Straw bales don't just make livestock fodder and bedding. These inexpensive by-products of cereal harvests can…
Are you looking for a reason to start growing vegetables indoors? How’s – saving you from your weekly trip to the farmer’s market? Or the peace of mind you get from knowing that you’re consuming fresh and organic chemical-free veggies every day? It doesn’t get any better than that.
If you came across this post by accident, it’s entirely likely that you’re already sold on the idea of growing your own vegetables. So, we won’t get into that here. What you’re trying to figure out is the how of it all, especially if you don’t have a lot of space in your backyard… or even a backyard at all.
So, stick around. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own fruits and veggies indoors – even if you live in an apartment. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
Top Tips for Growing Vegetables Indoors
Right off the bat, it’s important to be clear on the types of vegetables you can grow indoors. If you were thinking of growing corn, cabbage, melons, or broccoli, sorry folks – those won’t fare well in any place other than the outdoors.
You can, however, grow loose leaf lettuce, arugula, spinach, and herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, peppermint, and sage. Tomatoes, peppers, beets, and baby carrots also do well with an indoor vegetable garden. Here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind when embarking on your indoor garden project.
1. Understand How Much Light Your Plants Need to Thrive and Survive
There’s a reason why this is first on our list. The key to successfully growing any plant indoors lies in understanding how much light they need. Remember, plants need sunlight to synthesize nutrients from the water and carbon dioxide they take in. This process is known as photosynthesis. This essentially means that no light equals no food – period.
The higher the number of windows present in the space where you grow your plants, the brighter the room will be. However, if you have tall buildings or nearby trees, obstructing the amount of light getting into your home, then you may need to consider getting LED grow-lights.
Ordinary light bulbs won’t suffice since human and plant perception of light is completely different. It needs to be within the right spectrum for photosynthesis to occur. To increase or decrease the LED light exposure to your plants, move the lamp closer to them and vice versa, respectively.
If possible, pick a spot for your indoor garden that gets a generous amount of direct sunlight. The magic number is six hours of direct sun exposure per day.
2. Pick Proper Pots for Indoor Vegetable Gardening
Where you grow your vegetables also plays an important part in how well they do. Pick a large enough pot that can adequately hold seedlings until they transform into full-grown host plants.
The size of the pot will, in large part, be determined by how much root space the plants require. The roots of salad greens and herbs, for instance, don’t grow as deep as those of other plants like a cherry tomato plant. So, keep this in mind as well.
The other thing you need to consider is the material of the pot in question. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using clay pots, they tend to dry out at a much faster rate than plastic, metal, wooden, ceramic, or nonwoven plant fabric containers.
It is always better to pick pots for your container garden that have a higher-than-average water retention capacity since it means that your veggies will have adequate moisture, which is a vital part of their growth process.
3. Create a Great Plant-Growing Medium
Well, that’s just a fancy name for soil. However, because you’re growing your veggies indoors, using regular soil won’t suffice if you’re hoping to get the best possible results from your gardening endeavors. You need to go an extra step to ensure that you use a soil recipe that has all the vital nutrients your plants need to thrive.
A great one you can use involves mixing an indoor potting mix, peat moss, or compost, with coarse sand and garden soil. That way, you have a potting soil mixture that’s guaranteed to drain well. Remember to water the soil of your garden bed regularly, preferably in the morning, but don’t overdo it to the point it becomes waterlogged.
On the flip side, letting the soil dry out may result in a bitter vegetable plant, and no one wants that! If all this sounds tedious to you and you prefer a more hands-off approach, consider getting a watering globe to help keep the soil moist without having to be too bothered with it.
4. A Little Fertilizer Goes a Long Way
To boost the nutrient levels that your plants are getting, add some organic fertilizer to enhance their growth. You want to go for something that releases its nutrients at a slower rate to make them available to your plants over a prolonged period. Seaweed meal, in particular, works like a charm.
5. Get the Dwarf Varieties of the Plants You Want to Grow
When growing vegetables indoors, space is a luxury you can’t afford to waste. So, instead of growing the traditional varieties of crops, get their miniature versions. It not only gives you the space you need to squeeze-in lots more veggies in the area you have, but they are also equally as tasty and healthy.
Did we mention that they mature in a fraction of the time it takes conventional plants to? It’s a win-win any way you slice it. Some dwarf-sized veggie suggestions you should consider in your indoor gardening project include:
- Dwarf cherry tomatoes – Takes 45 to 70 days to harvest
- Dwarf cucumbers – Takes 45 to 60 days to harvest
- Dwarf peppers – Takes 55 to 90 days to harvest
- Dwarf mini eggplant – Takes 50 to 75 days to harvest
- Dwarf summer squash – Takes 49 to 60 days to harvest
No More Excuses
If you wanted to take up gardening as a hobby but didn’t have the space to do it before, growing fresh vegetables indoors is now the latest trend to hit the gardening world. So, no more excuses. Jump on that bandwagon and put your green thumb to work!
Do you want a free pair of gardening gloves to get you jump-started on your project? Sign up for our newsletter and get entered into our monthly draw give away!