Winter Garden Books to Keep Your Green Thumb Busy

Check out our favorite winter garden books, full of fun, creative indoor gardening tips and activities for gardeners of all ages.

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Winter Garden Books to Read

When it’s chilly outside, it’s time to go green inside. These gardening activities and crafts from five popular winter garden books are perfect for beating the cold weather blues and boosting your garden know-how. Check out our favorite hummingbird books.

1. Make Cute Cork Planters

St Lynns Indoor Plant CvrUsed with permission from St. Lynn’s Press

Turn wine corks into tiny planters with advice from Indoor Plant Decor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants by Kylee Baumle and Jenny Peterson.

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“These miniature planters are cute as a button and never fail as conversation starters,” Kylee says. “When using succulents, even watering is a breeze. The ones I made lasted a year, watering just a few drops once a month or so.”

Wine cork succulent plantersUsed with permission from St. Lynn’s Press
Save wine corks to create crafty new homes for succulents.

To start, drill a pilot hole about 1 inch deep in the top of each cork using a 1/4-inch drill bit. Enlarge the hole with a ½-inch bit, taking care not to drill through the cork. Glue a magnet on one side to hang on a refrigerator, if desired. Add a tiny amount of potting soil, then tuck in a small succulent clipping. Add more soil if needed and gently tamp down. Colored aquarium gravel or moss adds flair above the potting soil.

Water 1 teaspoon or less every 10 days to two weeks. An eyedropper works well. When the plant grows too large for the cork, transplant it to a larger pot, take a clipping and begin the fun process again.

2. Multiply Plants with Water Rooting

Halleck Plantparenting For 3d Rvsd 111918.inddUsed with permission from Timber Press

In her book Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables, and Flowers, Leslie F. Halleck, a Dallas-based horticulturist, offers easy-to-follow directions for taking cuttings, making clones and transplanting. “Once you catch the houseplant and gardening bug, you’ll eventually want to make more of the plants you love,” she says.

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Water rooting is one of the easiest ways to make more plants. Start with a cutting from an existing plant or a large seed, such as an avocado, suspending it in a container of water. Note: Patented plants should not be propagated.

Test tubes with plants growing in themUsed with permission from Timber Press
A variety of container shapes and sizes work for rooting plants in water, including test tubes.

You don’t need to use clear glass to root plants, but it’s fun to watch the roots develop, and you can see when the water needs to be changed. When roots are branched and 1 or 2 inches long, plant the cutting or seed in potting mix or continue growing it in water.

Learn more about propagating succulents and getting more plants (for free!).

3. Grow Microgreens for Garnish

winter garden books, Cooking With Emma book coverUsed with permission from St. Lynn’s Press

Emma Biggs of Toronto, Canada, published her first book, Gardening with Emma: Grow and Have Fun: A Kid-to-Kid Guide, at age 13 (with help from her dad, Steven Biggs). She gardens indoors with microgreens. “Sunflower shoots are my personal favorite, with a delicious, sweet flavor,” Emma says. “Pea shoots are popular since they are crunchy and taste just like peas.”

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Stevenbiggs Pg 138 Lentil Sprouts 2Used with permission from Storey Publishing
Lentil sprouts

Other seeds to try include radish, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, chia, buckwheat, and dried lentils or beans. To get a seed-starting adventure going, soak the seeds overnight. Next, find a pie plate or low-sided flat container, then add a layer of lightly moist potting soil and place the soaked seeds on top. Put the plate on a sunny counter and wait a few days for roots to sprout. When the microgreens reach 2 to 3 inches tall, snip them off, give them a rinse and enjoy.

“In my house, we love to snack on fresh microgreens,” Emma says. “They’re amazing in salads, sandwiches, stir-fries and pretty much any other dish.”

Try even more winter garden ideas to keep your green thumb happy.

4. Test Your Memory

winter garden books, Camp Granny book coverUsed with permission from Workman Publishing

Sharon Lovejoy’s creativity-sparking book, Camp Granny, explores the many ways to connect kids with nature.

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One is to make a memory game at home using natural materials photocopied to paper and cut into cards. “This game is a double win,” says Sharon. “You get to share time outdoors together and time indoors to craft your own unique nature cards.”

Look for 24 different flat natural materials in your yard, then glue them on 3-by-5-inch index cards. Glue one item per card and let dry. Place four of the nature-inspired index cards face down on a scanner and printer loaded with heavy card stock or photo paper; make two copies of each set of four cards. Cut each copy into fourths for a deck of 48 cards.

To play, shuffle the cards, then lay them face down in four rows. Take turns flipping over two cards. Players who make a match get another turn. Unmatched cards are returned to the rows face down. The game is over when all pairs are matched.

Check out the best gardening gear for kids!

5. Regrow Celery to Harvest Again and Again

winter garden books, Cover No Waste Kitchen GardeningUsed with permission from Cool Springs Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Katie Elzer-Peters, author of No-Waste Kitchen Gardening: Regrow Your Leftover Greens, Stalks, Seeds, and More, knows how to get extra use from her groceries.

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Growing celery in dirtKirsten Boehmer
Once established, grow celery in soil or water.

“Regrowing celery is one of my favorite no-waste projects because it’s super easy, requires very little space and always results in another delicious harvest,” she says.

Slice through an entire head of celery, about 3 inches from the bottom. Place the bottom—where the roots grow—in a clear glass container filled with 1 inch of water. Place the pot in bright but not direct sunlight, and change the water every few days. New leafy stalks will eventually emerge from the cut top.

Continue growing the plant in water, or plant it in potting soil that covers all but the new growth, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Cut stalks as needed, but always leave a few to keep the plant going. Psst—here’s how to regrow green onions.

Next, check out the best indoor garden kits.

Deb Wiley
Deb Wiley, a fellow of Garden Communicators International, is a writer, editor and creative project manager who specializes in gardens. She previously sat on the Board of Directors for the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and The Brenton Arboretum. She has written magazine articles for Birds & Blooms, Country Woman, Container Gardens, Flea Market Outdoors, Real Gardens, Country Decorating Ideas, Vintage Style, Flea Market Gardens, Iowa Gardener, The Iowan, Small Gardens, ia, Country Style Gardens, Gardening How-To, and Cabin Life. Deb also completed editing and photography management projects for Better Homes & Gardens and North American Media Group, and served as an online content producer for and as a garden editor for Midwest Living magazine.