Indoor Greenhouses for Year Round Gardening
An indoor greenhouse is one of the best ways to extend your garden season by bringing your gardening inside when the weather gets too extreme. In addition, indoor greenhouses are one of the best ways to kick off the garden season by getting an early start with your seedling. There are a number of products that could qualify to be called an indoor garden. Let's take a look at a few favorites.
One of the best reasons to start your own seedlings is that you can pick and choose vegetable or flower varieties that are just a bit out of the mainstream. If you restrict yourself to just the varieties of plants that you find at the local nursery, you will deprive yourself of the enjoyment of a huge number of available plants. For example, in our area, tomatoes have to be grown from transplants because the spring growing season is relatively short as the summers are too hot for tomatoes. But the local nurseries only carry a dozen or so varieties (and there are many more that can grow in our area) so starting your own seedlings is the best way to expand the choice of tomato varieties.
If you are wanting to just focus on starting seedlings, there are some low cost solutions. Windowsill greenhouses are among the simplest, least expensive, and easy to set up. Often these come with the peat pellets or peat pots that you may be using already, so just add seeds and water and you're ready to go. A plastic cover placed on the top will retain the moisture, so put it somewhere that it reaches the best light. The placement area needs to be reasonably warm. If it isn't, you may need a grow light to start your seedlings.
The next step up is a set of shelves, usually with one or more grow lights in place to get your plants growing. With a simple set of shelves it's difficult to control the temperature and humidity, so this is not typically the best solution for a garage or even a basement. If you are just looking for temperature control you might consider a mini electric greenhouse.
The best overall solution are the full sized indoor greenhouse, sometimes known as growing racks. Similar in construction to a set of shelves, these include a plastic shroud or cover that lets the light in, but will retain the moisture and contribute to the temperature control. Usually the plastic has some type of zipper or similar opening that allows you to easily access the interior of the greenhouse but will close to help hold in the moisture. Often we are starting our seedlings inside in the winter months, just when the relative humidity in the home is in the 20% range, which is similar to desert conditions, not ideal for starting seedlings.
These indoor greenhouses come in different sizes, allowing you to put a 2 shelf model on a table or shelf, while the larger ones may have 4 shelves and are free standing. A couple are shaped as corner units, so they occupy that much less usable floor space.
Give one of these indoor greenhouses a try, and you will have a multitude of plant choices available for your garden.
Keep Those Veggies Fresh
Debbie Meyer Green Bags have been advertised on TV for a while now. Being keen on recycling in our home, we had never tried them and were skeptical about using them. Seeing them in the clearance section of the grocery store one day, they landed in my cart for use as an experiment. We have trouble keeping bananas ripe in our house so my experment was with bananas. Wow - they worked! The bananas were ripe and good to eat days beyond their normal freshness. We now use these bags for all everything in our veggie drawer.
Don't Throw It: Grow It!
Year Round Gardening Extended
This book gives lots of ideas on how to extend your growing season by using kitchen scraps to continue growing your vegetables. I purchased it and have already grown beautiful carrot top greens that we marveled at their progress every day. This book has awesome ideas to get kids interested in the process of growing plants.