Bringing Your Garden Indoors
Lady Byrd Johnson said that ‘where flowers bloom, there is hope.”
Now that the chill in the evening air hints at inevitable winter, this is the time to plan the indoor garden. Why? Because flowers really do bring hope for the middle of February and we will soon be aching to remember the warmth of the summer and promise of spring. Indoor gardens can also be used to decorate for the holidays, add fresh flavours to your meals, and give your air-tight home a wonderful fragrance of fresh, plant-purified air.
You do not need a green thumb to keep an indoor garden flourishing throughout the winter. All you need are some pots, plants, or seeds, and a once a week watering to enjoy some indoor beauty, no matter the weather outdoors. With just a little preparation and planning, you can bloom all winter long.
If you plan on bringing some of the outdoors, inside, you will need to think about preparing your living space to ensure your plants get the most southern exposure to the sun that you can offer. This means you should arrange your pots near bright windows, on plant stands, or shelves that offer the most sunlight. Try to avoid placing your plants too close to heat registers as this will dry them out too quickly.
When it comes to plant pots, it is important to make sure to choose the right size pot for what you intend to grow. Ensure that each pot has a tray underneath it to catch excess water, and to save your flooring from any water damage. If moving your plants around is difficult, there are plant pot trays with wheels on the bottom that allow you to wheel your plants across the floor and save the strain on your back.
Plants only do as well as the medium they are grown in. Regular potting soil is not enough to keep our plants thriving all winter long, so be sure to enrich it with compost, peat, and maybe even a little manure for plants that bloom into flowers, as they will need the extra nutrients. Herbs should be grown in well-rotted compost material instead of manure, just to be safe, as you can use the herbs to cook with and eat, cut straight from the pot, with no washing required.
Tropical plants like the ubiquitous spider, dieffenbachia, and mother in laws tongue, are incredibly low maintenance plants that do not need anything but sunlight and regular watering to keep your indoor air fresh. But if you desire that spark of hope in the dead of winter that only a bright beautiful bloom can bring, there are a number of plants that will bring delight. Bulbs like Amaryllis, hyacinth, daffodil, and tulips are the easiest and will bloom in December if you start watering it in September, plus they are easy to plant and can be stored in the basement for outdoor spring planting once they finish their blossoms indoors.
Herbs like parsley, chives, coriander, and lemongrass can be planted together in multi-level pots, but require a little more attention because they need to be harvested regularly to keep them producing. When it comes to herbs, the key Is to use your herbs every day.
Provided they get enough sunlight, you can even grow ever-bearing strawberries inside, giving you the sweet taste of spring long before it arrives.
Decorating for Halloween with Chinese Lantern plants, gourds, or miniature pumpkins on the vine, adds colour and interest inside your door, while poinsettias, red daisies, and short sunflowers can add panache in December. By February, miniature roses could be blossoming, and by March a pot of clover, or cress.
The key to success is to not over-water. A good drink once per week should be enough to keep your plants thriving, but fertilizer will be needed to obtain blooms. Fertilizing once per month will bring great results, but you can even add a tablespoon of Epsom salts or crushed eggshells to your watering can once per month to give a much-needed boost of magnesium and calcium to your plants.
There is nothing more inspiring and comforting than fresh fragrant blooms on your kitchen table, fresh herbs in your dinner, or the lush colours of all shades of green inside when everything outside is grey and ghostly. Bringing the garden inside is a sure sign of hope for sunny days to come – and Lady Byrd knew about hope.
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