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How to Start Indoor Gardening

How to Start an Indoor Garden

Gardens hold such natural beauty. Ripening fruits and vegetables come alive with a painter’s-palette of vivid colors and verdant foliage that add color to our own life. 

And that’s only the visual reward. 

The unseen reward of gardening is its gentle and satisfying effects on the mind and body. Gardening is good medicine. 

It is proven that interacting with a garden, if growing only a few flowers, veggies, or herbs, reduces stress as happy endorphins released in the brain make us feel good and help us decompress naturally.  And then there is the yield; another dose of satisfaction.

While gardens harbor a surfeit of physical and mental benefits, not everyone has space or the time a traditional garden takes. 

For those of us who would love to play in the dirt without going outside, bringing the garden indoors is an excellent option. With a work table, you could even start a Bag-Garden.

5 Advantages of an Indoor Garden

  • Rain or shine, hot or cold, the elements are of no concern
  • The chance of invasion by a host of unwanted insects is greatly reduced (still, watch for mites)
  • Open 24/7 – You can enjoy your little garden any time of the day or night
  • Less physically demanding – You get to piddle, not break your back
  • No weeding

While having a garden inside has its advantages, it isn’t fool-proof. There are a number of X-factors that can cause indoor gardeners some problems.  

One of the worst culprits to crash your garden party is the spider mite (Tetranychidae). These sap-sucking little vampires are smaller than a pinhead and can kill your plants and dreams quite quickly if not addressed immediately. Each female can lay up to 150 eggs per day which hatch in about three days and begin feeding. At that rate, they can grow out of control quickly. 

There are more things to watch for but with a little knowledge and a bit of attention, you can easily keep your little Garden of Eden disease and insect-free. Let’s start.

What Do You Want to Grow?  

Before you begin you’ll need to do a little research on the types of plants you wish to grow. A good rule of green-thumb is to choose plants that grow well under indoor lights. Not all do. You also want plants that mature quickly and maintain a size that is commensurate with their container or pot.

Indoors or out, not everything grows according to our hopes. Some vegetation, such as tomatoes, require so much light to produce fruit that it isn’t feasible to grow them indoors. 

In addition to the high-cost ballasts required, it can be dangerous due to the amount of heat generated by the super bulbs required to grow them. Other plants, such as flowers, herbs, and green vegetables can thrive in a properly maintained indoor garden with decent lighting, and some, like herbs, even enjoy a sunny window sill.

Most plants have the same three requirements to grow. Light, food and water.

What You’ll Need

  • Potting soil – Sterilized soil is best. Do NOT bring in soil from outdoors. It is rife with insect eggs, microorganisms, and potential diseases. We can’t instruct you on the amount of soil you will need, but as to type, generally speaking, any good potting soil will work well.   
  • A garden bed or pots for growing. The size depends on what you grow.
  • Grow lights – More plants require more or brighter lights.

About Lighting

Plants need sunlight in order for photosynthesis to occur. Plants grown indoors require more light than those growing outside. Between 14 and 18 hours of light per day is the standard recommendation for indoor plants. Having at least six hours of darkness is necessary for the plant to remain healthy. A ton of indoor grow lights are available online for all types of indoor growing. Most are also cheap to operate.

7 Great Grows for Your Indoor Garden  

Here are a few suggestions for your indoor growth. These grow fast and love artificial light. Of course, there are more, but here is a list of seven plants that love the great indoors.

  • Mustard greens/greens – Great in salads and so good for you
  • Radishes – A spicy little veggie and a great complement in salads and Asian dishes
  • Lettuce – A leaf vegetable. Did you know you can snip the outer leaves of growing lettuce to enjoy while allowing the head to continue growing and producing?
  • Herbs of nearly every flavor to include Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (shout-out to Simon and Garfunkle)
  • Chives – Cousin of the onion, leek, scallion, and shallot, chives make a baked potato dance with flavor. Wonderful in salads and as an herb butter and more 
  • Mint – Fresh mint for the picking at your fingertips. In the South, iced tea is addicted to mint.
  • Sprouts – Easy to grow and great in salads or on sandwiches.

If mushrooms are your thing, you won’t even need artificial lighting. Mushrooms grow in darkness. Follow this informative link to discover how to grow delicious and nutritious mushrooms from a kit.  

Additionally, if you need some help setting up your garden, there are pre-constructed garden kits that do all the setup work for you and make indoor gardening that much easier to get growing.

Start Small  

Pick a few green things you want to grow and get started. Indoor gardening is a really budget-friendly way to have fun, do something a bit adventurous, and even take pride in your accomplishment. Not to mention consuming what you grew yourself. Healthy and delicious!

So if you want to garden over the winter or anytime, but lack the requirements of a standard garden, try growing indoors. It doesn’t cost much to get started and even if you’ve never gardened before you’ll soon realize it’s fun and you can do it!