According to the National Gardening Association, 35% of American households grow food at home or in a community garden. However, most people stop gardening when cold weather arrives. Just because you don’t have a year-round greenhouse doesn’t mean you can’t garden in the wintertime. In fact, you can turn your garage (or another structure on your property) into an awesome gardening space to grow vegetables and other plants. And no matter what time of year it is, The Garden Outlet has everything you need to keep your indoor and outdoor gardens in full bloom!
Designate a space
A garage might be the ideal space, but maybe you don’t have the room with your car in there or perhaps you don’t even have a garage. In either of those cases, you can still create the ultimate cold weather garden by building a dedicated garden shed. Wood and steel are common materials to build with, but each has its pros and cons. Wood buildings can be attractive, but the main problem is that they can eventually warp and rot due to moisture. Plus, wood is susceptible to pests like termites, and can be damaged by the elements. Steel is extremely strong and can withstand weather damage, and is also resistant to mold and pests. Though steel structures are typically more expensive than wood ones, their durability can make them pay off in the long run.
Choose your garden beds
You don’t need to use your entire garage or structure for your garden. You can use small rollable growing shelves, boxes, bags, or buckets. You can use thin vertical planters or immense growing beds that span the entire width of the garage. It’s up to you how much space you want to use. For a growing medium, you can utilize typical gardening soil or expand your horizons with hydroponics, where you grow plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and other vegetables can be grown hydroponically.
Let there be light
You must have enough light for your plants to grow. Even the sunlight coming through your garage windows probably isn’t enough in the winter. Hang cool blue fluorescent lights (or dedicated grow lights) from the ceiling. Ideally, you can build a pulley system that uses adjustable chains so you can lower the lights close to the tops of the plants, and raise them up as plants grow. Whatever type of lights you use for your garden, run them at night when electricity rates are typically cheaper during off-peak hours.
Turn up the heat
In your gardening space, you need to keep the temperature above freezing, but you don’t want it to be so hot that your plants need extra water and light. Research the type of plants you are growing to find out the proper temperature range. For example, tomato plants typically grow best above 50 degrees, while broccoli plants can survive much lower temperatures. You can add the heating you need by using space heaters or solar lamps. Be sure you have a thermometer in the space to monitor the temperature accurately.
Use plastic sheeting
Hang up plastic sheets around your plants to protect them from drafts and help stabilize the garage temperature. Plastic can scatter light around the garage, which can increase the amount of light your plants are getting. Talk to your local gardening store about the thickness and type of plastic sheeting that will work best with your garden setup.
After you harvest your vegetables from your outdoor garden in the fall, you can start working inside in your garage garden. Garage gardening allows you to reduce pests and weather damage, as well as control the light, water, and temperature of the garden yourself. You may find that you enjoy your garage garden much more than gardening outdoors and start using your new garden space all year round. To get started with your winter garden, head over to The Garden Outlet!
Garden Tips By Carrie Spencer. Photo via Pixabay