Friday, February 14, 2014

Fighting the Winter Blues

Every fall when I know the ground is getting too cold to hold my favorite crops I get the blues.  Yes, the commitment to my garden can be a chore at times.  Somehow that is vastly overshadowed by the thrill of watching my tomatoes ripen, or creating that tasty dish right from my own back yard.   A few years back I knew I had to find a way to overcome those blues.  I needed to come up with a way to fulfill my joy of growing and cooking my own crops all year round.  It wasn’t that hard to come up with a plan either. 

One way to get started is to plant seeds in the soil that are very tolerant to the cold temperatures.  Lettuce, Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are just a few that no only survive the chill, but also come packed with nutrition.  Spinach, Kale and Collard Greens are also very hardy.  You can see a pretty consistent theme.  Late fall and winter crops tend to be high in iron, calcium and potassium.  Keep these crops happy and you’re sure to get the recommended daily requirement.  Bite for bite they are the best savings account you can build for your health.

Another way, and by far one of my favorite, is to move the gardening inside.  Container gardens come in maybe shapes and sizes.  They also come in assorted prices.  My best option for a container garden is to purchase strong and sturdy storage containers (usually when they are on sale after the holidays) and place them in a sun filled room.  It is also very easy to make your own hanging container of jugs or bottles.  These are best for herbs and such and smaller plants.  To see how I made my own inverted container see Success With The Inverted Container.

The container garden has several advantages.  I have two container peppers, one green pepper and one jalapeno pepper, growing in my breakfast nook bay window.  My husband dug them up in the fall and put them in plastic buckets, so I moved them inside.  It’s nice to watch them grow in the sunlight bathed window.  I walk from my kitchen just a few steps to my bay window and pick a pepper when I need one to prepare a meal with.

When gardening in winter there are options.  Indoors vs outdoors?  Indoor you have the comfort of picking crops while avoiding the frigid cold.  Outdoors you have the pleasure of enjoying the sun and air.  And yes it is true that crops harvested outdoors will produce more vegetables.  But, why choose?  You can always take advantage of both.

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