ASK FLORA – Gardening Indoors During the Winter
Brought inside as a house plant during the coldest winter months of Wyoming. Photo courtesy Sage & Snow Garden Club.
December 2014 Newsletter
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
December 3, 2014
I already have cabin fever and the winter blues. What can I do to keep my life green in the winter?
Signed: Ivan Chilly
Dear Mr. Chilly: There is plenty that you can do to keep your life green. You can get a few indoor plants or even a couple herbs. Rosemary does wonderful inside. Mushrooms kits are available for indoor growing. You can grow micro-greens under a grow light or a sunny window. Sprouts take even less effort then micro-greens and add a yummy treat to salads, sandwiches, and stir- fries. You can also force flowering bulbs in the winter or buy an amaryllis from your local grocery store.
I would like to try sprouting to get some fresh greens. What is good for a beginner to sprout and where can I get them?
Signed: Jauna B. Greene
Dear Ms. Greene: You should always buy seeds that say "for spouting". Johnny's (www.johnnyseeds.com) is a good source for seeds. Seeds that are quick and delicious are radish, mustard, and onion. Mung beans are another popular sprout. Our local health food store has a good selection of sprouts and a nice bean mix.
How can I spout my seeds and bean?
Signed: I. B. Sproutin'
Dear Mr. Sproutin': There are two sprouting methods. You can purchase a sprouter that allows you to do multiple types of spouts at once in separate trays. The stacked tray sprouter allows water to run through and leaves the perfect amount of moisture for sprouting. The second method is to use a jar with cheese clothe on the top to allow in air in and keep bugs out. For either method you should first soak the seeds or beans for a few hours in water then drain and place in sprouter or jar. Rinse your sprouts at least once a day. Make sure to drain as much water as you can after each rinse.
I want to grow my own fungi. Where can I purchase mushroom kits?
Signed: Carl Shroom
Dear Carl: Garden City Fungi (gardencityfungi.com) in Missoula, Montana, sells four different kinds of mushroom kits via mail order: shitake, oyster, lion’s mane, and nameko. The kits cost $24.95 each and provide several harvests. They also sell dried mushrooms.
Is it possible to grow my own micro-greens indoors for winter salads?
Signed: Michael Micro
Dear Michael: The plastic containers from cherry tomatoes and berries make perfect little greenhouses for growing micro-greens indoors. They have built-in drainage and a plastic dome to retain heat and moisture. Unlike sprouts, micro-greens need a sunny window or a fluorescent light to flourish. Seeds, such as kale, broccoli, chard, cilantro, spinach, beet, and all the lettuces grow well indoors. The micro-greens can be harvested after two true leaves form, after which new seeds can be replanted for another harvest.
What is an easy way that I can bring "green" into my house when all I see is "white" outside?
Signed: Needa Plante
Dear Needa: Indoor house plants not only provide color in the home, many varieties also help reduce indoor air pollutants. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They also release phytochemicals that suppress mold and bacteria in indoor environments. Some of the best air cleaners are aloe vera, areca palm, dracaena, peace lily, ficus, rubber plant, snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue), spider plant, and weeping fig.
How can I get involved with other gardeners in the region to share ideas and learn?
Signed: Gnu Gardener
Dear GG: Sage & Snow Garden Club meetings are typically held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale. The educational topic for December 16th is "Annual Potluck and 2015 Planning." IMPORTANT NOTE: This meeting is held at Jeanne Brown’s house. Call her at 307-683-6066 for directions. To find out more about the Garden Club and read all Ask Flora articles, visit our website at www.sageandsnow.org.