Options bring garden fun indoors for winter

posted Dec. 11, 2017 9:15 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Bev Carney | Gardening Columnist

Cold days and dark nights combine to keep us indoors more than we might want to be inside. Make the best of your inside time and have some fun as well.

First off, you can continue to grow things indoors. It’s not always easy to have the right conditions for a good crop of indoor greens or a thriving basil plant, but a few simple projects can be enormous fun for the children in the family. Avocado seeds have always been a standby winter project. Easy to do, all you need is a glass or jar of water, sturdy toothpicks and a clean avocado pit. Poke three toothpicks into the avocado and suspend the pit, fat side down, over a glass filled with enough water to cover about an inch of the seed. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see the roots and stem start to sprout in about two to six weeks. When roots are nicely developed, pot up and you have your own avocado plant.

Lemon trees can also be started indoors. Remove the seeds from the fruit and immediately put the clean seeds in a pot filled with moist potting soil. Bury the seed about a half-inch deep. Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap and poke small holes in the top for some ventilation. Put the pot in a warm, sunny location and be sure to keep the soil damp. You should have sprouts in two weeks or so. Remove the plastic and give the plant plenty of sunlight and moisture.

Garlic greens are a fantastic indoor project. Separate the cloves from the head and then plant each clove, pointed end up, in a container filled with good potting soil. You can plant the cloves close together. Keep the pot in the sunshine and keep it moist. In a couple of weeks, you should have delicious garlicky greens to sprinkle over salads or soups.

Garden planning may sound like a serious task, but you can make it fun as well. Laying out the garden plan often involves graph paper, rulers and thoughts about companion planting and crop rotation. And those things are all important. But shake things up a little. Cut pictures out of a variety of garden catalogs and lay out your garden with color photos. Pay attention to blooming times with the flowers in hopes of having all-season-long bloom. For the vegetable garden, focus on similar growing conditions and sun requirements, remembering to check plant heights. Kids can get really involved with this old-fashioned cut and paste operation.

For yet more fun with paper, print out some of the many detailed drawings designed specifically for your colored pencils or markers. There are free online coloring pages for all ages and all subjects. Use easy-to-color pictures of fruits and vegetables to get your children interested in growing their own or in adding variety to their diet. Check out https://​tinyurl.com/​y77pv54o, or for kids, see http://www.justcolor.net/​kids. There are even pictures of garden insects. For many more images, see http://www.coloring.ws/​coloring.html.

Terrariums can be a blast to set up and maintain. Check out https://​tinyurl.com/​yctl8o72 for easy to make terrariums, using a minimum of materials. Or go for more detail and create a miniature garden indoors. Miniature gardens are fun for adults but can be an absolute marvel for children as they create a real-life version of their fantasy worlds. The Miniature Garden Shoppe offers tips, techniques and videos on how to get started, https://​tinyurl.com/​y82mcku9.

Beverly Carney can be reached at cultivatingcountry@gmail.com.

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