Ever thought of indoor gardening? Maybe it really is for you.
Are you fed up with paying for overpriced and tasteless fruits and vegetables from the local store? You can easily resolve both the problems with the taste and with the money by growing your own produce. But you don’t have a garden? Don’t worry, you can take the garden indoors in your home!
Many people are resorting to indoor gardening in order to ensure that the food they are putting on the table is fresh, organic and delicious. Also, a well-kept indoor garden can produce fruits, herbs and other foods all year around.
And an added bonus? No more battling those terrible flies or mosquitoes!
Also, gardening has an anti-stress effect, and you can enjoy watching your beautiful plants grow every time you come home tired or frustrated from work.
Is it difficult? Well, if you have the patience and the willingness to spend time caring for your home-grown plants then it isn’t hard at all. All you need to do is find the right spot for your little garden and plan out all the essentials you will need to start it up.
Here are the basic guidelines for starting an indoor garden.
Choose the plants you want to grow
Obviously, you can’t grow corn or other oversized plants if you live in a tiny apartment, so choose the plants in accordance with your taste as well as the space you have. If you only have a couple of windowsills available, you can plant your own herbal garden with basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, or any other herb you like to use for those delicious meals you prepare. If you want to have fresh veggies and eat tasty salads even in the winter, then you can easily plant and grow salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, beets, radishes, chives, bell peppers, and many others. Citruses do well indoors, and so do avocados and strawberries.
The least expensive variant for staring up an indoor garden is to grow your plants from seeds. This is a very exciting and fascinating process to be part of and to observe. You will watch those tiny seeds germinate and grow into big plants which pretty soon will be producing seeds and fruits of their own.
Make sure you check the expiration date of the seeds you buy because while they are resilient, over time the endosperm does tend to age and lose its nutritional abilities.
If you have leftover seeds you can always wrap them up and keep them for next year, or swap the remainder with a friend.
Use properly sized containers
Even though the little pots look pretty cute, you should ensure that your plant has room for its roots to grow. The more the roots grow – the larger the plant will grow. So, opt for a pot or container which is minimum 6 x 6 inches. Over time, if your plant stops growing, this may be a sign that it has outgrown its pot and needs to be re-potted.
Oversized containers are not always a good idea either. In some cases, a pot which is too large may prevent the water to actually reach the roots of the plant. So, choose wisely.
All pots, all whatever containers you are using for your home garden should have drainage holes. These will allow for the water to flow freely through the pot rather than get stuck in it and ruin the roots of the plant.
Pick the perfect spot for your indoor gardening project
When you first plant the seeds, the lighting is not as important as the warmth for the germination of the plant. You can keep the containers anywhere you want as long as it is warm enough, and the seeds get enough water to trigger the germination process.
But as soon as the first leaves and stems start appearing, you will need to ensure that they get the light they need to start photosynthesizing and growing by themselves.
The best type of light is sunlight, but not all of us are lucky to have suitable sunny areas at home available for pots and containers.
If you don’t have a place with sufficient daylight, then you can invest in one or more grow lamps. They provide the same kind of lighting which plants need to grow and thrive.
If you want to have full control over the lighting, temperature, and humidity of your garden, then you can get a grow tent. These are pretty useful because you can set them up anywhere you want no matter the light and temperature.
Prepare the right type of soil
Choose a soil mixture which is suitable for indoor plants. You can even mix your own soil by adding bark or compost which improves the texture and coconut hair which helps keep the soil fluffy and aerated.
Do not bring in soil from outdoors, because you risk bringing in pests and weeds with it too.
If you want, you can experiment with hydroponics too. This soilless growing medium not only provides the nutrients for the plants directly but also helps them grow twice as quickly. Also, hydroponics is less messy and requires smaller pots and containers.
Get the light, temperature and humidity right
Plants need light in order to convert it to energy, so make sure that your home garden is getting a sufficient amount of light. Some plants require more hours of light a day while others can thrive well even without direct sunlight.
Make sure you group your plants in accordance with their need for light and position them properly. You can use grow lamps to make sure that your home garden is getting enough light even in a darker area or in the winter.
As for the temperature, if you have central heating and air conditioning at home – your plants should be alright. The best temperature for your home garden is 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure that you maintain the temperature levels within that range because any drastic changes can cause damage and can even kill your plants.
Your home garden plants will also need proper moisturizing. Watch the humidity levels in the room where your home garden is, and if necessary either add a humidifier or mist the plants on a daily basis to keep them well and thriving. You can also place a tray or other vessel with water right next to them to help keep them moist and happy.
Get ready for the watering challenge
Watering the plants is one of the biggest challenges for newbie gardeners. The problem is not that it is particularly difficult to actually water the indoor garden plants, but rather – calculating just much water they need and how often.
Many inexperienced indoor gardeners tend to overwater the plants which can actually cause damage to the roots and even kill the entire plant.
Of course, leaving the plants without watering for long can also lead to a fatal end for your at-home indoor gardening efforts.
So, you will need to find the perfect balance between the two and water the plants only when it is necessary. To check whether the plant needs watering, simply stick your finger in the soil and feel it. The plant definitely needs watering if the soil is completely dry, and should not be watered if the soil is all soggy and soaked.
Water the plant enough so that the excess water begins seeping out of the drainage holes, in order to ensure that it reaches all parts of the roots of the plant.
Have you tried indoor gardening? We’d love to hear how it worked out for you. Please share your experience in the comments.