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2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard Magazine

2018-19 Magazine

2018-19 Eat Smart. Play Hard. Magazine

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Winter Happens! Try These Indoor Gardening Ideas for Kids and Families

The winter months can give you a strong desire to grow something. If you are wanting a project for your kids this winter, why not indoor gardening?

The winter months can give you a strong desire to grow something.

If you are wanting a project for your kids this winter, why not indoor gardening? You will need these supplies: a container, water, fertilizer, light and seeds.

How much space do I need?

With the lack of space to plant an entire garden, try using two or three pots or containers. The containers should be about the size of a gallon or larger and have holes in the bottom for good drainage and to pull any salts out of the soil.

When should I water it and why?

Approximately once a week, water the container so that water comes out of the bottom and into a catch basin of some sort. This water in the basin should be discarded. The reason to water this way is to remove salts that can build up in your container.

Do I have to make my own growing media?

The media in which you are planting can be purchased, in almost all cases, locally at several different locations. Try a mix of soil and soilless media that has been pasteurized. This will kill the majority of bad flora and fauna, and leave the majority of the good flora and fauna.

When should I fertilize?

Wait to fertilize until the plants come out of the soil and have at least 2 to 4 “true” leaves. Then I would apply the fertilizer at half the rate you would for outside gardening. Usually this is once a month; however, you can apply a slow-release fertilizer and be done with applying for the length of time  the directions recommend. I would look for something that has three numbers on it, such as 10-10-10 N-P-K or 20-20-20 N-P-K. (N stands for nitrogen, P is phosphorus and K is potassium).

What can I grow? 

Grow something you enjoy looking at or eating. Herbs are easy when working with kids. How about chocolate mint, pineapple sage or other fun herbs? Plant your seeds according to package directions.

What about lighting?

Natural sunlight is the best but not always possible. Full-spectrum florescent lights won’t take the place of natural sunlight, but they will get the job done for you. LED lights also are an option that has the advantage of producing very little heat. Have the lights 3 inches above the plants, with the ability to increase the distance between the plants and the lights as the plants grow taller.

 

Todd Weinmann, M.S., Extension Horticulture Agent, Cass County

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