Tips on Growing Vegetables Indoors
Right now, in the Southern Hemisphere, temperatures are dropping steadily. By next month, we'll have our combustion heater on every day. Besides feeding and caring for the chickens outside, I'll become more sedentary, focusing on indoor activities. Why not start an indoor veggie garden? This way we can supplement our diet with lots of healthy vegetables and save money this winter. This article includes links to helpful gardening tools and seeds through Amazon.com.au. It would be great if you would consider purchasing through this article, to help cover the costs of the website hosting.
Pick a Good Spot
Planning for your garden before you build it is absolutely key for a successful indoor garden. Choose a good spot in your home that is out of the way, and that has adequate space and also plenty of sunlight. Just like outdoors, your plants need the sun to thrive. So either put your indoor garden space next to a window with plenty of light, or you can also use UV lamps.
Our main living areas are solar passive, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the north side of the house. Clearly, the people who built the house were focused on bringing the outdoors inside during our long, cold winters, because there is a large area that has been set up with gravel right next to the windows. We'll use this spot for our indoor garden.
Use the Right Containers
What you plant your vegetables in is of great importance. Your containers need to be the right size to hold soil securely and to avoid the risk of tipping. Each plant needs a different amount of space; you can usually find this information on the back of the seed packet or through your garden supplier.
Also pay attention to what your containers are made of or what they used to hold. No matter how much you clean a container, if it once held hazardous materials there can still be some traces that will seep into the soil.
Unlike your outdoor veggie patch, you should spend a bit more time figuring out the aesthetics of your containers. After all, you will be looking at them every day.
Choose the Right Plants
Some plants thrive indoors better than others. Here are some good indoor plants to grow:
* Tomatoes - Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow, especially for beginners. They do need plenty of warmth and light, so either stick these next to a window or get a UV grow light. To germinate them from seeds, the temperature needs to be around 20c. You may want to start them near a heat source, like your laundry room or kitchen countertop.
* Peppers - Like tomatoes, peppers are good beginner vegetables. I toss out my capsicum seeds into the worm farm, and the heat and fertility always get the seeds to germinate.
* Herbs - Herbs are grown in kitchen windowsills everywhere. Just about any herb you can think of, from basil to cilantro to ginger, can be grown indoors. You can even buy some herbs from your market and place them in water to grow new roots for a quick start to your garden.
* Carrots - With a deep container, lots of light, and moist soil, carrots are another yummy and easy indoor vegetable. Did you know that you can even eat carrot tops? Why not create a carrot top pesto or chimichurri sauce?
* Mushrooms - They grow all over your yard, why not in your home? Mushrooms are super easy to grow, and your local garden supply will likely have kits to make it even easier. I skip this fungus because I'm allergic to mushrooms, but there are plenty of mushroom growing kits on the market. You can grow them anywhere that is dark.
* Micro-greens - You can use the seeds from just about any and every vegetable and “sprout” them. Sprouting is an easy and super healthy way to get tons of vitamins and nutrients.
* Green onions and garlic - Green onions and garlic alike are easy to grow indoors and need very little tending. I normally just reuse kitchen scraps. After cutting the green portion of the onions for my cooking, I place the white root area back in soil, and it pops up like magic. With my garlic, when they start showing green on one end, I just push them down in soil and cover them up. In a few months, I'll pull them out to find a full bulb in its place.
Take Care of Your Plants
For each plant that you grow, make sure you know that plant's specific needs. Some require lots of light, others very little, and some require more water than others. Knowing these little things ahead of time can make indoor gardening much easier. Be sure to add fertiliser to your water every couple of weeks. I like using a seaweed based fertiliser.
Keep Pets and Pests Away
Since you are growing indoors, you will likely have fewer pests bothering your garden, but you still have to be careful. Mites, parasites, and other pests can still infiltrate and actually thrive indoors. Also, make sure to keep an eye on your pets and keep them away from your plants as well. I use a neem oil spray.
Growing an indoor garden is easy and fun. With these tips, you can keep a vegetable garden all year long, even in the bitter cold months of winter.