Indoor Vegetable and Herb Gardening Provides Homegrown Flavor All Winter

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Gardening expert Melinda Myers shares indoor gardening strategies for successfully growing microgreens, vegetables and herbs inside this winter for added flavor and enjoyment.

Grow lights help provide the greatest harvest when growing tomatoes and other fruiting plants indoors.

From microgreens to tomatoes, it is possible to grow produce indoors.

Missing that fresh-from-the garden flavor? Then it’s time to consider adding an indoor garden for some homegrown flavor to enhance any winter meal. “From microgreens to tomatoes, it is possible to grow produce indoors,” says Melinda Myers, gardening expert and host of the “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set.

Myers shared these tips and techniques for successfully growing food indoors throughout the winter months.

Microgreens are a quick and easy way to add some flavor and crunch to sandwiches, salads and many other home cooked meals. Just plant seeds labeled for sprouting or microgreens in a shallow container filled with a sterile potting or seed starting mix. Within two weeks these nutritious mini vegetable and herb leaves will be ready to harvest and snack on.

Take it one step further and grow a few favorite herbs on a warm sunny windowsill. Select a container with drainage holes and set on the appropriate size saucer to protect woodwork. Fill the container with a well-drained potting mix and plant seeds or transplants. Purchase basil, chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary plants from a local garden center or produce department.

Greens, like lettuce and spinach, will also grow in a sunny window or better yet under artificial lights. Grow them in a container filled with a well-drained potting mix similar to a windowsill herb garden. Plant seeds according to the seed packet. Continually harvest the outer leaves when they are four to six inches tall.

Like a bit of a challenge? Try growing a compact tomato, pepper or eggplant. These plants will provide the best production with a combination of natural and artificial light or full spectrum lights.

Natural sunlight and full spectrum lights contain the variety of light plants need to grow, flower and fruit. Blue light promotes leaf and stem growth, while red combined with blue promotes flowering. Consider investing in energy efficient and long lasting high intensity grow lights for the greatest yields when growing tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other fruiting plants indoors.

Leave lights on for 14, but no more than 16 hours each day. Plants need a dark period as well as bright light each day to grow and thrive. Use a timer to ensure the plants receive the right duration of light.

Most flowering and fruiting plants need a high intensity of light, so keep the lights six to twelve inches above the plants. Use reflective surfaces under and around the plants to bounce light back into larger plants.

Increase the amount of indoor growing space by going vertical. Shelf units with built-in light fixtures like the Stack-n-Grow Light System provide multiple layers of growing space.

And once tomatoes, peppers and eggplants start flowering, shake things up a bit. Gently shake the plants several times a week, better yet daily, to move the pollen from the female to the male parts of the flower so fruit will develop. A gentle breeze from a fan or vibrations from a battery-operated toothbrush work well.

Indoor gardening won’t yield the same results as a sunny outdoor garden, but the flavor can’t be beat when gardening outdoors is not an option.

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Diana Paul
Melinda Myers LLC
+1 (414) 771-1888
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