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BEACON Senior News

Bringing the garden indoors

Oct 31, 2017 11:58PM ● By Paige Slaughter

Once you’ve tasted freshly picked produce, it’s hard to settle for anything less. Our bodies know the difference between a tomato just off the vine and one that ripened in a truck on its way from Mexico.

Those of us spoiled (in the best way) by fresh produce know that it offers us unmatched nutrition and flavor. So how can we access the foods we love throughout the winter?

A quick rewind

In the garden, much of our learning comes after the fact. We learn from our mistakes, discover tricks, make discoveries and find truth in our reflections.

Food preservation is a tool that comes after the fact, too. Preserving produce at its peak enables us to enjoy the benefits of fresh produce throughout the year. Preservation used to be a common practice. Though it’s no longer a necessity, we can still reap the benefits.

Indoor gardens

Optimize your windowsills by growing plants that will nourish your body! Select culinary herbs, lettuce and other leafy greens that grow well in pots and can thrive in partial sun.
  • Choose what you’ll use. Grow herbs that you love to cook with. If you’re growing your favorite plants, chances are you’ll be willing to put in extra effort for them.
  • Start with soil. Pot healthy plant starts in clean, high-quality, natural potting soil with slow-releasing fertilizers. Keep the soil moist and pay attention to lighting changes throughout the season.
  • Set up a rotational system for leafy greens. A trough-like pot works well and fits on windowsills. You can also use four separate pots. Divide your planting area into four sections and plant new seeds every two weeks, moving to the next section each time. Scatter seeds throughout and keep the soil moist. Harvest and eat baby greens daily to slowly thin out the young plants, giving them more space as they grow. After a few weeks, you’ll have a system established for fresh greens every day!

Supporting local greenhouses

Looking for a more hands-off approach? Find a local farm with a greenhouse. You may be able to buy directly from them, or they’ll tell you which stores sell their produce.

Connecting with the people who grow our food (because even gardeners buy food eventually) might be the single most important step we can take towards eating more nutritious and flavorful food, building more sustainable food systems and creating more rewarding garden ecosystems.

As you bring your garden indoors this fall, consider this: Perhaps bringing in our gardens means more than potting up. Perhaps we can expand our garden real estate by connecting with others and manifesting our values. Let’s bring the garden indoors by bringing it into our hearts and our minds—and our windowsills.