We just have to move our garden indoors. Since many of us already start our own seedlings, long before it is warm enough to garden outside in Alaska, we already have what it takes to continue growing food all year long. The cost for fresh salad greens and tasteless winter tomatoes at our local grocery store can cause sticker shock and disappointment. So why aren't more Alaska gardeners growing a winter salad garden indoors? With little effort anybody can grow lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, ...etc with a few containers and a good grow light. Even fresh tomatoes in December are not difficult, with the many varieties of dwarf and super dwarf tomatoes available. An adjustable shelf system can do double duty growing seedlings in February and a full salad garden during our long Alaska winters.
You should start seedlings in late summer in order to have fresh tomatoes in mid-winter, but it is never to late, so what are you waiting for? There are 3 tomato varieties that I recommend:
|Red Robin dwarf tomato|
Red Robin will grow 18-20 inches tall and produce 2" fruit. It will need a half gallon pot and some support. Perfect for a sunny window but will do better with a supplemental grow light during our short winter days.
Tiny Tim and Micro Tom are 2 other varsities that only grow 12-14 inches tall and produce 1" cherry or grape sized tomatoes. Both will do well in hanging baskets also, but do best with a good grow light and I run my lights on a simple timer set for 16 hours a day.
Growing lettuce, chard, kale, ...etc. indoors all winter is a no-brainer that anybody can do with a widow box planter or any container that will fit your space. A shelf with a grow light is all that it takes.
So what are you waiting for? Let's grow food all year - even here in Alaska... Follow along on my Alaska Grow Buckets Facebook page and share some of your indoor garden pictures this winter.