Want to start gardening but don’t have the outdoor space for it? Not a problem! Now is the perfect time to create your own indoor garden and grow your favorite produce. As long as you have a space in your home that receives natural sunlight, you’ll be able to have flavorful herbs and fresh, homegrown vegetables at the palm of your hands all year round. Below are some indoor gardening tips.
Choosing your Produce
Anything grown for edible leaves or stems are the easiest to cultivate inside because they can be harvested at any time. Cool-tolerant, leafy, salad greens like spinach, kale, or arugula grow quickly (4 to 6 weeks) and easily in compact spaces. Slow-growing foods like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers must flower and fruit, which ultimately takes longer to reach harvest.
Herbs prefer the outdoors where there is an abundance of sun, but with patience and proper conditions to mimic the outside world, you can grow basil, oregano, and rosemary on the sills of an apartment.
Select Sunny Spots
You may have some large windows or a patio door that is in full sun for a large part of the day, or maybe just a small windowsill. If possible, place your plants near East-facing windows to take advantage of the morning sun. Of course, having natural sunlight is ideal, but your vegetables and herbs can still flourish with the use of specialized artificial lights. Grow lights allow you to grow plants even in a windowless hallway or laundry room.
Consider a heat mat as well if you don’t have the warmth of the sun, as some seeds and plants require warm temperatures to germinate and grow.
No Overflow: Mind your Watering
Most gardening beginners think watering plants a little bit each day is the best way to encourage growth for healthy plants. However, it’s best to water less frequently but more thoroughly. Over-watering your vegetables and herbs is the easiest way to setback your gardening progress.
Check to see if the soil is dry by sticking your finger into it an inch and checking for moisture. If it’s dry, go ahead and water. If it’s moist, leave it alone. Don’t want to get your hands dirty? There are gadgets like this soil moisture meter that tell you instantly whether the soil is dry or wet.
Soil for the Soul
Resist the temptation to fill your pots with a shovelful of dirt from the backyard! Always go for fresh potting mix, which has a mixture of ingredients that keep the soil loose for good root growth and to allow oxygen to reach the plant. It also contains materials that will absorb water and keep your plants from drying out—and many contain fertilizer to get your hungry seedlings off to a great start. Last, here are some indoor garden grow systems to consider.