Having a garden is beautiful, fun and a budget-friendly activity. Besides, it comes with tremendous benefits such as increased knowledge about how to take care of Mother Nature, how to grow your own food, and environmental stability. Naturally, plants provide internal benefits such as increased feelings of peace, joy, and calmness and most importantly, having plants at home can make you feel with the world around you.
Whether you’re living in an area without gardening space or you crave fresh harvests during the winter, you can put your thumbs to work by growing your own herbs, fruits, flowers, veggies, and other plants indoors all year round. Plants don’t take up much space and a windowsill can get you started. If you desire to bring outdoor life into your home, here’s a DIY guide about how to make an indoor garden. You can also check Planting Calendar for more ideas.
Find a space
A successful indoor garden depends largely on how you select a space indoors and therefore, make a wise decision. It is recommendable to select an area with sunlight and lots of windows to allow for more sunlight and heat. Given that cold slows your plant’s growth or kills them entirely, avoid any room with cold temperatures such as a garage or attic. Also, avoid areas near a fan or air vent as they can damage your plants or dry them out.
Choose what to grow
Just like an outdoor garden, there are various plants which can thrive indoors from berries, herbs, and flowers to vegetables and decorative greens. Before you randomly pick out some plants, think about the things you need most and determine which ones will grow well in your garden. According to experts, some plants thrive indoors while others do not. If not sure which ones to grow, the following are a few suggestions for you;
- Vegetables – Mushrooms, beans, lettuce, and peas
- Fruits – Strawberries
- Herbs – Oregano, sage, thyme, tarragon, basil, chives, parsley, bay, and rosemary
- Flowers – African violet, cactus, succulents, peace lily, begonia, and marigold
Examine your plant’s lighting needs
For plants to thrive indoors, they require at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Avoid setting your plants in the center of the room but instead, place them close to the brightest window to get as enough sunlight as possible. However, windows will only let in little sunlight that won’t be enough for the growth of your plant and therefore, you will be in charge of providing light through artificial means.
Importance of proper lighting for your plants
- Needed for energy and survival – Plants require light to photosynthesize. Interestingly, they need to photosynthesize for them to survive. During photosynthesis, light is converted into chemical energy which leads to the production of sugars like glucose which provide food for plant’s growth
- Needed for growth and development – Outdoor plants grow and develop effectively because they get enough sunlight. Light is equally important for plant’s growth and development without which, your plants might grow tall and spindly.
Natural sunlight is perfect for plants as it’s more powerful than artificial light and also, it’s well distributed among various wavelengths that enhance photosynthesis. However, if your grow room doesn’t allow enough light, invest in grow lights and here are few considerations;
- Fluorescent lights: Perfect for growing herbs and any other plant that doesn’t require a lot of light. Besides, they are inexpensive hence a good choice for anyone on a budget
- High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulbs: HID bulbs are expensive. However, they’re the brightest and most efficient hence worth the dollars
- Light Emitting Diode (LED) grow lights: Provide the light needed for your plant’s growth without offering excess heat
- Compact Fluorescent Systems: Efficient and smaller thus ideal for all plants
You can choose your grow light online from retailers like Growace.
Consider the temperature where plants can thrive
Plants thrive between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, although a decrease or increase of 10 degrees is acceptable. Plants grown at cold temperatures are likely to have yellow leaves while those grown at hot temperatures become small and weak. Therefore, it is worth doing research on which plants can thrive in your local climate. Alternatively, you can opt to invest in the Autopilot Cooling Thermostat (APCET) to control heating or cooling within the growing room.
Choose a growing medium
Indoor plants can grow in either soil or soilless (hydroponic). If you prefer soil, avoid outside soil because it’s too heavy and may contain weed seeds as well as insects pest that may affect the growth and produce of your plants. Instead, consider a mix of well-draining soil that will not pool, will allow water to percolate through easily and provide minerals and nutrients for your plants.
The soilless technique is preferred by individuals who are willing to grow plants indoors without making the house dirty. It’s worth knowing that the hydroponic method doesn’t have soil to hold nutrients meaning that it will be your responsibility to provide it directly.
Choose between seedlings or seeds
When it comes to planting, most people are confused about whether to start with seeds or seedlings. Well, the decision depends entirely on your personal preferences but if not sure which one to start with, here are two questions that should guide you.
- How well does the plant transplant?
- Are you interested in mature growth within a short turnaround?
If the answer to the above questions is yes, it would be good for you to start with seedlings. But if not, consider starting your indoor garden from scratch using seeds and follow the following procedure:
- Fill your pot or any other container with ¾ of well-mixed soil
- Soil it and level it gently
- Set up rows for your seeds. The rows should be 1-2 inches apart
- Sow the seeds uniformly without overseeding
- Cover your seeds lightly and spray water on top
Mark and mulch your plants
If you’d want to find happiness in indoor gardening, learn to mark your plants according to their feed instructions. This will help you create the best strategy to water and care for your plants and examine the growth of individual plants. Most importantly, mulch your plants to prevent water loss through evaporation and to keep soil temperatures even.
Harvesting comes at different times depending on the plants. You should monitor your plants closely to ensure you know the right time for transplanting, switching to another larger container or harvesting.
Indoor gardening is associated with various benefits; it fills your home with greenery and fragrance, improves the aesthetics of any indoor space, cleanses your household air, and provides a wealth of organic yummy food for you and your family. If you’ve tried indoor gardening in the past but couldn’t work as anticipated, our DIY guide will get you started. As a rule of thumb, choose the right plants according to your local climate and use the correct fertilizer to boost the growth and yield of your plants.