With many of us facing snow and colder temperatures, this is a great time of year to be planning your garden for spring. If you have a greenhouse, you probably have thought of numerous projects to try out this time of year. We are here to tell you, you don’t need a greenhouse. Try shifting your focus and to growing things indoors.
Why not try forcing floral bulbs indoors. Daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips can be potted after you have chilled the bulbs. This is something I will be doing again this year. There are also houseplants you can plant at this time. Herbs are definitely the most popular indoor plant to grow throughout the winter months in any zone you live in. When it comes to vegetables, there are microgreens to plant and you can start your onion plants.
Here are our suggestions for you to plant this month:
Hyacinths – These are flowers that can be forced indoors. This means tricking the bulbs to bloom indoors. By potting them indoors and giving them lots of light, they think spring has come and they will bloom. These fragrant florals bloom in about six weeks. These flowers can also be grown in water. The bulbs need to be chilled prior to planting. You will find Hyacinth bulbs will bloom with the slightest encouragement. It will help bring spring to your home a little early.
Oxalis – Oxalis have shamrock-shaped foliage and dainty little tubular flowers that fold up on cloudy days and at night. It is often referred to as a false shamrock. They’re easy to grow indoors or out, making them ideal for borders, rock gardens, containers, hanging baskets, or as houseplants. This plant is grown from funny-looking bulbs. It is easy to grow and will produce foliage and flowers in just 8-10 weeks. The leaves of the plant can be green or purple and have a look like a three-leaf clover. The leaves are poisonous to pets, but they have a bitter taste, so your pet probably will not eat them. Oxalis needs a few hours of sunlight every day. Morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal. If the plant gets too much sun especially in the afternoon the leaves will wilt.
Chives – This herb is actually a member of the Lily family and is extremely versatile. It is equally at home as an herb for a kitchen garden container or a perennial edging plant. The flowers are edible and tasty. They are beautiful and are an often overlooked addition to salads and soups. The more you harvest the plant the more chives you seem to get and they can be stored for the winter by chopping the leaves and freezing them in ice cube trays. Even better…try growing some on a sunny windowsill in the winter for fresh chives all year round! They need lots of sunlight, so if it is not available try buying some grow lights. Make sure you rotate the pot if the plant starts reaching towards the light.
Thyme – A perennial, evergreen herb that is often used for winter stews and soups. There are over 50 varieties of thyme. The leaves are small but incredibly flavorful. Many cooks use thyme in association with other Mediterranean herbs like oregano and parsley. Having fresh thyme available will enhance your cooking and make your kitchen smell like summer. Thyme’s flowers remind people of clover. It smells so lovely that in ancient Greece, it was a compliment to tell someone they smelled like thyme. When growing thyme in your home make sure you place it in a sunny location, where it can get 8 hours of sunlight a day. If you don’t get enough sunlight use fluorescent grow lights.
Microgreens – Microgreens are vegetable greens (do not confuse them with sprouts or shoots) that are harvested right after their leaves are developed. They are often used as a nutritional supplement, additional flavor, and textural enhancement. They can add both sweetness and spiciness to foods. Microgreens are smaller than “baby greens” as they are consumed very soon after sprouting. Their seedlings are easy to grow and harvested at a tender stage making them wonderful for a windowsill garden. They only take about two to three weeks to grow. If you let them grow longer, they do become full-fledged plants. Growing microgreens indoors you just need potting soil, seed starting trays, bright light, and seeds. Some of the better microgreens to try are beets, swiss chard, and broccoli.
Onions – You can start your onions indoors because they take several months to grow large enough to plant outdoors. Growing onions from seeds have a higher success rate compared to growing them from bulbs. The biggest factor for what type of onion to grow is day length. There are 3 different types of day lengths: short-day, long-day, and day-neutral. You will need to find the correct category to grow or you will not be successful. These categories are based on plant hardiness and the zone you live in. There are many to choose from including large yellow onions, Italian torpedo onions, and doughnut-shaped yellow Cipollini. For more information on day length, you can review this article.
Let us know what you are growing this month.