The calendar says we are still in the middle of winter and most of the country would likely agree. But, if you don’t live in one of the southern states, it feels like spring is still weeks away.
In North Carolina, the daffodils are blooming, the trees are budding and the birds are singing loudly. It feels like gardening season is almost here.
But, what if you live in a place where gardening season comes late and leaves early? A few years ago, a couple from Alaska were being trained to become Health Ministers and they asked us how they could continue to eat fresh vegetables when their growing season was nearly non-existent.
As we pondered this question, we soon realized that there are many others who live in a small apartment in a large city where sunlight and soil are scarce.
Recently I saw on Facebook a post that said “If everyone were to grow a small garden of their own, the high price of food would fall quickly.”
As nice as that sounds, can it really be true? Can people really grow their own food?
The easy answer is absolutely! While you may not be able to grow all of the food you need, hey, every little bit helps, right?
Here are some great ideas that the urban gardener should be thinking about as Spring is just around the corner.
Foods that can be grown inside year-round:
Whether you use a mason jar, a burlap bag or a pre-made sprouting container, sprouts are noted for increasing the vitamin and mineral content of a seed by over 300%. The conditions are always favorable to grow a sprout because it doesn’t require hours of sunlight to produce the results.
Any seed from radish to broccoli can become a wonderful sprout that adds not only flavor but exceptional nutritional value to your smoothies, soups or salads.
These popular greens are showing up in your grocery stores and in Farmer’s Markets all over. They also come with a hefty price. Once you learn how easy they are to make, you will be saving money in your pocket and adding great nutrition to your daily diet.
The nutritional value in herbs is unparalleled and may even be unknown. These century old plants have been used medicinally likely before they were used for flavor enhancement.
The list of herbs is much longer than given below, but the most common ones are shown here.
Container Gardening (Inside)
Before you get started, here are a few tips that will be handy to keep in mind no matter what plants from the list you choose to grow.
- All of these plants require well-draining soil, which means you will either need to use a pot with holes in the bottom or pile up some stones in the bottom of your pot before adding soil (so that the water can drain through the stones). If you choose to use a pot with holes in the bottom, be sure to put a shallow drainage container under the pot so the water doesn’t drain onto your floor, shelf, or windowsill.
- For each of these plants, feel free to purchase potting mix at a garden center or make your own (You can also choose whether or not you want to stick with organic soils). Each plant grows best in a slightly different soil environment, but this general potting mix recipe will help get you started.
- Many of these plants grow best in areas that receive lots of sunlight and remain fairly warm throughout the day. Sunny windows are extremely helpful for growing plants indoors. However, if you don’t have sunny windows (or if the area is a low temperature), grow lights will be your new best friend — they help maintain optimal light and temperature conditions for plants regardless of outside weather or indoor conditions.
Here is a list of plants that you can grow inside your house—there were several that left me pleasantly surprised:
As I researched for this blog, I was amazed at how easy it is to grow not only indoor veggies but also fruit as well. I never imagined growing my own lemons or mandarin oranges. Imagine the cost savings if you could grow even half of these yourself!
Whether you grow your own veggies or purchase them fresh, you can always pickle them and increase the probiotic value of them as well as create a great new flavor. Fermenting vegetables is easy and needs only a week, unlike the days where 6 weeks and a horrible smelling house were the mainstays for making sauerkraut. Check out the Perfect Pickler for a quick and easy way to ferment foods.
Paul and I travel an hour once a week to a Farmer’s Market that provides all of these exciting vegetables and fruits. However, this season, I am going to try to create some of our own gardening options so we can enjoy less time on the road and more time with our grandkids!
You don’t need acres of land, long growing seasons or even a green thumb to enjoy fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruits. All you need is some ambition, soil and quality seeds. Water and sunshine too!
So, make some time to search the internet and find out how to grow your own veggies inside of your home.