Summertime in St. Louis is replete with farmer’s markets and fresh produce galore. But just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have all the healthy, fresh-picked veggies you love.
There are plenty of greens and vegetables you can grow at home, in your kitchen, to keep you and your family eating healthy all year-round. Bonus – it’s a great strategy to satisfy your new year’s resolution to eat right!
Best Spots In The Kitchen To Grow
If you have a big, sunny window, you’ve already got the perfect place to set up your winter garden. If you don’t have a lot of light, invest in a set of grow lights from your local gardening store. Ultimately, you’ll need a lot of light. If you don’t have it, you’re not going to get very good results.
Some herbs will do not too badly without direct sun, but most will become spindly, and they certainly won’t be as flavorful.
Here are some of the best choices for veggies you can grow in your kitchen this winter:
You’ve probably heard that you can regrow lettuce from the rooted stems of store-bought heads, and technically, it’s true. However, you’re not going to get much out of it, maybe enough to put on a couple of sandwiches.
Lettuce is a fast grower, and once you get it going, you’ll have plenty, usually in about three to four weeks. You just have to give it a good home to grow in.
For best results, plant from seed. Start in shallow containers (take out boxes work well), use a seed-starting mix, and choose varieties that are recommended for indoor growing. Tom Thumb, Arctic King, and Winter Marvel are good choices. Spinach, Kale, and Arugula are also great. Once the leaves are about four inches in height, they are ready to harvest.
If you love that spicy, crunchy garden treat, then you’ll be excited to know that radishes are about the easiest and fastest things you can grow in your kitchen. They are a root veggie, but they don’t require soil that’s too deep. A couple of inches will usually do the trick.
Radishes take about four weeks to mature, so if you can’t get enough of them and you plan it well, you can continue to plant successively so you’ll always have some on hand.
There is a multitude of herbs you can grow in your kitchen, but some will do better than others in the low winter sun. Most herbs like to have a lot of water, heat, and sunlight, but some, like mint, will grow and thrive in just about any conditions.
Some culinary herbs you can grow include:
- Basil. Basil needs plenty of water and sun. Be sure to pinch off flowers as they develop to encourage more leafy growth.
- Rosemary. Some rosemary is quite tender, so be sure you keep it in a warm place where it’s not going to be exposed to freezing temperatures and don’t let it dry out.
- Oregano. Oregano grows very well under any conditions, and a little goes a long way when it comes to using it in recipes. It’s also a potent antioxidant that can keep winter colds at bay.
- Thyme. Thyme is a hardy perennial, as is oregano. If you leave it out over the winter, it will come up again in the spring, but if you bring it inside, you can enjoy it all year-round.
Potatoes are an easy-to-grow root veggie that can actually be started from another potato. If you’ve ever kept potatoes a little too long, you’ll notice that they grow “eyes” from which they send out roots.
If you let your potato begin to root, just cut it up into two-inch chunks and plant them in a deep bucket or pot. Just be sure there are at least a couple of eyes on each piece. They like lots of organic matter, like compost, so be sure to mix in plenty.
Potatoes take anywhere from two months to four months to mature, depending on the variety. Harvest them when they are small for delicious, creamy, tender new potatoes.
5. Peas and Beans
Peas and beans grow and mature quickly, but they tend to be spindly and need plenty of room. You will need some reeds, poles, or a trellis of some sort to support them or they will take over. Find a sunny spot, water well, and you’ll be enjoying fresh peas and beans any time you like.
For more tips on how to enjoy your kitchen this winter, reach out today.