Here are ways to get a much-needed glimpse of green.

Plant a terrarium

Think beyond aquariums with lids, suggests Tovah Martin in her book "The New Terrarium." Vases, bowls, glass domes called cloches and even wide-mouthed canning jars make good containers.

Terrariums don't have to be closed, Martin says. A container with an open mouth will still help contain some humidity.

Choose plants that like shade, tolerate high humidity and won't grow too large.

Martin recommends putting a layer of small pebbles or gravel mixed with activated charcoal below the soil. If you like, you can top-dress the soil with more pebbles.

Upkeep is minimal. Water very lightly, remove yellowed or damaged leaves, get rid of mold as soon as you see it, and rotate the terrarium occasionally so all parts are exposed to light. No need to fertilize, Martin says.

Start garden seeds

Many garden centers sell kits to get you started. Heated mats and a grow light on a timer for about 12 hours a day give plants a boost.

The seed packet will give you specifics on when and how to plant, but in general, sow the seeds in small containers filled with soilless potting mix that you've already moistened with water. Cover the containers with clear plastic -- or opaque if the seed packet specifies the seeds should germinate in darkness -- and set them in a sunny window where it's warm enough for the seeds you're growing.

Uncover the containers every day to check for growth, and spritz the plants gently as needed to prevent the soil from drying out.

As soon as you see the first signs of growth, crack the plastic covering for a day to let in air. The next day, remove the plastic for good.

For the first couple of days, keep the soil moist, then continue to water as needed. Start feeding the plants a weak solution of a soluble fertilizer once they get their first set of true leaves. Those leaves will look different from the tiny oval or rounded seed leaves the plant will produce initially.

If necessary, thin out some of the seedlings so the rest have room to grow.

Herbs on the sill

For a lazier way to see green, pick up some herb plants. Place them in the sunniest spot in your home, and let the harvest begin.

Regular picking of the leaves will help keep the plants from getting leggy in low light.

If the plants survive until spring, you can move them outside once the nights aren't too cool. If they don't make it, you're still likely to be money ahead compared with buying packets of fresh herbs at the grocery store.

Martha Buns contributed to this report.