How To Grow An Indoor Garage Veggie Garden In Winter For Sustainable Living
From Guest Contributor: George Anderson
When you think of your garage you probably envision car fumes, sports equipment storage, and a place to stow the junk that has no place inside your home. It might seem pretty crazy to picture it as the perfect gardening oasis, right? Think again.
If your green thumb has been getting restless over the winter months and you don’t have the time, money, or space to build a greenhouse, your garage can actually become the ideal space to grow some veggies! You’ll be able to eat fresh and nutritious herbs and veggies year-round—and Mother Earth will appreciate your eco-friendly efforts. If you still don’t believe us, read on. We’ll give you some essential tips for converting your garage into a sustainable garden to grow veggies during even the coldest winter months.
Step 1 for Garage Veggie Garden – Declutter and prepare for plants
Think of this as the perfect excuse to finally get to cleaning your garage (like you’ve probably talked about for months). When daydreaming about your fresh and luscious veggies, you’ll be motivated to find an appropriate space to grow them.
=> Finally get rid of all the junk that has been accumulating in the corner of your garage.
=> Donate what could still be useful to someone, have a yard sale or drop by a pawnshop with items of value (for seed money of course!), and just pitch the rest.
=>Clean up any chemical spills or paint leaks and find a way to appropriately store these items so that they won’t impact your indoor garden.
=> Consider where the best location for your plants is. If you have a garage window, utilize that area to get a bit of afternoon sun. Close to the door may be easily accessed for picking dinner herbs and regular watering. Avoid planting close to your parked car—you’d want to avoid the fumes and prevent accidentally running into your precious plants.
2 Photosynthesis… without the sun
If you think back to middle school science you may remember the word, photosynthesis. You know, that process that plants use to turn sunlight into energy? This energy is responsible for your favorites—basil, lettuce, and carrots. Since the plants won’t be able to access the full sun, ample lighting is absolutely necessary.
=> Windows are helpful, but just remember that in winter even large windows won’t allow for enough sunlight to reach your garden.
=> Look for ‘full-spectrum’ bulbs and ‘grow lights’. Talk to other indoor growers and see what they recommend. Be wary of marketing though, some average cool blue fluorescent bulbs may be just enough to keep your plants healthy.
=> The lights can be hung above the plants, pretty close to where they’re growing. You should have enough to adequately bathe all plants with sufficient light.
=> To save on electricity costs, run the lights during the night.
3 Provide essential heat
While the sun helps the plants grow to their full potential, so does a warm stable climate. If you live in a region with extremely cold winters, or you have a drafty garage, providing a source of heat is even more important.
=> Solar lamps or a space heater can be used to keep your plants warm—just above freezing.
=> Be cautious though, the hotter the area, the more you’ll need to provide water and light.
=> Certain plants also have different heat requirements; if you’re growing tomatoes and peppers, you’ll need to keep it hotter than you would for veggies like lettuce.
4 Don’t forget to water
Just as you would for your outdoor garden, your rapidly growing veggies and herbs will need adequate water to keep them growing strong and healthy.
=> Water the plants according to their individual needs, some may need more frequent waterings.
=> That said, some plants (like corn) may actually need too much water to be grown indoors. Just wait to plant these outdoors in the spring.
=> Use a watering can or hose, and be sure that the soil you use provides adequate drainage.
5 Get creative with your planting
You may be picturing a rectangular garden bed, but since it’s indoors you be a bit creative when it comes to how you grow your veggies.
=> Try individual bins placed strategically around the garage. They can even be hung from the wall or ceiling, each with one or two types of plants in them.
=> Shelving units are a great way to arrange smaller pots filled with plants.
=> An old pallet can be recycled to be used as a vertical growing area. Just be sure that each level gets adequate light.
6 Try your luck at hydroponics
If you’re keen for an experiment, consider a hydroponic garden, as this can actually be used year-round. A hydroponic system is a way to grow plants without soil by keeping the roots in water that has been enhanced with a nutrient concentrate.
=> Easier than you think, your hydroponic system would only need a plastic bin, plastic sheet, air stone, tubing, essential nutrients, and a pump.
=> Leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, lettuce, mint, and basil do best in hydroponic gardens.
=> While it’s more investment to get it running, it will work year round and you’ll never run out of leafy greens.
7 Ongoing organization and maintenance
If you’ve made it this far, good work. But you’re not done yet. You don’t want to waste all of your efforts by not providing the regular upkeep that your growing veggies require.
=> The garage should stay organized, seeds and other supplies should be in a centralized location for easy access and chemicals and paints should still be kept away from the plants.
=> Regularly sweeping will prevent dust from settling over your growing veggies.
=> Be sure that you regularly check on the status of the plants, providing more water or changing lightbulbs when needed.
Your green thumb can now rejoice in the fact that just because it’s winter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your gardening efforts have to take a break. With just a little preparation, some creativity, and regular maintenance, your garage can be converted into a garden and you can enjoy a bounty of fresh herbs and vegetables—all grown right behind your garage doors.
George is a specialist when it comes to any type of garage door,including roll up doors. Working in the industry for over 20+ years he takes pride on helping his clients fulfill their needs when it comes to garage construction. In his spare time, he loves spending