic greens are similar to scallions and are considered a superfood. These plants are also great at fighting high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol. Start by breaking garlic bulbs and planting them half an inch down in soil. Place the container in a sunny location and water frequently. You should start to see green shoots in one week. Once the shoots reach eight inches in height, they are ready to harvest.
Leafy greens require a little more upkeep, but can be grown with success indoors. The biggest issue with these plants is that they need more sunlight than a winter day typically supplies, which means you will need to supplement them with grow lights. Leafy greens require around 10 hours of sunlight every day. You can get around the light problem by using the greens from carrot tops as a substitute. Just cut the top off the carrot and place it in a shallow bowl filled with half an inch of water. Place the bowl in direct sunlight and the greens will start to grow in no time.
Growing mushrooms is basically the complete opposite of growing herbs and veggies. Mushrooms like dark and low-draft locations, such as cupboards or pantries. They also require unique compost that contains mushroom spawns to help with growth periods. Mushrooms should be watered frequently and kept in temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees. As far as health is concerned, mushrooms are a great source of vitamin C and fiber.
Tomatoes take a little more effort to grow indoors, but the work is well worth it in the end. After all, tomatoes are chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Start by planting seeds in a small pot that contains starter soil and place it in an area that gets plenty of sunlight. You will eventually transfer the plant to a larger container that should include stakes to support the weight of the fruit.