Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter Experiment

(Aren't plants amazing?)
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I crave fresh greens year 'round- even a little bit will do me right. This season, I decided to try and grow some inside. This is a mesclun mix of greens that I just love; it has Golden Streak and Red mustards, Komatsuna, Mizuna, and Skyrocket, all in one packet.

The Indoor Flowerbox Experiment is proceeding about as expected. They germinated in less than 24 hours, but they are rather weak-stemmed since they don't have the wind and rain to knock them around. Apparently an oscillating fan aimed at them provides strengthening air movement; the breeze beefs up cell walls and gives them some heft, but I didn't put a fan on this batch. The lights are my usual seedling lights- I use 4-foot-long, fish tank florescents. And I've provided some additional food by way of worm castings.


I've already thinned twice, and they were perfectly edible, if a bit redolent of hot-house-- sort of like a corporate tomato shipped from California in February. Still, they are home-grown, and they're mine. No 3,000 mile greens here.

These hardy varieties would do very well in a cold frame outdoors, even in a Detroit winter. They would likely go in and out of dormancy, but would absolutely take off in earliest spring. Because of all the construction on the porch at the end of my growing season, I did not build or buy one this year. Maybe I should look into it... Peaceful Valley carries a terrific little cold frame... hmm. Maybe I'm due a little bit of Christmas in January?

8 comments:

Verde said...

Mmmm. My friend gave me an aero garden for my b-day this year and I've got greens in it for winter. They are good -- and they say their fertilizer tabs are organic.

I didn't get cold frames built either. I look out at the snow and wish I did. There are some green onion tops poking out of the snow in the yard that I must not have gotten harvested and I know there are potatoes in a bucket but I'm afraid they've all been frozen too hard.

I've got a pict. of the new bunn up. Unfortunately today she is still not eating or drinking on her own.

MOTM said...

Hot dog! I'm going to go dig out my mesclun mix and give it a whirl. That is, if I can find my, "lights"...

Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I've got lettuce growing in a pot in the sunniest window I have. I had spinach, but the naughty grey cat laid on it and it just wasn't hardy enough! LOL Thanks for the idea of the fan, I wondered how to get the lettuce to toughen up. And, I did collect some freebie windows for a cold frame, just never got it built.

Kateri said...

Oh, yum. You are making me hungry for fresh greens. Store bought just isn't the same. A hoop house or cold from is on my list of next years projects. I lost my late fall crop of greens this year because the hard freezes came early. Won't let that happen again!

Rabbits' Guy said...

Aw nuts ... I thought I had a good 2 2-1/2 months before worrying about indoor seeding. And now to be shamed by Detroit ... hmphhh ...
Sunset magazine will scorch me if they find out about this.

Boy - they do look healthy though eh? The bloger version of a seed catalogue in January ...

chaiselongue said...

Well done, growing fresh greens in winter in Detroit! Much better than supermarket greens that have travelled. Can you put them outside when the sun does shine? Or is it too cold?

ilex said...

Chaiselongue, if I put the seedlings outside, they would turn to little green icicles immediately. But if they are still growing come spring and I harden them off in more gentle weather, they should do fine outdoors.

furrybutts said...

I like your idea of an indoor flowerbox! I've thought of making some space in this apartment, and growing some herbs indoors for the bunnies :D does your flowerbox take up much space?