An avid gardener and long-time Juneau resident, Judy Hauck, holds a yogurt container with lettuce. Using a basic shop light and empty yogurt containers, she's been growing greens inside her home this winter. (Courtesy Photo / Judy Hauck)

Grow her own way: Inside gardening provides homegrown produce despite cold and snow

Microgreens and summer vegetables thrive on North Douglas this winter.

Many people have difficulty naming an upside of the COVID-19 pandemic, but longtime Juneau resident Judy Hauck isn’t one of them.

For her, winter gardening on North Douglas has been the unexpected silver lining of COVID-19. She’s enjoying fresh, homegrown produce this winter, despite the sub-freezing temperatures and snow-covered ground.

“I’ve been able to grow enough lettuce plants for us and our neighbors,” she said. “We are having a tough time keeping up and eating all the lettuce,” she said.

Alaska Science Forum: The gardening potential of the Last Frontier

Since retiring, Hauck usually leaves town for the winter. However, COVID-19 has kept her local this year, and she’s found a new form of gardening success by moving her summer plants inside for the season to extend their lives and growing microgreens right in her kitchen.

Summer vegetables get a new life

An avid gardener with over 100 house plants, Hauck first considered bringing her summer vegetables inside when the cooler fall weather arrived.

After bringing her vegetables inside this fall, local gardener Judy Hauck found that her summer vegetables would continue to produce well into the winter. She enjoyed cucumbers until Christmas. (Courtesy Photo/ Judy Hauck)

She suspected she might have luck inside based on her experience growing tomatoes.

Hauck explained that she tried to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse for several years with only marginal success. Then, she left a pot in a south-facing window, and they flourished.

“One summer, I got a few tomatoes and left them in the window, and all of a sudden, they were flowering. They grow beautifully just inside the window,” she said. “They grow better in the house than in the greenhouse. I can’t explain it.”

This year, she nursed her inside tomatoes into January and brought other vegetables inside, as well.

“I had carrots in a pot outside over the summer. I brought them into my garage in their dirt. I just picked them last week. They stayed nice and fresh and sweet.”

She said they ate their last cucumber at Christmas.

Bitter cold temperatures flirt with record lows

Skipping the produce aisle

A desire to skip the grocery store combined with lackluster produce through grocery pick-up services led her to try growing lettuce and microgreens inside this winter.

“Mostly what I have going are lettuce and a few kinds of microgreens. Basically, I’m not going to the grocery store for produce,” she said.

She explained that she’s using a basic shop light and empty yogurt containers to keep the greens growing on a shelf in her home.

“I put one lettuce seed in each container, and 40 days later, we have lettuce to eat,” she said.

Hauck said the lettuce and microgreens are easy to grow right on the kitchen counter, but she cautioned against using the wrong seeds.

“Don’t try to do microgreens with seeds from the store,” she said. She suggests ordering seeds from seed catalogs.

She also offered advice on harvesting the microgreens.

“Microgreens are like a sprout, only planted,” she said. “It comes up an inch or two, and you harvest them before it’s totally a plant.”

•Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or (907)308-4891.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, July 17, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Cars arrive at Juneau International Airport on Thursday, July 11, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau seems to have avoided major disruptions following global technology-related outage

911 centers, hospitals, airport, and public safety and emergency management agencies are operating.

Most Read