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How to Grow Food Indoors in Winter

How to Grow Food Indoors in Winter

There’s nothing quite like being able to pick fresh vegetables and herbs from your garden to cook with, but that really isn’t much of an option when it’s -10 degrees and snowing outside, is it?

Well, it can be. As long as you have some potting soil, containers, and a spot in your home that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight, you’d be surprised what you can grow indoors over the winter months.

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What You’ll Need To Grow Food Indoors

  • High-quality potting soil
  • Containers (these could be planters and pots, or even empty cans and jars)
  • Vegetable and herb seeds
  • Twine (if growing beans)
  • A sunny spot

If you have a south-facing window, chances are that you’ll get a significant amount of light over the course of the day. The area near that window will also be the warmest spot in your home, so that’s where you’ll want to grow your plants.

What Will Grow?

Lettuce

Incredibly easy to grow, as well as very cold-hardy, you can grow an assortment of lettuces in a simple window box that you place on a sill, or on a table close to a sunny window. Just get yourself a packet of mixed cut-and-grow-again lettuce seeds, fill that planter with soil, and sow the seeds according to the packet’s instructions. You should see sprouts within a week, and within a month, you’ll have lovely lettuce leaves to gnaw on.

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Kale and Cabbage

Like lettuces, brassicas are notoriously easy to grow, and do well all through the winter months. In fact, if you live in a place where the weather doesn’t dip far below freezing, you can likely grow these outside all winter long, provided that you have a cloche or cold frame over them. To grow them inside, follow the same instructions as with the lettuces, only sow the seeds a bit further apart, as these plants need more room to grow than lettuces do.

Arugula

Sharp and spicy, this leafy green is a wonderful treat any time of year, and is as great on sandwiches as it is in soups and salads. Sow it generously in a window box or planter, but don’t water it too much: it’s easy to drown arugula roots. As soon as the leaves are a few inches tall, clip down down near the root; the leaves tend to get bitter when they get larger, and if you just cut them back, they should re-grow.

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Tomatoes and Peppers

You can actually grow these a couple of different ways: in a windowsill planter or in an upside-down pop bottle planter. The latter is my favorite method, as it allows the plant to channel all of its energy into growing fruit, rather than pushing itself upright. Considering that winter sunlight isn’t anywhere near as strong or warm as it is in summertime, this really is the best option.

Beans

Not only are these the easiest things in the world to grow, they can also be quite pretty as house plants. My favorite way to grow beans is to stretch twine over a canvas frame, and secure that to a window. Sure, as the beans grow they’ll obscure a bit of the view, but enough light still gets through to illuminate the indoors, and seeing all of that greenery in the dead of winter is really quite lovely. If you don’t want to go the twine route, you can just stick long bamboo poles into the pot of soil, and lean those against a wall.

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Culinary Herbs

It’s lovely to be able to add fresh herbs to anything you’re cooking, and with the exception of dill (which needs a lot of sun and heat and is very temperamental), you should be able to grow just about any cooking herb you can imagine. Woody herbs like rosemary, thyme, and oregano do very well in window boxes, as will cilantro, winter savoury, and chives.

Edible Flowers

It’s unlikely that you’d be able to grow nasturtiums or hibiscus during the winter months, but you can absolutely grow lavender, violets, calendula, and (if you’re patient), sunflowers.

Sprouts

Undoubtedly the easiest foods to cultivate indoors, sprouts can be grown on your kitchen counter and be ready to eat within a couple of days. I’d recommend visiting Sprouting.com for resources on how to sprout (including instructional videos) as well as tips on where to get the best seeds and legumes to sprout at home.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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