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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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