from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

Miniature Vegetable Garden Thrives Under Lights

Miniature vegetable garden

I’m deep in the heart of a bitter cold northern winter and something strange is happening. I’m rejecting gardening books and seed catalogs. I really don’t know why, as I’ve always enjoyed snuggling with garden literature. Lately though, I just can’t drum up the enthusiasm for a good, long, green-thumbed read.

What I really need is to get my hands dirty. I really miss my garden. Instead of reading about someone else’s magical relationship with the land, I want to get to work in my own soil. Unfortunately, that possibility is still another month or two away.

My solution? Use the My Greens Light Garden, a tabletop grow light, to work out improvements for the coming gardening season — in miniature. Now I can spend part of my winter arranging and rearranging companion beds, fine-tuning structures, and playing out a good rotation strategy. Added bonus? I can eat my harvests, just like in the summer months.

Here are some tips if you’d like to try this yourself:

Use varying sizes and colors of microgreens
as stand-ins for your vegetables

Although you’ll have to stretch your imagination, you really can mimic most plants in miniature with microgreens. And then you can eat them!

scallions

Sow seeds, such as magenta spreen, thickly to represent bunching onions.

Remember your kindergarten art

Popsicle sticks and modeling clay are valuable tools in the miniature garden. I found that using household tidbits helped me to visualize my goals. In the photo you can see my experiment, transforming mizuna into tomatoes so that I can work out some DIY supports that I admired last summer.

Mizuna tomato

Mizuna + balls of red modeling clay = fairy garden tomatoes

Play with companion planting

Microgreens

I’m learning at which stages I prefer to harvest certain plants. For example, I love tender-leafed baby chard in my salads and big hearty kale plants to take me into winter for soups and braises. Here I’ve placed red-veined sorrel next to Golden Frills mustard, to remind me to plant kale in late summer, on the west side of my chard. The kale will shade the chard from afternoon sun and keep it small and tender. Meanwhile, the kale grows big and strong for winter.

Every gardening season brings new challenges from the previous season, and plenty of planning to do. What do you have on your plate this year that you might be able to “work out” in miniature using a tabletop light garden? Or, have you grown indoor, edible fairy gardens under lights?

Jenny Prince

Jenny Prince is a professional vegetable gardener and soil mineralizer, as well as the author of Eat Like a Farm Girl: 3-Ingredient Plant-Based Recipes. She shares her love for all things vegetable at jennygrows.com .

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