An increasing number of people are discovering the pleasures of gardening. In the past five years, more and more households have started growing food in their homes.
This new trend could be partly due to the increased awareness about our environmental degradation, unhealthy foods and an overall preference for organic foods.
Since sustainability and health is the driving force behind this progressive trend, it makes sense to grow an indoor garden.
Not only would the sustainable practice help in our effort to preserve our environment, it also provides high-quality food that you grew yourself, under your watchful eyes.
But before we begin, one important thing you should remember, gardening is usually a process a trial and error and you will get better with experience and knowledge.
Though, this article will help you understand a bit about your indoor garden, you should still not worry too much if you make a mistake. Just try to have fun, it is supposed to be therapeutic after all.
Here are the ten things you need to know about your indoor garden:
Space Requirements for Your Indoor Garden
The most convenient aspect of indoor gardening is that you will only need as much space as you are able to spare.
Even in a restricted place you have a lot of options in terms of what you want to grow. A lot of people simply start off by growing something like tomatoes on a windowsill.
Since, indoor gardening is pretty dynamic and scalable, you can even dedicate an entire grow room and grow all kinds of delicious vegetables and fruits.
A few shelves on the wall will be able to house countless plants.
We all know that plants need light in order to grow. If your plants don’t get enough light it will grow but without a strong foundation to support itself.
Don’t expect a weak plant to grow healthy leaves and forget about seeing any flowers or fruits. Even those being grown on a windowsill might not get enough light to thrive, especially during winter seasons.
We can address the issue of lighting by installing a grow light. But plants need sunlight or at least light that has the same wave length as sunlight, meaning, your regular bulb won’t work.
Once you have your grow lights, you will want to install them as close as possible but not close enough to burn the plants. Most long plants tend to thrive with 14 to 16 hours of light and short plants on require around 10 to 13 hours.
If you are worried your plants are not getting enough light, you can always look for the following signs: thin and weak stems, smaller than usual leaves and an unusually lighter color of the plant.
Understanding Grow Lights
The market is filled with all kinds of grow lights, as aspect that tends to confuse and even overwhelm new growers.
But don’t worry; a simple explanation will help you get some clarity. Incandescent bulbs are quite cheap and readily available, but they are not suited for indoor gardening.
Florescent lights, on the other hand, are best suited for plants that don’t require a lot of light such as herbs, but avoid using them on budding or flowering plants, as they need more light.
A compact florescent system is kind of their upgraded version. These lights are quite bright and emit less heat then incandescent lights and high intensity discharge (HID).
HID bulbs are the most efficient lights a grower could get, but they can come with a hefty price tag.
Although, all plants have varying degrees of temperature needs, most plants thrive between 65 to 75°F. A variance of 10°F is generally considered as acceptable.
And as you gain more experience and knowledge, you can tweak your garden’s temperature to achieve optimum temperatures.
If your plants seem small and weak, then it is possible that your indoor garden is too hot, whereas, yellowing leaves that fall off indicate that it’s too cold.
One of the major challenges for indoor gardeners is the lack of humidity indoors. Winters tend to get drier and your heating system further exacerbates the problem.
The following are some signs that will help you understand if low humidity is a problem: the tips of the leaves start to turn brown, plants start to wither. Plants will also start shedding their leaves.
If humidity is an issue you can take a few measures to increase the humidity.
Firstly, you will want to mist your plants daily, but avoid doing so with hairy leaved plants, as they can retain water, which can cause other complications.
You can also keep some water near the garden and let it evaporate, which will help increase humidity levels. Lastly, set up your indoor garden in a congested microenvironment with higher humidity levels. You can always install a humidifier.
If you are willing to make such an investment, it might actually be good for your skin as well. A bigger investment would be an environment controller, which will pretty much render the entire task to a press of a button.
It is particularly important to invest in good planting medium for an indoor garden.
You will want a special mix specifically created for indoor gardening, as outdoor soil is too heavy and contains insect pests and weed seeds.
The growing material would be loose enough to drain well, but contain enough organic matter to hold the moisture and nutrients in place.
Moving Plants Indoors
A lot of gardeners prefer to move their plants indoors during winter seasons.
If you simply want to move you plants in for the winters, you will need quality grow boxes that you will use to pot the plants.
Once in the grow box, they will need some time for acclimation, which is also true when moving plants outside.
Indoor Gardening Maintenance
Plants that are being grown in grow boxes tend to dry out quicker and will require more frequent watering compared to their soil-grown counterparts.
When watering, make sure you use room-temperature water and try not to overwater them, as it might cause the plant to rot.
You can either get a moisture meter or simply use your finger to feel the moisture in the soil.
Indoor gardens usually need extra nutrients or fertilizers, as most of the nutrients will be quickly drained by the plants and the excess watering needs also leaches the nutrients from the soil.
If you want to ensure that your produce is organic, you can opt for organic fertilizers, but make sure you properly follow the instructions given on the package.
With these nine insights about indoor gardening, you should be able to help your plants thrive and provide your family with some delicious and, healthy vegetables and fruits. Remember, trial and error.