I have a small winter garden growing on my window sill. Once the tree in the front of our house looses all it’s leaves, which it did a few months ago, this window sill gets full sun for several hours every day because of it’s wonderful southern exposure.
Not only does the sun warm the bedrooms, but it’s a great place to grow a winter garden!
I potted my two stevia plants this last fall and they have done quite well in the window. In fact, both plants bloomed! I almost felt sad that we didn’t have any honey bees to pollinate! They will have to stay in a pot for now until I can plant them in our new garden up on the future homestead. That’s okay since they are actually very pretty plants and I can set them out on the front patio!
I am also experimenting with the idea of a “perennial” tomato plant! I read on Kathi’s blog at Oak Hill Homestead that if you snip off a piece of the tomato plant before the first frost and place the stem into water, the hairs on the plant will root and the plant will grow! Of course, this is actually “cloning” and so the tomato plant is not literally a perennial. However, the thought of having a tomato plant ready to produce in April or May sounds wonderful! At first I thought this might work! The tomato plant looked like it was thriving for the first month or so. Then, the tomato twig pretty much lost all of it’s leaves, except a very few almost crunchy looking ones on the top. I thought the plant was doomed. Oh well, it was worth a try.
Then, last week, as I was thinking I would just go ahead the throw the plant into the compost heap, I saw something small and white protruding out of the stem. Holy cannoli – it was a root! I thought the plant was dead, but it was developing a root! My mommy always told me patience was a virtue. When I checked today, it now has three roots – still very small – but they are there!
I am also toying with the process of not having to buy green onions but once a year! I read from various sources that all you have to do is put the very bottom of the onion (the root part) in a sunny window in a jar of water.
They will re-root and grow and you will be able to harvest them over and over again. Research on this subject, however reveals that after more than 6 harvests they pretty much poop out and there isn’t any flavor left. We will see. So far, however, this looks really promising! I already harvested one a couple of nights ago for some Pad Thai. Yumm! However, when I cut the root off I think I cut it too short and so it never rooted but instead turned into mush! So -
word to the wise – leave at least 1 inch of the base of the onion or it won’t be able to re-grow! I will know better for the next harvest! Why am I doing this? Yeah, I know – green onions are cheap. But it was kinda cool being able to just walk over to the window sill and cut off some green onion in January, rather than have to put it on a shopping list!
I am also doing the same with celery and lo and behold, it looks like it’s working! Who knew? (obviously not me)
I’m not sure how long it will take the celery to grow to a size that will be harvestable (spell check says this isn’t a word, but I certainly think it should be), but I suppose if I had three or four going at a time, at different stages, I would never want for celery! So far, however, I would say this is pretty slow going. I guess if I had several growing at a time, it would be okay. But, seriously, I think the celery stalks are growing about 1 inch a month. If I had to depend on it for food, I would have starved by now. However, if I had a dozen or so…………
The jury is still out on the leaf lettuce.
I just started that one about a month ago. It hasn’t wilted or anything yet and the leaves are now a really deep green color, so I think that’s a good sign. It has also developed a pretty good root system already, but the leaves are growing at a pretty slow rate, just like the celery. Again, if I had several of these going at different stages, I think this would be pretty cool! I would essentially have a small salad bar on my window sill!
I am hoping to be able to harvest a green onion (no problem) a stalk of celery (probably a pretty small one) and a few leaves of lettuce (ummm….maybe) within the next month or two, so I can say I had a window sill salad. I would add some of the pickled beets I canned this past summer, along with some boiled black beans that I grew and dried. Maybe even some of the sun dried tomatoes.
Hmmm. That actually sounds pretty good! When (if) I can pull this off, I will post a picture!
To help things along, I am going to make a weak worm tea, instead of just plain water, for the plants. The stevia was planted in worm soil and I think that is why the plants are doing so well. For the worm tea, I will just harvest a cup of worm farm soil, pour about two cups of water into it and let it sit for a day, then strain the water out – worm tea! I will dilute this with more water before adding it to the vegetables, however. I figure this will give the vegetables more nutrients so they will grow better and carry more nutrients for me too! For more information on the worm farm and worm tea – see this post HERE
I understand you can also take the top of carrots and beets and let them grow for salad greens! That is going to be my next experiment! I would love to hear if you are growing vegetables and/or herbs on your windowsill through the winter!
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