In The Garden

By Amy Jeanroy

 

Our already short growing season is being hampered by crazy cool days this year. If you have some veggies that seem to be behind schedule, take heart. There is no need to adhere to Mother Nature's abbreviated season.  You can bring some of your plants to extend their growth and even end up with more produce. 

Tomatoes and peppers are actually tropical perennials to begin with. This means that the only reason they die back is that they can't survive our cold season. So, bring them in and you can extend the harvest by weeks. 

To bring in plants, start now. Your plants will need time to acclimate to indoor living. You need a sunny window -really sunny. If you don't get 6 hours of direct sunlight, a grow light will be necessary. Use one shaped like a regular light bulb, and a lamp you already have-no need to get fancy. 

When transplanting from outdoors to in, isolate your newly dug up plants so they don't bring in any unwanted pests. If you dig up the plant, try to get as much of the surrounding soil as practical. If this means larger than any bucket you have, perhaps a cutting makes more sense.  

I like to bring in healthy, blooming branches of tomatoes (cherry varieties seem to produce best), root them in water, and then pot them up. By using the cutting method, I have had tomatoes to pick during the holiday season!

Finally, starting fresh plants to harvest during winter is a great way to extend the harvest. Greens grow very well indoors, as long as they get sunlight and sufficient water. Start your seeds now, so when the outdoor gardens are finished, you will just begin to harvest from the indoor one. 

Even in the coldest parts of the country, growing fresh food is possible with a little ingenuity.