Whether you live in a city, have limited outdoor space, or want to garden all year long, indoor gardening is a great option. It generally takes up little room – or as much room as you can give it – and can serve as a base for starter plants that you’ll take outside in the spring.
If you’re interested in starting an indoor garden in your home, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your venture.
An indoor environment will not provide the kind of light that you get with an outdoor garden. But you have a couple of options when it comes to lighting: 1) Grow plants that have less light requirements, or 2) Use artificial lighting to provide adequate light. Without the right amount of light, your plants won’t thrive as they should. Some notes about lighting:
*Place the light as close to the plant as possible while being mindful of not burning the leaves.
*Most plants and vegetables require 14 to 16 hours of light, whether it’s sunlight or artificial light.
*Many people use indoor grow lights and there are plenty of different kinds available: incandescent lamps, fluorescent lights, compact fluorescent systems, High-Intensity Discharge Bulbs, High-Pressure Sodium Bulbs, and Metal Halide Bulbs.
The size of grow light you need depends on how far above the plants your light is and the size of your indoor garden.
Plants grown in indoor containers require frequent watering because they dry out more quickly than those grown in outdoor soil. Use water that’s at room temperature and make sure to use enough water so that runs through the drain holes of your plant container. Use your finger to test the soil to make sure you aren’t overwatering or underwatering (both of which can damage your plants).
It’s also important to understand the moisture needs of the plants you grow. Some plants prefer consistently moist soil while others thrive when the soil dries out between waterings.
The best temperatures for growing indoor plants are between 65-75 degrees. Too much heat will cause plants to grow small and weak, while too-cold temperatures may result in yellow leaves that fall off.
- Soil/Growing Medium
Outdoor soil is not appropriate for indoor gardening because it’s typically too heavy, and may contain weed seeds and insect pests. But the good news is that you can find several types of indoor organic mixes available. These are loose and drain well while also containing enough organic matter to hold in nutrients and moisture.
*You may also want to consider growing your indoor plants hydroponically – which means you’re growing them without soil but providing nutrients directly to the plant. Instead, the medium used may be gravel, sand, coconut fiber and more – materials that don’t provide nutrients. All of the plant’s nutrition comes from a nutrient solution.
- Where to Place Indoor Garden Plants
The most common form indoor gardening is to place plants in windows that get a fair amount of light. Windows that receive more light are good for growing leaf and root vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, onions, and radishes, while windows that receive less light are suitable for many houseplants.
Just about anything can be used for a plant container as long has it has adequate drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at its roots. Common container options include plastic, clay, and peat pots, while recycled containers such a school milk containers may be used, as well.