We’ve done it guys, well done! We’ve passed the Winter Solstice which means we are officially on the way to summer. But right now, and rightly so, that feels a long way off. In these dark days of winter, it is hard to do more than mainline YouTube videos and down Eggnog; the potential of gardening seems a far off dream (Northern hemisphere, we’re looking at you…).
However, there are things you can plant in December in preparation for the year ahead or harvest now. There are also ways that you can now bring summer inside all year. In this blog, we are going to be exploring some of those, but don’t forget to get in touch with your own suggestions for growing in the bleak mid-winter…
First up; Grow Anything Under Lights
With IKEA’s launch of the Schmoblorby or whatever the hell they’ve called their latest invention, grow-lamps went mainstream. The Scandinavian company, which is best known for their flat-pack furniture and being the world’s leading cause of divorce, introduced a product this year that allows for table top growing.
With this, the potential is endless. By supplying your plants with a spectrum of light (which is sadly lacking at this time of the year) you can grow happily all year round. You can use the grow lights to get your chillies, peppers, and tomatoes going at this time of the year. By the time late spring rolls around you’ll have strong and established plants to go in the ground, which in turn will produce some tasty treats later in the year. You can also use them to grow herbs or salad leaves, which can skyrocket in price this time of the year. Although the initial outlay is expensive (and there is continued electricity use to consider), this still could be the solution to get your growing fill throughout December.
Secondly; Make It Mini
Micro-greens and sprouts thrive on a windowsill. In fact, you don’t just have to grow them during the winter. All year round I grow bean sprouts and other micro-greens, which I add to salads, plonk on soups and munch in sandwiches.
All you need is a sprouting jar, and you’re away. It’s cheap, quick and perfect for children as the sprouts grow fast enough to keep their little attention spans. You can order seeds online, or sprout your surplus saved seeds from the season before.
Thirdly; Mean Green Winter Growing Machines
Kale, cabbage and other hardy winter crops can grow happily through the winter. In fact, that’s the very reason I’ve delved into the world of winter wheat – it is well known to thrive through the harshest winters.
By finding some varieties that are particularly suited to low light levels and cold temperatures, you can not only grow happy plants but you can also help keep your soil happy over the winter. Exposed soil is unhappy soil, so allow kale, cabbages and other greens to keep the integrity of your soil when all other annuals have been pulled out before winter.
The winter doesn’t mean that you can’t grow, but it does mean you have to be a little inventive with the way that you do it. But don’t fear, the days are getting longer now and it’ll be summer before you know it…