Author: Dianne Lampe • Date: September 24, 2016 • Appears in:
A Potted Guide To Gardening Indoors
It’s that time of year once more…
Summer is fading away and with it the opportunity to work outdoors in the garden is also vanishing.
Gardening indoors will never be a replacement for the real thing. It can, though, be a superb way to keep your fingers green when the outside world is wet, cold and uninspiring.
It might be time to pack away your log splitter and pole saw but that doesn’t mean it’s game over for gardening.
First Thing’s First
Before you get busy, think about what you intend to do with your indoor garden.
LED Grow Lights?
Do you want a full set-up with LED grow lights? If so, you’ll need to address 6 main issues before starting.
- Ventilation: As your plants grow, you’ll need to combat the heat kicked off by your LEDs. You’ll also need to keep CO2 levels and humidity in balance
- Insulation: Great insulation leads to reduced energy costs and happier plants: win-win!
- Drainage and Water: Think about the proximity of your indoor garden to a water source. How will you get rid of nutrient solutions and run-off water?
- Electricity: LED lights, AC units, heaters, pumps and extractors are heavy on sockets and power. Think about the cost and logistics before getting carried away
- Pest Protection: If you have carpet, you have two choices if you want to minimize pests… Remove it or use plastic sheeting
- Height of Ceiling: 8 ft ceilings are perfectly adequate while 10 ft and upwards allow for superior environmental control and growing flexibility
For more detailed guidelines, here’s a comprehensive look at growing plants indoors with LED lights.
If the above checklist seems daunting or you simply don’t have space, there are other options for growing indoors…
Growing Herbs Indoors
With sufficient sunlight, water and a drop of fertilizer, bringing on herbs in the house is simple.
If you’re tired of the lifeless, frozen variety, just grow your own instead.
Pep up any dish with a sprinkling of tasty fresh herbs and the added satisfaction that you have produced them yourself.
If you struggle for sunlight, mint, lemongrass and chervil are all worth considering.
- Mint: Mint can be invasive grown outside so keeping it indoors is a wise move. Bright and indirect sun is perfectly fine. Your living space will smell wonderful and you’ll have an abundance of fresh mint for all your cooking needs
- Lemongrass: The distinct scent of lemongrass is not its only selling point. This herb grows wild in tropical regions but it’s equally suited to more temperate climates. With a little moist soil and a sprinkling of sun, bring on some lemongrass in a container with ease
- Chervil: With low light and temperatures of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, chervil is a fuss-free choice
If your house enjoys an abundance of light, roll with coriander, sage and thyme.
- Coriander: Also known as cilantro, fragrant coriander flavors many dishes perfectly. It’s a breeze to germinate but requires deep containers to avoid complications. Opt for a window facing south or west and watch it grow rapidly
- Sage: This will only work well indoors with ample sunlight and a south-facing or west-facing window. Sage is awkward to establish from seed so propagate it from cuttings instead. Keep it simple!
- Thyme: Thyme is flexible. It thrives in sunlight but adapts admirably to partial sun as well. If you can offer this herb 4-5 of light hours daily, you’ll be adding it to your recipes in no time
You’ve got multiple alternatives at your disposal if you want to complement your herbs with some tasty organic veg.
Windowsills or conservatories are suitable sites. Make sure that any heavy containers are firmly supported.
Hanging baskets kitted out with drip trays work wonderfully with trailing plants.
With mushrooms, all you need is a dark cupboard.
From tomatoes and eggplants through to carrots and beans, growing vegetables indoors is a stress-free method of slashing your food bill while boosting the quality and freshness of your ingredients.
The changing seasons should not be a barrier for the committed gardener.
This very brief run-down should give you plenty of ideas for bringing your operation indoors.
Whether it’s some simple herbs and spices, a peppering of choice vegetables or a full-bore indoor garden with LED lights, imagination is your only limitation.