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Though the winter months in some areas fill the garden with snow, rain and cold temperatures, diehard gardeners, including novices, can turn to the kitchen for growing herbs and vegetables.
Alternatives to the backyard or front-yard garden include herb seed kits, mini greenhouses, hydroponics gardens, or a porch.
A number of seed companies, lawn and garden business and department stores sell herb kits that provide small pots, growing sponges and seeds for items such as chives, basil, cilantro and other varieties. These kits make growing inside quite fun, especially when the plants begin to sprout, and the herbs can then go from your kitchen garden to your meal.
For mini greenhouses, gardeners can begin planting transplants for spring such as tomatoes or peppers.
Winter lettuces, radishes or beets can grow in a mini greenhouse.
A small greenhouse about 5 ¼ feet high by 35 inches wide can fit nicely on a back porch or in a kitchen, which serve as perfect spots for the plants provided there’s adequate sunlight. Even a deck works well for a greenhouse in the winter if no snow or windy storms are expected.
A number of growers use hydroponics, growing plants in water supplied with nutrients, to create their own systems. A similar method, aeroponics, involves growing plants suspended in air with a mist of nutrient-filled water. Popular home aeroponics systems such as the AeroGarden® allow for year-round harvests of cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuce and peppers, among other plants. AeroGardens® feature slots for dirt-free grow plugs and provide lighting for the plants. In using aeroponics, gardeners report their herbs and vegetables grow much more quickly.
For cool season crops such as lettuce or garlic, planting in containers situated on a closed south-facing window or porch can serve as another adequate spot for growing. A few tables set up on the porch provide space for the indoor-garden containers.
The benefits of growing indoors include fewer pest problems from insects or animals, no wind damage and protection from harsh elements should the weather change drastically.
Growing plants indoors may require more frequent watering, and low winter humidity levels or temperatures in the home can affect the plants. But for a love of growing plants, indoor gardening provides a fun option all year long.