Broomstick's WINTER Garden

The apartment upstairs from us is damaged so there will be no one living there until its fixed. Probably not for months and months. It is, however, still intact as far as walls go. And most of the windows face south. Hmm…

My conversation with the landlord started “Did you know you own a greenhouse?..”

In exchange for some of the expected produce, I have receive permission to container garden upstairs. I am, as usual, doing this on the cheap due to little money. I have about 30 pounds of potting soil (one of our customers this summer was moving, didn’t want it, and offered it to me so I took it). I cut gallon milk cartons in half, created some drainage in the bottom, and filled with dirt. Right now I have radish and lettuce planted, and I’m anticipating seeing the radishes sprout by the weekend. No, not particularly pretty but I’m not doing this for pretty, I’m doing this to eat.

Will need something larger for a bok choy or kale. Thinking of trying to find something at the dollar store. Or maybe I’ll check out the local flea market on the weekend.

Wouldn’t mind some beans, but the apartment has the heat turned down such that I don’t think they’d do well. Won’t bother the radish, lettuce, or hypothetical kale. Also thinking of planting parsley and basil. The deal is to try to pull this off with no light but free sunlight and water from the well.

The other upside? I will be able to start seed indoors this year as I now have a place to do it.

Our basil typically doesn’t grow much until it gets warm enough that the nights are about 70, so I dunno how it will do up there in the chilly. You might could make it a mini green house with some clear plastic and help it out some.

Check out the Dollar Tree–sometimes you can find plastic storage bins and such that are fairly large for a buck apiece. And check with your local vet clinic or pharmacy for waterproof shipping containers. When we get a shipment of vaccines or insulin or anything else that has to be shipped refrigerated/frozen, they send it in a styrofoam container about the size of a fishing cooler. We save a few of them, but mostly we throw them away.

Have you considered experimenting with Fava beans? They like it cool*.

*ETA: I actually have Favas in the ground here in Kentucky right now that have so far survived overnight temperatures as low as ~15F.

Well, the fava beans are an interesting idea, but none of us in the household like them so it would be rather pointless. But other than that, great suggestion, maybe someone else can use it.

My radishes are sprouting!

They actually poked above dirt a day early. Here’s hoping more good things are in the offing.

Yay for sprouting radishes! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in Winter Gardening. I admire you significantly just for trying, but to have sprouting radishes and more edible stuff to follow . . . wow!

Just got done checking - the lettuce is up, too, now. 2 days earlier than expected.

I’m sure they’ll slow down with the short daylight hours around here, but right now I can’t complain.

I’ll be looking for slightly larger containers for some kale and bok choy pots. And a friend with milk-guzzling teenagers said he’d save some of the gallon jugs for me for more planting pots. They ain’t pretty, but they’ll work.

Ask around and see if anyone has leftover tubs from cat litter. They are about a foot square and 1.5 feet deep (with a handle). They’re very sturdy, and, of course, free – you just have to punch some holes in the bottom. I used to use 'em for my tomatoes.

What about garden cress (aka non-water- cress). Its still basically a lettuce but it has a really nice sharp flavor.

I already have 7 varieties of lettuce. For all I know, cress is one of them, haven’t checked in awhile :slight_smile:

Congratulations, Broomstick. :slight_smile:

Well, update –

The radishes are growing, but the lettuce is having difficulty. I suspect that right now there isn’t much light and it’s causing some difficulty. With today being the solstice the days will be getting longer, maybe that will help. I think I’ll try to reposition things closer to the window.

Will also have two more containers ready to go soon.

Holy cats, Hello Again, this is a fantastic idea! I have cats, and have several cat litter tubs - I buy it in the 35 lbs containers, but Waste Management 'round these parts won’t accept them in the recycling container. They’re plastic, and I hate to throw them in the trash, but I’ve no idea what to do with them otherwise. So now I have like 3 of them just stacked up, doing nothing. This is an outstanding idea.

If anyone needs some of these buckets, let me know. E-mails in the profile.