Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Four Ways to Garden in the Winter

Today has been miserable, weather-wise.  A high of 45, dark clouds, wind, and even some frozen white stuff falling from the sky from time to time.  It was hail, but still!

Despite all this, being freshly moved to our City 'Stead, many boxes still unpacked, makes me yearn to make my mark on our 0.2 acres, saying, "yes, homesteaders live here now."  I suppose I've done that to some extent by putting together a compost pile as one of our first orders of business (and already having had to expand it!), but I want to plant something.

Our first mushroom growing adventure as a family, back at the Trailer Park Homestead
Sadly, by traditional means, October in Michigan is not the best time to plant most things.  Sure, I could probably put some fruit trees in if I had some or maybe stick some bulbs into the ground, but I want something we can eat soon.  Fortunately, I have ideas on how to do this, and garden right through the winter.

Method 1: protected outdoor gardening

My first idea, and perhaps the most obvious, is to grow greens and such all winter long in a protected area.  I doubt I'll have the time or money to put together a full-blown greenhouse this year, even though I've seen directions on how to build a small A-Frame greenhouse with PVC pipe & plastic sheeting for less than $50, but I'm thinking I may place a window or two I found on Freecycle at one point over one of my reclaimed barnwood garden boxes for a 5-minute and free greenhouse/coldframe thing.

Method 2: indoor gardening

The other idea I initially had was to grow my greens, etc inside under growlights.  I only have one little southfacing window (where my potted herbs have already taken up residence), so I think growlights are the way to go for indoor gardening.  Fortunately, I have some of them already from my kitchen counter garden last winter.  This year, I should have a lot more room for such a project though, perhaps in my enormous (to me, anyway) dining room.

One of my books on sprouting

Method 3: sprouting

This idea has long fascinated me, but I've never actually tried it.  I have sprouting seeds, I have jars, I even have a fancy sprouting lid thing that I'm not sure what it is exactly for yet, but I'll figure it out.  I also have several books on sprouting, so I figure it is worth a shot.

Method 4: mushrooms

This has long seemed to me to be one of the ultimate ways to grow food indoors since mushrooms don't need the light plant foods would require.  I successfully grew mushrooms from a Back to the Roots kit (see my sidebar to get your own kit) earlier this year and am inspired by that success to possibly trying more mushrooms, either more oyster mushrooms, or trying some other variety.  Regardless of the variety I try, I saw a great idea on Pinterest to grow mushrooms in laundry baskets and I would have lots of room to do so in my cellar, so this may be a major possible source for growing a lot of food indoors.

Between these various sources for fresh winter food, hopefully I can get these boxes unpacked soon so we can truly get started with our Adventures on our City 'Stead.

1 comment:

  1. Precious kids! Look at those blue eyes. You are a blessed mama