Gardens don’t necessarily have to be an outdoor-only activity, and it is sometimes much more convenient to create an indoor garden that you can tend from the comfort of your own home. Whether you are doing it for space reasons, to avoid bad weather, or just want to grow some extra plants in a more convenient area, understanding how to start your indoor garden is the first hurdle you will have to jump.
Tips to Start An Indoor Garden
Choose Your Garden Area
Before you can actually start setting things up, you will need to know where you can actually put the new plants. After all, plants take up space and need specific living conditions, so you will want to take some time to figure out the best locations to grow them.
This will obviously change depending on your climate, the plants you want to grow and the kind of home you have – for most plants, you’ll need little more than sunlight and a medium-temperature room, but others will need more specific conditions to thrive properly. It’s not that difficult to alter these things, so don’t worry about getting it perfect straight away.
Buy the Seeds
Seeds are quite easy to get hold of. Local garden centers and shops will offer quite a wide range of seed types, and the majority will be suitable for your local climate without needing any special gear to grow well. Many will also offer seeds for fruits and vegetables that you can grow and eat, which is perfect if you want your garden to do more than just look pretty.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in a physical store, there’s always a way to order them online. This is especially useful if you’re trying to get plants that can’t be found naturally in your local climate or area, such as cacti or tropical plants.
The advantage of having an interior garden is that you can simulate nearly all weather conditions if you try hard enough, so a warm greenhouse can be used to grow desert or beach plants, and a floor fan can help cool down a room to a reasonable temperature in warmer months.
Because of this, you are under far fewer limitations on what you can grow, and where. It’s just a matter of buying the seeds, either in-store or online, and learning what kind of conditions you’ll need to create.
Should I Buy Complete Plants?
A lot of people prefer to buy pre-grown plants instead of seeds and start-up their garden that way. This isn’t always a good idea, however – plants cost much more and are harder to deliver or carry home, and there’s a higher risk of them dying permanently. With seeds, you can adjust the growing conditions and try to find the optimal place to grow them, whereas fully-grown plants can die for seemingly no reason with no way for you to re-plant them.
On the other hand, pre-grown plants can be a good “booster pack” to your existing garden if you’ve got space left to fill. If you know something already grows well, you can always get a prepared one to bolster the number of flowers, fruit, or vegetables you’re getting since it saves plenty of time compared to having to grow it yourself from seed.
Get a Container
A proper indoor garden isn’t just a handful of plant pots next to one another – many people set up organized trays and containers that allow them to stay close together as if they were being grown in a chunk of dirt taken straight from your garden. This can be something as simple as washed yogurt cups to full-sized growing trays and plant containers, depending on how much you’re willing to spend and the amount of space you have available. There’s nothing wrong with creating a DIY container or using a store-bought one, as long as they can hold dirt and drain water properly.
If you’re a fan of recycling, this is a good time to re-use non-biodegradable containers, which can even include things like bottles or food packaging if you’ve got one of a suitable size. You can also re-use old flower containers if you need to, although it’s important to clean them fully just in case since plant-based diseases can easily spread this way.
Set Up Your Garden
Once you’ve got everything you need and know where to place it all, go ahead and start building your garden. Remember that not everything will necessarily go to plan, and you might have to move things around or place larger plants in a different area. You might even end up wanting to use shelves or a staggered design to hold more plants in a smaller space, depending on the amount of room you have to work with.
Remember to use the right kind of soil – not all soil is perfect for growing plants, and some plants can only grow properly in specific soil types. However, setting this up is far easier since there’s no natural soil indoors, meaning that you can easily split multiple soil types across different containers without them mixing or contaminating each other. This is far easier to manage than trying to do the same on natural ground.
Grow Your Plants
When it comes to actually growing the plants, there are two things you need to be careful with – the light and the water you are using. Plants in indoor gardens need different amounts of water compared to those in outdoor areas, and the sunlight they’re getting won’t be as intense or direct as an outdoor plant. You’ll want to check on your plants far more often to make sure that they’re getting what they need.
Since they’ll be in smaller amounts of soil, you should also focus on watering them as carefully as you can. Over-watering can be a massive problem for plants if they’re not able to drain somewhere, so it’s important to focus on giving them the right amount of water as often as possible. Obviously, it’s not easy to tell what each plant needs visually, but you can check the moisture with your finger to see if it’s damp enough.
Light also matters. While artificial growing lights aren’t usually recommended, since they’re often associated with questionably-legal activities, they can be incredibly useful for basement gardens or other situations where natural light is impossible to get in useful amounts. It can also make a good source of supplementary lighting for gardens that already exist, such as those against walls that only get direct sunlight for half of the day.