They say fresh food is healthier, but have you noticed the increase in price of fresh food at your local grocery store? So, perhaps you’re thinking of starting your own indoor garden so you can grow your own vegetables. This handy guide will walk you through the steps to creating your own indoor garden so you’ll have fresh foods to eat all year long.
What Can You Grow Indoors?
First, you need to learn what kind of plants you can grow indoors. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and bok choy are an excellent choice. So are root vegetables like carrots and radishes. Many herbs can also be grown indoors. And with each of these plants, there are varieties to consider because some types do better inside than others.
Materials You’ll Need for Setup
There are some important items you’ll need to invest in if you want to grow an indoor garden. The first, of course, is space. This may be an unused room in your home, a basement, or a climate-controlled shed or greenhouse.
All growing things need light. Grow lights are a must for any indoor garden. Some types of grow lights are even LED, which require less electricity to operate. You can find out more about LED grow lights by visiting http://www.lumigrowth.com/sansun-led/ so you can see how this would benefit your garden. Some grow lights even let you program things like light intensity and spectrum (color) to help your plants even more.
You’ll also need to buy pots or containers to grow your food. Container size will depend on what you intend to grow. Carrots and root vegetables will need deeper pots (up to 6 inches deep) than lettuce or herbs (which do well at 4 inches). But all plants need root space to grow properly, so make sure your pots are large enough to accommodate what you’ll be putting in them. You might also add a plastic pan to catch water draining from your containers.
Of course, growing plants require soil, so you’ll need to get a quality potting soil. Organic potting soil is available if you want to go that route. You’ll also want to get a fertilizer like a weak mixture of Fish Emulsion to use weekly if your plants show any signs of distress.
Last, you’ll need seeds or sprouts that are already started. Established plants will guarantee you a quicker harvest, and some types of seed plants are difficult to start from seed. And herbs are slow to mature, so buying established plants will decrease your growing time.
Building Your Garden Space
Put your grow light setup in your intended garden space. Make sure to keep your garden away from heat sources like a wood-burning stove. Too much heat will make your plants seed early instead of producing a continuous harvest.
If you’re starting with seeds, follow the instructions on the seed packet. It will take time for your seeds to germinate, so you’ll want to keep the soil moist. When you purchase established plants, you may need to repot them if the roots are showing through the drain holes.
Arrange your growing lights about 2 inches from the top of your plants. You’ll have to adjust the lights as your plants begin to grow. Most plants grown indoors need 12-16 hours of ‘daylight’ a day. Having a timer on your grow light can help you achieve this.
Water your plants twice a week or whenever you see that the soil is dry. Fertilize your plants as needed. Research the types of plants you plan to grow so you’ll know the specific requirements for each.
Monitor the heating in your garden, especially over winter. Growing plants do best in cool, not hot, conditions, but you don’t want the plants to freeze, either.
Once your plants have grown enough, you can begin harvesting the fruits of your labor. Research on your plants will give you the information as to when is the best time to begin harvesting. And many products from your indoor garden can be put in the freezer to store for later use.
Starting Outdoor Plants Indoors
Some people like to start their outdoor garden plants inside before transplanting them to an outdoor garden in the spring. This is another option if you like to garden outside, too. Plants started indoors for an outside garden are hardier and some plants are difficult to start outside from seeds. Starter plants can be transplanted outside when conditions are favorable, and help decrease the time they need to be harvested.
Growing a garden indoors doesn’t have to be difficult. An unused room or basement can make an excellent space for growing plants indoors. Don’t forget, your plants will need a grow light to help them to their full potential. If you keep your garden space lit and at a proper temperature, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh greens and veggies all year long!