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winter window farming

February 20, 2012

eating local in the winter is still a challenge, even with the growing number of farms using season extension techniques. i continue to enjoy storage vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, squash, celeriac) from last season at turtle creek gardens, but i have a constant craving for really fresh greens that salad mix trucked in from california just doesn’t quench. so this year, i’ve taken winter farming to a micro scale — a miniature windowsill farm.

since i don’t really have enough space for proper plant trays, i found some tinfoil toaster oven trays at the grocery store and bought a small bag of potting mix at the garden center. i soak black sunflower and speckled pea seeds overnight in water, and let each jar of seeds sprout another day or so until most of the seeds show a radicle.

then i sprinkle the foil tray with soil, spread the sprouted seeds across it, and sprinkle a bit more soil.

given water, light and warmth, within a week or two the shoots are long, green, delicious and as fresh as it gets. the main challenge is watering enough to stay ahead of the radiators, which are constantly sucking up moisture from our apartment’s air.

meanwhile, i’m working on crop planning for the coming season. we’re just a week away from the first greenhouse sowings! i’m excited for another year on the same farm, building on all we did and learned last year, refining our systems and growing more great food.

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