Maintaining outdoor vegetable gardening through the cold month of December is challenging even for the experienced gardener. Most vegetables are susceptible to frost and freezing temperatures and no matter how much you protect them with a blanket or straw cover, they eventually die. The simplest way to tackle the problem is to grow winter crops indoors where it is warmer. With careful planning, you can continue harvesting fresh homegrown vegetables all year round for yourself and your family.
Place the containers next to a southern or western facing window for maximum sunlight through the month of December. Line each container with broken shard of crockery or gravel to improve drainage. Place a large saucer, flat or tray under each container to collect drained water.
Fill the containers with a mixture containing peat or organic compost and good quality potting soil. Use equal amounts to create an enriched porous, light-weight soil that drains well.
Plant seeds of vegetables you want to grow in the containers. Follow label directions for seed spacing and depth. If planting seedlings, poke a hole in the soil and lower the root ball into it. Cover the roots completely with soil and press down to remove any trapped air pockets. Space seedlings 2 to 4 inches apart.
Water each container to ensure the soil is evenly moist. After that, water when the top inch of the soil feels dry, or keep the soil evenly moist at all times.
Mount a fluorescent light or grow light 8 inches above the tips of the contained vegetables to provide 8 to 10 hours of light daily. Maintain the 8-inch spacing throughout to prevent the tips of the vegetables from burning due to excess heat and light from the artificial lighting source.
Fertilize every two to three weeks. Use a well-balanced fertilizer specifically formulated to meet the needs of indoor vegetables at half its strength.