ByJoanna Lacey

Mar 13, 2019

The full snow moon in the late winter sky reminds us that, although spring is a few weeks away, it is still winter. That fact did not stop my Grandpa Sal from beginning to think about his garden.

While the radiators were still glowing with heat and the plastic sheets were still on the windows for insulation, Grandpa would plant trays of tomatoes, peppers, and basil in his large enclosed porch. The seeds came from the best of his produce saved from the year before.

The porch got lots of sunshine and was relatively warm even in early March. In a few short weeks, there was a mini garden growing in there! By the time the last frost was past, the plants were large and hardy enough to be planted in the garden outside.

While we might not have the luxury of a large indoor porch or an outside garden, if you have a warm apartment and some sunny windows, there’s still lots that you can do even at this early date. You can do what I did this year and plant some herbs. This year, it’s parsley, cilantro, and basil. Planting these three makes sense for me as a single person because I love to cook with them. But a jar or a bunch of these would tend to go bad before I could use them up. I hate to waste food and money.

If you wanted to start garden vegetables as well as herbs in a less than optimal environment, you might want to invest in a grow light. Another way to get fresh greens at this time of the year is to grow plants from food scraps.

I have grown celery, and I have kept large bunches of scallions fresh for weeks this way, just clipping off what I wanted at the moment and the rest of the plant would be used as needed. These plants can produce wonderful vegetables all summer and even into the fall when you could get broccoli close to Thanksgiving time!

While all of us might not have the space for a garden — or Grandpa’s skills at growing vegetables — there is still a lot that we can do to have our fresh greens and prepare for the season to come. Growing and harvesting our own greens is healthy for us and good for the planet with less food waste.

The wheel turns, and we look towards spring.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.