Stella’s Winter garden: November

stella1This is my project for saving money this winter by growing some hardy crops on my windowsill. I’m not a very skilful gardener so if I can do it, you probably can as well.As you can see from the pictures, I started with two old washing up bowls and some little plastic food boxes. I put in some compost and garden soil and off I went. So far, I have lettuces, spinach, broccoli, mizuna, rocket, and two weeks ago I added peas, broad beans and radishes.

stellalettuce

The first lettuce and mizuna are nearly ready to take a few leaves from. When it gets very cold I’ll be putting clear plastic or bubble wrap over and under them to keep them warmer, and without reducing the light they get. Today is really sunny, so they’ll all go out for a few hours.

 

stellabeans
The peas and beans are doing well, and when they have 3 or 4 real leaves I am planning to plant some in an old bucket supported with sticks, so that they will have a head start for next year.
and the spinach is almost ready to go into some deeper containers. They won’t grow fast at this season, but they are growing, slowly, and I’m very pleased with the radishes, which are looking really promising after only two weeks. Those are going to come in to sit on the warmer, kitchen windowsill this week.

Don’t think I spend many hours on this though! A few minutes twice a week, to plant or water or cover things is all it takes. 

Total cost so far – with seeds kindly given by a local seed savers group – FREE.

PROJECT 2: THE VEG BOX

 stellavegboxTake one cardboard box, line in with newspaper (for warmth) then a dustbin liner (waterproof). Fill with good soil/compost and water well, add densely planted seeds or seedlings. Because it’s quite deep – 6” is ideal – carrots can be planted 1” apart because they aren’t competing for food or water so they can sit very close together. Alternate tops with roots, so that radishes sit next to lettuce, for example, and make sure they get as much light as possible as the next two months have the least light in the year. On sunny days I generally put my box outside for a few hours.

In my box I’ve transplanted seedlings from my garden, but you can put seeds in and they’ll sprout quite quickly. Here I’ve got radishes, carrots, garlic (keep in one corner away from everything except carrots), mizuna, mispoona, spinach and chard. As they grow I can thin them, eat them or transplant somewhere else but meanwhile they have the best possible growing conditions, and on very cold days I’ll be covering them with bubble wrap at night when there’s no light anyway. There shouldn’t be any pests to munch on them, and although they will grow slowly because of the low light of winter, they still grow. Progress report next month!

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