Sunday, November 22, 2009

indoor and GH fall/winter garden 2009

For the last few years I have been bringing a few plants indoors to grow through the winter months, something that was more an experiment than anything else. Experimenting while gardening is some what a hobby of mine. I enjoy pushing limits and pushing grow conditions and seeing what i can force to grow. After a horrific season of gardening , a whole lot of thinking on food production and aging or ill health and a newly empty nest i decided it was time to get a bit more serious on the indoor gardening through the fall and winter months.

For the last several years i have been gardening through the winter months outside more than anything. Not too difficult in the climate we are in but it does take a lot of time and energy and the older or maybe its wiser i get i realize i don't like cold wet, winter craptacular weather like i used too. I would much prefer to spend time in side where i am warm and dry or atleast under cover and out of the weather. Now, if i can produce enough food to provide a majority of our winter diet inside it will be splentabulous.

My mission this fall and winter is to be able to grow the majority of our fresh food intake without having to spend any more money on groceries than we normally do until next summers harvest begins. As i mentioned before, the gardens were horrific this year. We lost most of our crops that we would normally preserve to disease, drowning and lack of a real summer. So although we ate fresh all summer and are continuing to do so, the food stores we normally have put back for the winter are not there. No worries, we won't starve to death if this garden experiment is a failure.

My other goal is to give my crops minimal pampering. The plants up in the loft will only be given supplemental lighting to extend the day light hours. This way if power is ever gone for an extended period of time my plants will not up and die because i can find a way to power the one light that is used for them. We will not have a big fancy set up that needs an entire generator to keep it running. I will also use the greenhouse for this growing season . The greenhouse has no heat source, it isn't inflated with the layer of air between the plastic, nor is there supplemental lighting.

The loft garden
The loft garden is a perfectly set up room for winter gardening. It is passive solar and the sliding glass doors allow direct sunlight to be on the plants for 5-6 hours a day. I use one cfl flood light bulb in my tinfoil hat for two to provide extra light to the plants that need longer daylight hours. I have about 20 containers currently planted. All the containers are just things we had laying around that would hold soil and that i could make drainage holes in the bottom of. I have planted a few veggies to have them die off or get eaten by critters(i told you this was a shack). When a planting dies i replace it with something different to see how it will do. At this point in time i have lettuces, collards, mustard, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cucumber,okra, rosemary and peas. Last night we harvested our first part of a meal from the loft,a fine selection of mixed greens .

the greenhouse
In the gh i have about 32 square foot planted. I am using a table bed, a raised bed and a water tub for my plantings. In these i have turnips, carrots, green onions, radishes, , leaf cabbage peas and some other leafy green vegetables that i cant for the life of me remember. I will know once they grow a bit more. I will be adding a few other small crops as time goes on and when i can find a suitable container and spare soil.

I will do periodic updates threads on how both gardens do and how much food wise they produce through the winter months. For those wondering, no i didnt give up winter out door gardening. We still have several beds with crops in them that we are eating from as well. My focus however this winter is more the indoor gardens.

Here is the photo link of both the gh and loft gardens

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