It is no secret that I like gardening. Well, it may be a secret if you don’t know me. And I guess most of your reading this don’t know me, so maybe it is a secret. Crap. I told you my secret! I never was much good at keeping secrets. What is this anyways, an inquisition?!?
Well, if you must know I have a bit of a green thumb. Spring is my Christmas. It's that time of year when I start unwrapping all my pretty little packets of seeds with a childlike giddiness and start germinating them into future salads, stews and toppings. By the end of gardening season I am a little relieved as it takes a lot of effort to keep up on the harvest, but quickly enough I find myself longing for the end of winter so I can get started all over again.
Actually, if we are being honest, and since you already know my secret about gardening, I may as well let you in on this little tidbit too: I don’t really like winter.
Yes, I know, it’s true. It is my other dirty little secret. I hate winter with a passion, even more-so than faux ripened grocery store tomatoes. Yet I live in Wisconsin. I have about as much use for winter as a congressman would have for a balanced checkbook.
Don’t think I am just being mean. Winter hates me too. Just the other week I realized Old Man Winter stole my glove. Don’t ask me how, but last year I had a pair of gloves and this year I am running around with just a left hand mitt. Yeah, so if you see a guy running around in a fedora and only one black glove, you can probably safely assume it’s the Fox Valley Foodie.
Why don’t I just buy another pair of gloves? Because, that would be letting winter win, and I won’t give it that satisfaction.
Anyways, you got me off track again. Stop doing that!
So, as I begin my 5 month protest of all things outdoors I am stuck in my house like a recluse, destined to Snapchat old ladies pictures of cats or find something a little more stimulating to pacify me till the coming thaw. Luckily for me, I don’t own any cats so I’m finding something more productive to do.
I am trying my hand at winter gardening.
Last year I kept a small pot to grow herbs in (mainly thyme) by the window sill, but this year I want to expand on that. I am already growing thyme and cilantro in a larger pot that I keep by my south facing porch door, but I noticed the pot has a lot more room for other plants.
Tonight I used up the remainder of the onions I’ve harvested from my garden this summer, so I wandered down into the basement and grabbed a few onion starts and put them in the pot. Will they grow? Probably not well. Onions typically like quite a bit more sun than what winter in Wisconsin will give them. Nonetheless, you don’t learn anything if you don’t try.
However, if you do want to grow something that has a little better chance of success for your own indoor winter garden, I have a few options for you:
Herbs: Most herbs do well growing in shade. Thyme, basil, rosemary, cilantro, etc… Since they do not need many hours of direct sunlight they are well suited to survive a Wisconsin winter.
Leafy greens: Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula also don’t need much sunlight. They grow best in cooler weather, such as a home environment, since excessive heat and sunlight can make the plants bolt and turn bitter.
Mushrooms: I have never tried to grow these yet, but I want to. So if any of you are still trying to find a Christmas present for me, hint hint. Actually, come to think of it, now I REALLY want to grow some mushrooms. Anyways… Mushrooms grow well in cool dark places, like your basement. Since they grow from spores, not seeds, it is best to use a mushroom growing kit. Unless you really know what you are doing or just have a high tolerance for failure.
When you think about those three categories, there are literally dozens of different vegetables you can start growing today in your own home. It doesn’t take a lot of effort. Just get some potting soil, dump it into a container with a hole in the bottom for drainage, do a couple of rain dances around the faucet each week and voila! You have produce!
If you actually give this a try, feel free to message me with questions as they arise or post any questions in the comment section below. If you don’t want to try this but enjoy my insane ramblings then just follow me on Facebook instead.