Making the most of every season is important when you are trying to live on a budget. Each fall after the garden is done, the soil is tilled again, and my once beautifully green section of the yard is bare is a sad time. But then I remember it’s time to get the winter garden growing and if anything perks me up it’s a green plant.
Planting a Winter Garden
Each year I want to get in my winter garden soon because we really notice the hit on our grocery budget right away after the garden is finished. You don’t need to have a lot of extra space to have a functional garden inside of your home! Today I wanted to share with you how I’ve set up my winter garden in the past couple of years at several different homes that we’ve lived in. If you weren’t sure how to put yours together, hopefully this will give you some ideas!
This is the AeroGarden that I’ve had. They no longer make it but there are plenty of other versions you can get now (although I highly recommend the LED lights to save on electricity.
In the beginning, I used the seed pod kits that came with the gardens but now I just use the DIY kit and make them myself, it’s much more cost-effective and you can use your own seeds. I saved and washed all the plastic pieces that the sponges go into and then I just buy this refill kit for new sponges and plant food.
This method has worked wonderfully for me every winter since 2014. Things are easy to grow in the Aerogarden, they take very minimal care and maintenance and they grow very quickly. I also like that I can grow a variety of things at one time in it and honestly I love the lights and the greenness of it all on those cold winter days.
Here’s something else I’ve done in the past for a winter garden, before I had the money for an Aerogarden. I just planted a few bean and pea seeds in some containers I found on clearance at Tractor Supply. I didn’t have much luck growing these types of veggies in the house but the setup works just fine.
A few lettuce, bean, and pea plants may not seem like much in the scheme of things but if I can save myself from buying even $5 worth of produce each week from the grocery store through the winter, that’s over $100 saved. Plus we have fresh goodies that we can pick right here in our house and is much fresher tasting than the grocery store. And like I said, it just makes me happy to have things growing in the winter!
I miss my summer garden with the little buds slowly opening and the tiny little veggies coming out from hiding. Having a winter garden for me isn’t just for the free food part, it’s to bring a little bit of summer into my home all winter long.
Here’s another setup that I used a while back. I used a planter and a shoebox-sized plastic tote. In these I planted peppers and tomatoes. Both CAN be grown indoors but you will have to pollinate the flowers by hand. If you are having trouble finding seeds in the winter and you don’t want to catalog order, check your local Walgreens or hardware store. I buy potting soil in late fall on clearance and store it outside.
I used the shoebox tote for my lettuce seeds. You can cut lettuce several times and it will continue to grow back. After a while, you may want to replant though or the lettuce can get sour or bitter.
My little pepper seeds. I want to grow 2 plants but I couldn’t find my other planter pot so I put them together in the beginning and I separated them when they got a little bigger.
Give them a little water to get them going!
The most important things about growing in the winter is that you need to keep the plants warm and get them plenty of sunlight. So pick a warm room and set them by the window. In this pic, I had put up my little card table in my office window and put the plants on it. If you are still struggling with the plants getting enough light (they will look yellow and sickly), you may need to invest in a grow light. Amazon has a large variety of them to choose from, you just want to make sure that you pick one that has a full light spectrum (red and blue).
What are you going to plant this year in your winter garden?
This post on growing a winter garden was first posted in November 2014 but I have updated it in December 2019.