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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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Gardening with Allen: Keep busy with indoor garden

By , Columbian freelance writer

My husband says I have become restless because the seasonal change has curtailed my gardening activities. Do you have some suggestions for indoor gardening?

The very same thing happens to me this time of year, so I like to bring in some of the outdoor plants that will grow well inside.

I have two large west facing windows. I place small, serviceable tables that I don’t mind getting wet in front of these windows. I pull those windows’ horizontal blinds all the way up to get maximum light.

I would prefer to use the south-facing window, but I already have typical indoor plants taking up all the space available there.

I also have an east-facing window that my wife uses for her African violets.

The west windows will be used for starting seeds of my vegetables and annual flowers in February.

Most of the space of one west window is taken up by a large begonia hanging basket. I brought this inside before the recent killing frost. I trimmed this plant back some. I plan to take cuttings from it in early February that I will plant in a new hanging basket for next summer.

I recently took several 5-inch cuttings from coleus plants. I stuck the cuttings in 4-inch pots filled with potting soil and placed them inside clear plastic bags to maintain 100 percent humidity while they were rooting. They will grow well in this west window. I plan to give some of these plants to friends. Some I will plant outside in the shady part of our flower garden in the spring.

In past autumns, I planted 6-inch pots with daffodils, hyacinths and tulips to force them into early bloom inside over winter. I filled the pots almost full with potting soil. Then I placed the bulbs on top so there was just enough space to barely cover them with soil. I made two more plantings every three weeks to achieve a continuing period of bloom. After watering, I placed them in a secondary refrigerator we no longer have. The refrigerator temperature of 45 to 50 degrees was just right for giving these bulbs a 12-week period to develop roots.

You could probably come pretty close to duplicating the refrigerator conditions in an unheated garage or shed. I brought in the pots just as the tops began to sprout, and within two or three weeks, they bloomed. Paperwhite narcissus (which come in both white and yellow) can be forced into bloom without any pre-cooling.

Columbian freelance writer