Indoor Gardening – Getting Started
Indoor gardening includes a wide range plants, designs and benefits. Growing fresh herbs is a great way to have fresh ingredients for your kitchen. All you need is a few hours of sunlight or some fluorescent lights. Herbs are great for indoor gardening and will grow in a fast draining potting mix. They do not need much fertilization and will grow well without much attention. You can also venture into indoor vegetable garden to further experience indoor gardening.
There are many indoor garden ideas, let us look at the steps involved. The first thing you need to worry about is light. If you have a home that gets about 8 hours of sun a day, you can grow your herbs on a south facing windowsill; that should give your herbs more than enough light. You can also grow the herbs under grow light. Due to the fact that, herbs are grown for their foliage and not their fruits, a compact fluorescent light bulb will provide the needed light spectrum at the needed intensity for the plants. You will need to hang the lights about 3 inches over the plants. With grow lights, the plants will need about 12 to 14 hours of light daily.
The next thing to consider is the potting mix. The best thing about herbs is that, they will grow in any potting mix that drains well. The only no-no is a poor draining potting mix or soil. You need to ensure the mix drains very well. Providing adequate drainage holes for the potting mix is essential for the growth of the herb plants. Make sure you do not use garden soil unless you have sterilized it. This is because garden soil will have weed seeds, pathogens, and insects that can harm the plants. Also, garden soil becomes very compact when watered in a container.
Also, you have much to choose from when it comes to pots or planters for your plants. Pots come in different sizes, colors, and shapes. You can go for a rectangular planter if you seek to grow your herb on tour windowsill. If the herb is small, a pot with a diameter of 8 inches or 24 centimeters will do. For big herbs, you should use bigger planters.
Watering and fertilizing are very important for any plant. Watering need to be done more often, since the plants are being grown in a pot. You need to check the plant regularly to ensure the mix has enough moisture. When the weather is warm and dry, you may need to water the plant as much as twice a day. However, on a normal day, you will need to water the plant just once every three days. Herbs do not prefer much fertilization. If you fertilize your herbs well, the foliage will grow green and lush but lacking flavor. You have to minimize fertilization, this will ensure your herbs are rich in flavor.
For most herbs, you can start harvesting and using the herb plants as early as 4 to 6 weeks. You will need to harvest the plant regularly so they do not grow outgrow their planters.
Indoor Garden Supplies
You need supplies to start an indoor garden. Here are all the essential supplies needed to start your garden from scratch.
Plants To Grow On Indoor Gardens
The most important aspect of starting a garden is deciding on which plants to grow. If you want an edible garden, you will likely be looking to grow tomatoes, onions, micro greens, lettuce, mushrooms, and such. You can also start a a garden for ornamental purposes. Plants also have a lot of health benefits. It is important to get good quality seeds or seedlings. You can obtain seeds from your nearest garden center or even off the internet from sites such as Amazon.com. The older the seeds, the less viable they will be. Fresh seeds are therefore important.
Indoor Gardening Planters
This is another important indoor gardening supply. The planter is the container within which your potted plant will grow in, you can acquire planters online or from your local garden center. You can also make use of containers found around the home such as wooden crates, old teapots or kettles and so on. You can also easily build your own planter. This makes your garden unique. Plastic planters are affordable and come in many different colors. Clayey planter are good for aeration and drainage but are more expensive. You can also go for smart pots. Although these are not stylish looking they are great for the plants. If you plan on growing an edible garden then smart pots may just be the planter for you.
Indoor Gardening Plant Lights
Many people who deserve to start an indoor garden will need to provide artificial lighting for the plants. There are many choices to choose from depending on your plants’ need.
Incandescent Lamps are simply inadvisable. This is because, they output very little usable light and heat that can harm your plants and use up a lot of electricity. They are simply a no-no.
Fluorescent Lights are a great choice for anyone growing an indoor garden for uncommercial purposes. There are many different types. The commonly known florescent lights used for indoor gardening are the CFL bulbs. They are both affordable and use very little electricity.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bulbs are used mostly by commercial indoor growers. These provide enough light for a large number of plants. The only downside is that they are quite very expensive. Examples of popularly used HID bulbs are the High Pressure Sodium bulbs, Low Pressure Sodium bulbs, Metal Halide lights, and Mercury Vapor Bulbs.
Growing Medium For Indoor Gardens
Potting mix is the most common grow medium used in indoor gardening. You cannot just use soil from an outside garden may contain pathogens and pets. Also, outside soil becomes very compact in a pot; and thus would not drain properly. For this reason, you need to either mix your own potting mix or acquire some from your nearest garden center. Different plants require different types of mix. You must make sure the potting mix is right for the plant.
Indoor Gardening Nutrients And Fertilizer
Getting quality fertilizers is also important. You can choose between chemical/ synthetic fertilizer and organic fertilizers. Each has their advantages and depends on you. For starters, organic fertilizers are more expensive.
A humidifier will do wonders for your indoor garden especially if you are growing tropic plants. Some are very affordable while others are more expensive
Indoor Gardening Cutting Tools
You may need prunes, scissors and such to trim you are your garden and to harvest fruits and leaves from your indoor garden.
You may need measuring cups and such for measuring out fertilizers, pesticides among other things.
This is important for breaking down and mixing up the potting mix. A hand fork and a watering-can makes up the two most important elements for indoor gardening to prosper.
This is important for re-potting and transplanting seedlings.
Watering Can For Indoor Gardens
Of course, you cannot water your plants by simply pouring the water onto the pot. This can damage the plant and waste nutrients deep. A watering can is recommended and vital to your indoor gardening.
This is great, because it saves space. You can grow as much as 20 individual plants in as little as a square meter of available space.
Heat mats, oscillating fan, cotton swabs, soil thermometer, and rake are all supplies that will make your gardening experience an enjoyable one.
Indoor Garden Systems And Kits
There are many gardening systems in the form of indoor garden kit available to indoor gardeners. You can also use kits to grow your garden. They usually cost a few extra dollars but they come included with all that is needed to grow your garden. One of the fastest way to start an indoor garden is through the use of kits. Here are the types of kits out there.
Hydroponic Gardening Systems And Kits
Hydroponic is growing in popularity. This is exclusive to indoor gardening and is a system which is very efficient. The plants in a hydroponic system grow very fast, and yield more. With hydroponics, the nutrients and water are supplied directly to the plants roots. There is no soil, or potting involved in this form of indoor gardening.
This system is also known as fogponics. Popular aeroponic gardening kits include the PowerGrow Systems Ultimate Bucket Cloner + Aeroponic Garden Combo Kit. The prices can be as low as $60 and as high as $500.
These use wicks to transport water and nutrients to the plants. The prices for hydroponic kits that uses the wick system are quite low.
Water Culture And Aquaponic Garden
This is a type of gardening where the plants are allowed to grow on the water. They are usually supported by a medium such as Styrofoam. Oxygen needs to be added to the water in this system, since the plants roots need it. You can build such a garden system from scratch or get a kit such as the Springworks Microfarm Aquaponic Garden or the popular Back to the Roots Water Garden by Back to the Roots.
Ebb And Flow – Flood And Drain Garden System
This is a popular hydroponic system. In this system, the plants’ roots are supported by a medium which is flooded with nutrient-rich water and then drained. A timer is used to control a pump that floods and drain this system. Active Aqua Flood and Drain Kit and Botanicare Ebb and Flow Fitting Kit are popular ebb and flow hydroponic garden kits.
You can acquire hydroponic gardening kits at your local garden center, at a mall or through the internet, on e-commerce websites.
Culinary Herbs Garden Kits
Herbs are very popularly grown plants. This is because they are easy to grow. You can decide to use a herb kit to grow your herbs. Some of these kits have automated systems that self-water your plant, and provide adequate lighting for your herbs. Popular herb kits include Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Sprout with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, and BUZZY Herb Windowsill Kit.
Salad Garden Kits
Just like herb garden kits, you can acquire kits designed for growing vegetables indoors and other culinary ingredients used in salads. These indoor vegetable garden kit allow anything you desire, you do not need to follow the patterns of the season unless outdoor gardens. You can grow tomatoes, salad greens, garlic greens, carrots, cucumbers, onions, parsley and many vegetables with these kits. These are also automated kits in this section. The Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Salad Greens Mix Seed Pod Kit is a popular salad garden kit.
Mushroom Garden Kits
If you love mushrooms, you can grow them using a mushroom garden kit. This simplifies the process. Popular mushroom kits include Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Farm and the Reishi Mushroom Garden Patch- Indoor Mushroom Growing Kit.
Flower Garden Kits
For those who love to grow flowers, a flower garden kit will simplify the process for you.
Bonsai Tree Kits
There are also kits to help you grow trees indoors. Bonsai is the most popular type of indoor tree gardening, as such most of these kits are made to grow bonsai trees. Grow 4 Bonsai Trees with Nature’s Blossom Growing Kit and the Plant Theatre Bonsai Trio Kit are popular bonsai tree kits.
Indoor Herb Garden Ideas
When it comes to indoor gardening, you do not always have to follow the orthodox. You can be unique or like everyone else, that depends on the indoor herb garden ideas. Gardening is an art, indoor herb gardens can beautify your home. Also, you do not need to spend so much on supplies, you can make use of many everyday objects.
The Bottle Garden
One of the easiest way of starting an indoor herb garden is by using bottle. Start by cutting the plastic bottle into 2, use the end with the cap (still on), with the cap facing down, you can pour potting mix into the bottle. And sow your herbs in there. You can make drainage holes into the cap and then hang the herb. You can design it in such a way that, water from the bottle drains into another underneath it and so on.
A Hanging Garden
You can grow hanging gardens in many ways and styles. For instance, you can create a wire basket garden or hang the planters on your wall. You can make use of old tins, and other old containers. You can hang your garden using old curtain holders, wine holders, small buckets and so on. If you are handy, you can construct your own holders for your plants. A Clothespin pouch garden is also very handy. This type of indoor gardening is quite trendy and popular among urban population.
Upside Down Garden
One great way to have access to your herbs whenever you need them is to grow an upside down garden. Benefits of upside down gardens include the elimination of tasks such as stalking plants, weed removal, and tilling. They are quite popular among urban gardeners who have limited space.
Mason Jars Herb Garden
Mason jars are not only good for storing ingredients; you can also use them as planters. Because of their size and shape, they can easily be moved around and placed in holders. They can also be placed on racks. Because you cannot make drainage holes into mason jars, you will need to go easy on the watering. You can grow all types of herbs in these mason jars such as mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil. This is an interesting and off-beat indoor gardening idea.
Herbs Garden on Wheels
There are different ways to achieve these. You can grow your garden in planters that are then placed on a rack with wheels. You can move your garden. This is convenient. You can even grow a garden straight from your wheelbarrow. You can also use a bar cart. The advantage of having a garden on wheels is the convenient. Grow your garden and wheel it about.
Windowsill Herb Garden
This is a popular urban indoor gardening style, because windowsill has more access to sunlight. There are windowsill garden herb garden kit designed for windows with no or tiny sills. If your sill is large enough to hold your garden, you can grow as many as 6 individual herb plants on one sill. You can acquire window sill garden kits. These are specifically designed for sills. You will need to ensure you know the dimension of your window sill so as to get a kit that will actually fit on your window sill.
Hanging Herb Gardens
One of the ways to grow an indoor garden is through the use of hanging gardens. Growing herb indoors in a basket or put that hangs from a ceiling or a rod. This gives you easy access to the herbs when you want to harvest them. You can also grow upside down hanging gardens. These are sure to awe all visitors.
The best thing about hanging herb garden is that almost all herbs will thrive in them. Here are a few herbs that you will normally find in hanging herb gardens: Sage, Lemongrass, Chives, Mint, Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, Marjoram, and Basil.
Creating A Simple Hanging Herb Garden
We will be looking at a simple wire basket garden. Almost everyone can make this very simple hanging garden at home.
- You should start b soaking some coconut liner or peat moss with water and lining the basket (which is the planter).
- Then you fit a plastic bag into the basket. You should make drainage holes in the plastic bag. You can also use a smart pot. This is a fabric container, which does not need drainage holes and provides the plant’s roots with good aeration.
- You can make some cuts into the liner and place some few herbs in there. This is for aesthetic purposes.
- You can now add your desired potting mix into the basket. Since most herbs prefer well-drained potting mix. A cactus mix is superb for herbs. You can also use a potting mix composed of 3 parts general purpose potting mix and one part perlite. Also, you can decide to sow many different types of herb seeds in one basket or just a single type of herb in your garden. You need to ensure the plants are compatible. For instance, dill and fennel herbs can cross-pollinate and create weird tasting seeds. Also, the herbs must have the same watering, and light needs. You can also use seedlings.
- Once you have sown or transplanted your seedlings, you should water your herbs and hang them.
Useful Hanging Garden Tips
- Try not to overwater your hanging herb garden.
- You should pick leaves before they bloom. This is because the leaves lose some of their flavor when they bloom. You can try to nip the buds the moment they appear.
- To contain infestation of pests and diseases, you should try to accommodate a plant with a planter.
Indoor Vertical Garden – A Visually Stunning Garden
More and more homes are growing vertical gardens. These are not only visually stunning, they also require very little space. With vertical gardens, you can grow much more plants in a very little space. Having an indoor vertical garden comes with many more advantages. This form of indoor gardening is not new and quite popular.
Having an indoor garden will definitely reduce energy costs. You may be wondering how that is possible. Plants have the ability to regulate temperatures very effectively. Using a process known as evapotranspiration, plants are able to absorb heat out of the environment. This means your air conditioners will use less energy when cooling your rooms since the plants are doing some of the job. Also, when the weather gets cold, plants are effective insulators. This helps in keeping your apartments and office spaces warm. When you grow many plants together in a small space, they tend to create a micro-climate. This helps regulate not only the temperature of the space but also the humidity levels of the space they are situated.
A vertical garden will significantly reduce noise pollution. Plants do this by refracting and reflecting sound waves in a manner that minimizes their volume. This is especially essential to urban homes where noise pollution is a major issue. Thus you should keep this in mind while making plans for your indoor gardening.
A vertical garden will also improve the air quality of your home or office. Plants can remove 90% of toxins from an indoor atmosphere in as little as 24 hours. Carbon dioxide is also removed from the atmosphere. High concentration of carbon dioxide can lead to sick building syndrome according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. This can lead to acute health and comfort effects. In the work place, this will reduce productivity. A vertical garden is a great way to have many plants in an office space.
An edible indoor vertical garden is a great way to have fresh ingredients in your kitchen. You can grow all sort of herbs, spices, vegetables, and micro greens.
When starting an indoor vertical garden, you will need to consider how you will hang the plants on the wall and also how to be keep your walls dry while the gardens moist. There are many DIY ideas for indoor vertical gardens. There are also kits you can use. For a corporate entity, may want to hear professionals. Before you give anyone the job, you have to understand what is being done and their track record.
Windowsill Herb Garden
One of the best places of indoor gardening can be your windowsill. This will allow your plants to have all the needed hours of sunlight. This is particularly true when the window is a southward facing window.
Before you get started, you need to choose a container for your plants. When you are growing on the windowsill this is crucial because of both the size and shape of the windowsill. To maximize the number of pots you can place on the limited space, many utilize rectangular or square planters for their herbs. Other things you will need to take care of are drainage holes and the size of the planter. You can place a tray underneath your planter. This will collect any excess water that drains out.
When starting an indoor herb garden, you will need to decide whether you should go with seeds or seedlings. There are various DIY indoor herb garden articles like – windowsill garden, it may be best to start the seeds inside, and transplant the seedlings once the plant has been established. This is because the heat from the sun can be detrimental to the germinating plant.
Once the seed have germinated, they need to grow in the perfect potting mix. You should make sure your potting mix contains vermiculite or perlite. These substances will help with drainage and aeration. The roots of most herbs will drown and rot if the mix is waterlog for extended period. Also, the roots need oxygen, so the potting mix needs to be properly aerated. Perlite and vermiculite does these jobs very well.
Ensuring that the weather conditions are right for your indoor gardening plants is absolutely crucial. Herbs such as chives, cilantro, and parsley can grow well with just 3 hours of sunlight per day, while oregano, mint, thyme, and rosemary needs as much as 7 hours of sunlight daily. You can always compensate with grow lights if your herbs do not get access to enough sunlight. The right temperature is also very important. Most herbs are Mediterranean in origin; as such, they need warm temperatures to grow well. Temperatures between 60 and 80 °F should be good enough for most herbs. You should ensure the herbs do not touch heated glass windows since they can kill the leaves.
Watering of the herbs need to be done only when the potting mix is dry to about 2 inches in depth. You should check regularly. Most herbs will grow nicely with minimal fertilization.
Tips On How To Grow Herbs Indoors Successfully
How to grow herb indoors? Here are some tips you help you grow the perfect herbs garden indoor.
- Provide your herbs with optimal temperatures (60 – 70 °F / 16 – 22 ° C). When it comes to determining the best temperature for indoor gardening, be it herbs or vegetables. You can invest in a soil thermometer and a heating mat. Heating mats will keep the soil temperature at the right warmth. These heating mat do not get hot, they remain slightly warm. They will not kill your plants. A soil thermometer will enable you check the temperature of the soil whenever you want.
- Ensure you run your plant under a tap once every 6 months. This is to rid your potting mix of residual buildup of salt from fertilization. This buildup will have adverse effects on the health of the plant and thus the yield.
- Make sure the aeration is good. Stale air is bad for plants as it aids with the development of diseases and the growth of mold especially since the potting mix will be moist a lot of the time. You should ensure the air movement in the home is good. For that you can get an oscillating fan for your plants. You can also keep the windows open for as long as you can.
- Organic fertilizers are best. Indoor gardening is much dependent on proper fertilizers for the plants growth. That is because they are cut off from the outside world, and all their natural access to nutrition is compromised.
- Make sure your planter have adequate drainage holes if the planter is not a smart pot. Another important thing to watch out for.
- Make certain your herbs get enough light. This is very important. Most herbs are Mediterranean in origin as such require a minimum of 7 hours of direct sunlight daily. You can substitute this with 14 hours of grow light.
- Frequent watering is important. Although most herbs do not require watering as frequent as vegetable plants, you should make sure you water them when the potting mix is dry. When watering, do so slowly and with a watering can.
- Use the very best potting mix. This is very necessary, the better your potting mix, the better your herbs will grow. You can acquire potting mix made specifically for the herbs you are growing. Cactus mix is also a great option.
- Plant each herb in an individual container. You may be tempted to grow a bunch of herbs in the same container as this will save space. However, if a single herb get infested all the rest will. When you grow each herb in a separate pot, you can significantly reduce the rate at which a pest, parasite or disease will spread. If you can, you should grow plants in individual pots.
- Enjoy what you do. It is important that you enjoy growing herbs. If your heart is not in it, you will end up ignoring the plants a lot.
When all is said and done, the benefits of indoor gardening make it a worthwhile project to take on.