Indoor Plants in Winter

Photo credit: The Record Herald

Rosemary in window-Turn 1/4 every few days to keep growth even (B.Petrucci)

Winter Care Tips for Indoors Plants

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener


From Master Gardeners I have learned a few key things, so here is my quick tip list followed by a number of great resource sites. It is important to check the needs of each plant since they can vary greatly.

Aloe roots crop -
Aloe roots crop –

1. Be sure the plant is potted in the right size container (with a drainage hole) and right potting soil.

If you are digging it up and dragging it in from the outdoors then potting it up, don’t use garden soil. It’s too heavy.

2- Water only as needed when the soil is dry.

Water from the top until water comes out the drainage hole (You do have a drainage hole, right?) into the saucer. About two hours later, drain any excess water from the saucer. Don’t allow the roots to stand in water. If you don’t see drainage but have watered well, check for a clog in the hole and clear it. Inconsistent watering is one of the primary reasons for plant loss.

3- Use room temperature water.

Leave tap water out overnight, uncapped or uncovered, to allow the chlorine and fluorine added to city water to dissipate. Although these probably don’t harm plants, you want the water to be at room temperature anyway. Rainwater, snow melt and well water are ok. Don’t use water run through water softeners.

4- Light should be appropriate for the plant. – See more at:

Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden (Google / Daily News)

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Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden: What to know before you grow

Whether or not you’ve got a green thumb, this just might be the year to get in touch with your inner gardener. It’s politically correct (check out the Obamas’ vegetable plot),  it’s thrifty, and it’s healthy.

“We’ve had a lot of interest this year in edible gardening and seed companies are selling out of their seeds like never before,” says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association. “People are concerned about the economy and they are trying to save money by gardening.”

The association calculated that you’ll save $600 a year by planting a 20 by 30 foot garden and growing your own vegetables. If you grow pricey veggies like mesclun greens ($10 a pound at stores), you’ll save even more.

But monetary concerns aside, gardens are sprouting up because consumers want to eat healthier food, Nardozzi says. “There is concern about the safety of the food and what is sprayed on it,” he explains. “People want better tasting fresh food and they’re tired of eating produce that has been gassed. There is also concern over the environment. Having a garden is a way to use less energy, create less pollution and reduce global warming.” Continue reading Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden (Google / Daily News)

Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

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Window Gardens:  A Hobby for the Hurried

Gardening can be a relaxing hobby. In fact, studies have shown that gardening reduces stress and even increases longevity. Unfortunately, traditional gardening consumes so much time that the people who need relaxation most rarely have time to garden.

Luckily, there is an alternative for busy people, a window garden. Gardening in a window can be as simple as buying several potted plants and putting them on a windowsill. For people with just a bit more time on their hands, a window box offers more room for creativity.

Start a Window Box…

To start a window box garden, you will need a nice deep window box that runs the width of your windowsill. You can find a box that blends with any decor, ranging from fancy wrought iron boxes with glass inserts to simple solid cedar boxes. Of course, the inexpensive shallower plastic window boxes will also work, but these boxes require more maintenance, since they will dry out much more quickly. Continue reading Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Window Box Herb Gardening (Google / Chef Paz)

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Window Box Herb Gardening

While Paz has been recovering from surgery, she’s been dreaming about a garden in her window.  In the city, it’s a challenge to maintain any type of garden. The wind, heat, car exhaust, and even the noise test the resilience of the most hardy plants – and often test the patience of the gardener, too. But if your apartment has a sunny window sill, you can grow some of the same herbs I plant in my garden, indoors in pots, or outside in a window box.

There are a few secrets to successful window sill gardening. Most important, choose herbs that don’t grow too wide or tall. Don’t overwater if your herbs are growing indoors; on the other hand, herbs growing in a box outside your window need frequent water, to compensate for evaporation from the wind. Most herbs benefit from frequent snipping, but never cut more than one-third of the foliage at a time.

Chives, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme are good choices. They’re easy to grow, and a small amount added to a recipe will have a big flavor impact. Paz can grow her favorite cilantro, too. Don’t forget about mint; invasive by nature, mint can only invade as far as the confines of your window box or flower pot, and no farther. You can try interesting varieties, like chocolate or pineapple mint. Nasturtiums, which you can start from seed, add color to your window garden, and to your salads.

In my herb garden, flat-leaf parsley is definitely the star of the show this year. I started with nine plants, purchased from our local organic gardening center, and set in the ground in late May. After a slow first month, the parsley really took off. Now I’m harvesting every day, trying to keep up with the late-season growth spurt.


Growing veg is also great in a crate (Google / Dana McCauley’s Food Blog)

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Dana’s Gardening Adventure: Growing veg is also great in a crate

So, the plants and seeds are doing their thing in the garden. Weeds seem to be growing faster than anything, which is a bit of a worry but I guess also a fact of the organic gardening experience. While mine is a classic backyard garden plot, I’ve noticed that people are finding any way they can to be better earthlings by growing a few of their favorite veggies and herbs.

Urban community gardens are popping up in all kinds of Canadian cities. In fact, the picture above is of a 2007 summer Toronto garden sponsored by Hellmann’s mayo. This year their project will continue with 94 contest winners who will get urban garden plots in cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Hellmann’s also has some useful online garden planning tools I found fun to play with. Continue reading Growing veg is also great in a crate (Google / Dana McCauley’s Food Blog)