Turning Winter Blues into Winter Greens!
January is the coldest month of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, and typically the only time gardening crosses your mind is when dreaming of a nice tropical beach. There isn't much outdoor gardening that can be accomplished at this time of year, and all of your new gardening gifts will have to wait a few more months until you can start to use them. But that doesn't mean that you can't bring some gardening indoors! Some indoor gardening is the perfect way to brighten up your house and to help you turn those winter blues into some winter green!
A great simple, way to garden year-round is to plant some bulbs for some nice indoor color. Most hardy-type bulbs will need to be "forced" in order to grow indoors during the winter, meaning you will have to keep them chilled in the planter for a few weeks to get them to bloom. This process can range in time from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the plant, However, it is best to start this process early in the fall if you want to have flowers in January. Talk to your local greenhouse operator about the different bulbs and recommended cooling time to properly "force" the bulb.
If you didn't get a chance to get your bulbs started in the fall, but still want some flowers, there are a few tropical varieties of bulbs that do not require forcing, or have a very short (under three weeks) forcing time. Talk to your greenhouse operator for specific bulbs that they will have on hand, but some of the more popular bulbs that don't require a long cooling period include Amaryllis and the Paperwhite (Narcissus papraceus).
Bulbs are best planted in lighter, well-drained soil, and kept close to a window to provide ample amounts of sunlight and warmth. A shallow layer of small stones at the bottom of the pot will allow water to drain easily and prevent your plant from being overwatered. Once the plants have started to grow roots, water them infrequently, being careful to let the soil dry out completely in between watering. For more, in-depth information about planting bulbs (both indoors and outdoors) read our article here.
An indoor herb garden is one of the easiest ways to add some green to your indoor area, and provides you with some fresh herbs to cook with no matter what time of the year it is. Herbs have a nice green foliage and most are very easy to grow indoors. For a few herb suggestions, read more in our article about herb varieties. Plant a couple varieties in a deep, well drained window flower box, and keep them fertilized and watered, and the herbs should last you a long time. Read more about indoor herb gardens here in our How to Section.
These are just a few suggestions for bringing some outdoor gardening indoors. We know that if you enjoy gardening as much as we do, you will be excited to try some of these ideas to bring a little summer green into your home.
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