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Winter Planting

Becky Asked

My daughter is trying to earn her Green Hand in FFA. She has to grow something this winter that she could also sell. Could you help us find something easy to care for that could grow indoors since we live in the city & have no room for any planting other than a small container on the deck?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Becky: What an ambitious goal for your daughter. Given the growing time and space limitations, starting from seed in indoors might be her best option. Light levels are so much lower during the winter months so a south-facing window would be ideal but horticultural grow lights are also an option. You might also look into community gardens in your area. Some offer rentable plots for urban gardeners. The agriculture and horticulture agent(s) at the Christian County Cooperative Extension Service will be a great local resource for her.

Is she required to grow only edibles or are ornamentals an option? Edible options that can be started from seed indoors later this winter include lettuces, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, peas, carrots and onion among other cool season crops. All plants have different germination rates so use the information on the seed packets to correlate the planting time with regards to when they need to be sold. Garlic can be planted now directly in the soil and ready for harvest next spring. Garlic would be a great option for a community garden.  For a detailed list of edible growing options visit: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf

Ornamental options include spring flowering bulbs. They can be potted up now and left outside all winter long. Pansies/violas, snapdragons, dianthus, sweet alyssum and sweet peas are cool season annuals that can be started indoors from seed.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Angie Oakley

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