Introduction: Winter Gardening
Winters here in Ontario are rather unpleasant. One day its a blizzard, the next raining. The cold and dampness cuts through you like a knife. Fresh from the garden seems a distant memory. I grow sprouts in a jar in the kitchen. That helps, but there isn't much there to look at. The house plants help a bit, but you cant eat them. I really miss my garden.
This winter I decided to try something new. Carrot greens indoors in February. These are an extremely healthy green. They are chocked full of goodness, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron and dietary fiber. They have no fat or cholesterol and are around 90 calories per cup.
You'll need very few items to grow these.
Step 1: Set Up Your Pot
I did this on a rather large scale. All you need is a pot of dirt, really. If its outside, bring it in to warm up.
I heat my shop through the winter so I figured, why not grow something in there. I brought in one of my raised planters to thaw.
Step 2: Yuck
I wasn't expecting this. Cats had been using my planter. Oh well I'll clean that up.
Step 3: Go Deep
I removed the visible mess off the top first. Then I loosened the dirt up and started sifting. I was at it for an hour or so, making sure to get all of it. I went down around a foot across the entire planter. Now I'm good to go.
Step 4: Black Gold
With the poop, I also took quite a bit of dirt. Off to the manure pile and add it to the chicken poop. This will be spread out in the spring and tilled in.
Step 5: Level and Firm
I leveled the dirt out and pressed it down a bit.
Step 6: Eye It Up
With a sharpie and a steady hand, I made holes for the seeds. I think I eyed it up fairly decently.
Step 7: The Seeds
Carrot seeds are tiny things. They also give you a lot in a package. This pack had 1000 seeds in it. I'll take their word for that. My steady hand goes to work again.
Step 8: One Per Hole
I put one seed in each hole. They usually sew three and thin them when doing it in the garden. That way if they don't all germinate there is still a carrot in each location. I'm not going to bother wasting that many seeds. After all I only have a thousand.
Step 9: Cover
I used a small paint brush to smooth over the seed holes.
Step 10: Water
I watered each morning for three days then cut back to every second day.
Step 11: Add Some Light
I have a wooden ceiling in my shop, so hanging a light was easy. I bought a 4 pack of 2'x4' 5000k daylight led panels when I created a under cabinet kitchen light. They were incredibly cheap for some reason. I checked the link the other day and they are no longer available. No fancy timer, I'll just plug it in and leave it.
Step 12: First Sprout
I planted Feb. 26th. my first sprout was Mar. 4th. It was a leap year so that was only 7 days.
Step 13: A Fun Little Video
Step 14: Mar 5th
Wow, the next morning they were popping up everywhere.
Step 15: Mar 6th
Nice crop so far.
Step 16: Mar 11th
Starting to sprout secondary leaves.
Step 17: Mar 15th
This is so cool. I'm excited every morning to see the progress.
Step 18: Mar 18th
They are starting to get leggy. Leggy is when the area below the leaves grows into a stem. That could be caused by lack of light or the fact that they're under 24 hour light. Nothing I can do about it now, I'm staying with the master plan. No expensive timer just constant light.
Step 19: Mar 22nd
Step 20: Mar 26th
Its a jungle in there.
Step 21: Mar 28th
I'm now going to have to start raising the light. I go by one loop at a time.
Step 22: Mar 31st
These are looking great!
Step 23: Legs
The legginess doesn't appear to be a problem. If I wanted carrots rather than greens, I'd be bummed out.
Step 24: April 3rd
Its been one month since the first sprout. I've truly enjoyed doing this. I come out every morning to collect the eggs, feed and water the chickens. Then I rush into the shop to see how my greens are coming.
Step 25: April 5th
I can't handle this any more. April 5th is my first harvest. I took two rows out and laid a piece of landscape fabric in place so the next row doesn't lie in the dirt. This is a pretty good bundle it should last a few days.
Step 26: First Use
Well I thought this bundle would last. It's soup time. I'm going to save the recipe for another time but It included a whole bundle of carrot greens. I have since started eating more of the stem, its more tender than I was expecting.
Step 27: Uses
Well so far, we've enjoyed these in a few ways. In soup they were amazing, they were a welcome addition to salad and they gave breakfast a new twist. I garnished a fish pie with them as well. They taste kind of parsley like, but smoother and less bitter to my pallet. Next will be carrot top pesto I think.
Participated in the
Indoor Plants Challenge