written by: Destin1095•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/28/2011
Winter container gardening is a great way to grow fresh vegetables and herbs during the off season. Leaf vegetables and herbs will flourish in containers, even during the colder winter months.
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Large coffee cans, empty milk jugs, old clay planter pots, plastic buckets, old dishtubs and homemade planter flats can all be used successfully as plant containers. Planter flats work best with herbs or shallow rooted items such as greens. Deep-rooted plants will need deeper containers. The plant containers need to be large enough for the roots to spread out while growing.
Keep in mind that plastic pots will be lighter than metal or ceramic pots when they need to be moved around. Some containers, for instance, clay and ceramic, will crack if left out in the cold. Regardless of the container type chosen, make sure the containers have adequate drainage holes drilled into the bottom. If the plants will be moved indoors in colder weather, make sure they have drainage dishes underneath to catch any excess water.
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Soil and Fertilizer
Potting soil works well for container gardening, but compost and regular outdoor soil can also be used. Make sure the mixture isn’t too heavy for the delicate plant roots. Fertilize often so the plants have the necessary nutrients. The frequent watering required of container plants will wash away some of the fertilizer, so the fertilizer will need to be added more often than needed in an outdoor garden.
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If the container plants are grown indoors, they won’t require as much water as they did outdoors. Water approximately once a week, but watch the soil and plants for dryness. The plants should be watered when they feel dry to the touch. They’ll require more water as they mature.
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A young indoor plant will require more sunlight than mature plants. The indoor plant will require sunlight throughout the day. As the sun moves, move the plants along with it. If the plants are started outdoors, move them inside when the first frost hits.
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Winter Vegetable Container Gardening
Winter vegetable container gardening can allow a gardener to produce year-round vegetables indoors. Green leaf vegetables can be clipped for salads as early as ten days after planting. Larger leaves will take closer to three weeks, but will provide a nice fresh salad when ready. Stagger the planting so the vegetables will ripen at various times throughout the winter. Winter vegetables that do well in container situations are collard greens, kale, parsnips, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, carrots and leaks.
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Herb Container Gardening
Herb container gardening can add flavor to meals and tea throughout the winter. Herbs can be grown on windowsills for easy snipping of leaves when needed. Clip mint when needed for fresh tea or basil and thyme for fresh, homemade pasta sauce.
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Evergreen landscaping can be achieved in containers and will provide pretty decorations for the home or patio. Evergreen trees such as spruce, pine or cedar look wonderful in a container garden, and are beautiful when covered with snow. These plants will bring a festive, green look to a patio or entry even in the dead of winter. Make sure to use a pretty container when displaying plants such as these.
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Using these tips for growing indoors over the winter, should have you saving money and eating healthy all winter long.