Many people enjoy year-round goodness by growing their own, indoor vegetable garden. It’s easy to do and can really add flavor to a healthy, home-grown diet. Most herbs and many vegetables can be easily grown indoors, no matter the location or weather. It just requires a little know-how and the willingness to have fun growing your own food.
Indoor growing is usually done in containers and using container-mix (home mixed or purchased) or a soil replacement medium for container growing. Some indoor growers also use hydroponic and similar setups, but that is for the more advanced gardener.
Picking an Indoor Vegetable Garden Location
Growing indoors can be accomplished with natural or artificial light. Many indoor gardeners use both. Artificial grow lights have become very inexpensive and easy on energy use, especially with the new LED varieties, so this option is not as costly as it used to be.
If you’re going to use natural light, choose a balcony, large window (or set of windows), or similar location where plenty of sunlight comes in for most of the day. This should be south-facing, if at all possible, for maximum exposure.
For those who plan to use artificial light, choose a location that is easy to get to, has access to power outlets for plugging in the lights, a way to hang the lights, and somewhere that will be suitable for draining the plants and where spilled water will not cause problems. Many growers using artificial light or hydroponics set up their plants in the basement near a drain, in a heated garage, or a specially converted closet.
Choosing What To Grow
Common vegetables grown indoors include: leafy greens (lettuce, spinach), cherry tomatoes, bush beans, dwarf tomatoes, and common herbs (basil, cilatro, chives). Many other dwarf and container varieties are also available for other types of vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers, and more.
The possibilities are nearly endless. Your choices will depend on your preference, space, ability, and time. Beginning indoor gardeners usually start with something simple such as kitchen herbs, cherry tomatoes, and the like. More advanced gardeners may want to experiment with varieties they’ve normally only grown outdoors, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, or beans.
Care of the Indoor Garden
Once your garden is established, the normal rules of care will apply. You should have few (if any) problems with weeds – one of the greatest parts of indoor growing. You will, however, have to aid your plants in pollination (if they require it), use special fertilizers for container growing (compost tea is a good homemade option), and be sure your soil, containers, etc. are well-cared for and are cleaned and free of contaminants between crops.
Further, if your indoor air is filtered, artificially heated, etc. it may be much drier than outside air. This means your plants will require more water. On particularly hot days, you may need to keep the area where your plants are growing well-ventilated as well.
Growing a garden indoors is fun, healthy, and a great way to have a year-round garden and harvest. Enjoy!
Get more information on caring for an indoor garden at these websites.
YouTube covers indoor hydroponics for growing vegetables in an apartment.
Learn to build an indoor grow box for about $30 worth of materials.