Many people are becoming more and attracted to the idea of growing their own food. We know that buying produce locally is more eco-friendly and what could be more local than growing your own food right in your own kitchen?
Many people are becoming more and attracted to the idea of growing their own food. We know that buying produce locally is more eco-friendly and what could be more local than growing your own food right in your own kitchen? Along with being greener, eating your own homegrown foods reduces the risks of being exposed to e coli, salmonella, pesticides and other pollutants that can arrive with food from unknown origins so it is healthier as well.
To grow an indoor garden you needn’t have a large plot of land, large tools and machinery, huge amounts of extra time, lots of physical stamina or even a green thumb.
An indoor garden can produce an ample supply of produce and herbs for individuals, couples or families as long you keep some basic indoor gardening facts in mind. In addition to these advantages, an indoor garden is also less likely to be damaged by severe turns in weather or garden pests.
What can I grow in an indoor garden?
First let’s eliminate those plants that are not ideal for indoor gardening either because they need long growing seasons, a lot of space or a deep root system.
Brussel sprouts, asparagus, parsnips, salsify, corn, pumpkins and squash are not ideal for growing indoors in containers, however, the list of produce you can grow in your indoor garden is surprisingly long, varied and exciting.
*Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, pear tomatoes
*Other types of tomatoes
*Many varieties of peppers, both sweet and hot
*All types of leaf lettuce, Endive, Swiss Chard, Spinach
*Bush beans and Pole beans
*A host of fresh herbs, including mint, rosemary, basil and oregano.
The minimum size container or pot for an indoor vegetable garden is 8 inches deep but at least 12 inches deep is even better. Larger containers will hold more water and allow for deeper roots but also consider space and weight, especially if you may be moving your container garden around. Also, be sure to use pots with drainage holes and trays for proper filtration.
You’ll need to make your planting choices with their temperature tolerances and your available spaces in mind. For example, lettuces, Swiss chard and endive like cooler temperatures. They can tolerate a drop to temperatures in the upper thirties but prefer a climate not over 60 degrees for very long. So an unused or unheated room or cool basement with windows or growing lights would be ideal for these greens.
Other flowering plants such tomatoes, peppers and beans require warmer temperatures and rooms with highs in the upper seventies and lows in the sixty degree range will be just fine.
Indoor garden vegetables need to be sitting near their light source, such as a sunny window or door and they require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. If your lighting is not adequate, you may want to consider fluorescent growing lights.
Vegetables grown in containers must be watered more often because of the limited water a container can hold. Generally vegetables and herbs in containers will need to be watered daily or every other day.
Indoor gardens will avoid many of the devastating garden threats such as beetles, hornworms and cutworms. However, the same types of insects that are attracted to houseplants, like white flies and spider mites, will also be attracted to your indoor garden plants. Wash with an insecticidal soap to remedy these pests.
For the greenest and healthiest harvest, use only organic fertilizers according to directions, which will generally be about every 2 weeks for indoor container gardens.
The harvest from an indoor vegetable garden or container garden may not as large or as numerous but is still likely to be adequate to fill your table with green homegrown produce. Indoor gardening is fun, earth friendly and very rewarding.