Indoor Gardening

As the summer growing season starts to wrap up, you might start to look forward to planning next year’s summer garden.  Many gardeners take a growing hiatus over the winter, leaving them dependent on grocery store produce.  Instead of putting away the gardening tools over the winter, why not try growing some food indoors?  Indoor gardening is a perfect way to continue gardening, even when the ground is covered in snow.

What can I grow indoors?

Considering growing garden plants indoors?  Don’t let that old palm tree that you killed a few years ago deter you.  Vegetable plants are much easier to care for and they’re also more resilient than most tropical houseplants.

You can grow most plants indoors if you go about it the right way.  Plant breeders have worked to create smaller varieties of popular plants that will produce an abundance of crops without taking up a ton of space.

Look for varieties of plants that are made for container or are labeled ‘patio sized’.  These varieties are perfectly suited for growing in pots or small containers and can be grown indoors.

Don’t limit yourself to patio sized plants though.  Many normal sized crops can be grown indoors.  Lettuce, leafy greens, radishes, carrots, eggplants, herbs and other small crops can be grown in a container and brought indoors.

Where to Grow Indoors

You can grow plants indoors where there is ample sunlight.  A sunny window is the perfect spot for plants to grow.  Don’t have a sunny window to place some containers?  You might want to invest in a grow light.  A grow light will provide the right type of light to grow plants indoors.

Normal fluorescent lights may not provide the proper type of light to keep your plants healthy.  Plants that don’t get enough light will stretch towards light; avoid stretching by making sure your plants have plenty of light.

Most vegetable plants will need at least 6 hours of sunlight each day to stay healthy.  If you don’t get that much light, add a grow light to supplement the light your plants get.

If possible, avoid highly trafficked areas for your plant containers. The sliding glass doors that get sunlight all day are the perfect place for growing plants unless you use those doors to go outside frequently.  Placing vegetable containers in places where you and your family walk frequently is like asking for a mess!

It may be tempting to place them somewhere that gets really good sunlight even if they are in the way.  You might think that everyone will walk around the big flowerpots… until the knock them into the floor.  Knocking the plants out of the soil a few times will kill them, so avoid putting them in places where they might get knocked over.

You don’t want to put plants in places where there is a lot of traffic.  An exception to this would be herbs.  Herbs will get used more often if you plant them in the kitchen.

Fresh Herbs at Your Fingertips

Most herb plants are small enough that they can be grown in small containers right on your kitchen counter.

If you have a kitchen window that gets sunlight, plant a small herb garden in a window box.  Choose 3-5 of your favorite culinary herbs to put in the window box.

When you need fresh herbs, pluck a few leaves from your plants right there in your kitchen.

 

Starting Seeds

Starting seeds indoors is the best way to ensure that your plants get off to a strong start.  You’ll have a much larger selection of plants to choose from when you start seeds.  Buying seeds allows you to experiment with different varieties of plants that you won’t find at your local nursery.  You will also be able to find seeds out of season so that you can grow all year long.

One of the easiest ways to start seeds indoors is with our Bio-Dome system.  The Bio-Dome system is designed to nurture your seeds from the beginning, all while making your job of starting seeds easier.  The Bio-Dome has a covered top that acts like a miniature greenhouse, preserving warmth and moisture to help your seeds get off to a strong start.  The individual grow cells make it easy to transplant seedlings into larger containers.  Avoid roots from neighboring cells from growing entangled with the Bio-Dome system.

To start seeds indoors, you just need a sunny spot, or a grow light.  Simply place a seed or two into each grow cell in the Bio-Dome system and add water.  Keep the soil in the cells moist.

Soil in the Bio-Dome system will stay moist longer since the top will help to trap evaporating water, keeping it in the system.  With moist, nutrient rich soil and plenty of sunshine, you’ll be able to start strong seeds at home for a fraction of the cost of buying plants.

When you start seeds indoors, you can either keep growing them inside or you can transplant them outdoors later.  If the weather isn’t suitable for growing outdoors, keep them inside and grow an indoor garden.  If you plan on transplanting them outside, you’ll want to harden them off first.  Plants grown indoors don’t need to be hardened off.

Indoor Growing All Year Long

The biggest benefit to growing vegetable plants indoors is the fact that you can grow plants all year long.  The growing season doesn’t end when you’re growing plants indoors.  You can control the temperature, light and total environment when you grow plants indoors.  A sunny location is best to grow your indoor plants but a grow light can provide light and heat in a pinch.  Heat pads can also be used to heat the soil if your house is a little bit cool for the plants you want to grow.

Another reason to grow plants indoors? You won’t have to worry about pesky weeds and garden weeds!  When you’re growing plants in an outdoor garden bed, it’s a constant battle to keep weeds at bay.  Simply cutting the grass or a strong rain can bring seeds and weeds into your garden bed.

When you grow plants inside, it’s virtually impossible for weeds to take up in your plant containers.  The same is true for pests.  The only time that you can bring weeds or pests inside is if your containers are outside and exposed to potential weeds and pests and then you bring them inside.  You can avoid this completely by starting seeds in fresh soil inside.

Growing indoors is the perfect way to grow plants when you don’t have space or if the weather isn’t ideal for growing.  It’s possible to grow lush plants and produce crops even if your space is limited.  Keep plants in places where they will have access to light but will be out of the way.

Grow patio-sized plants like tomatoes and cucumbers indoors to keep fresh produce growing all year long.  Smaller plants like lettuce and herbs can be grown virtually anywhere since the don’t take up much space.

The best way to start growing indoors is to start seeds inside.  A complete system like our Bio-Dome system is a fool-proof way to nurture your seeds and start strong, resilient plants.  What plants will you grow indoors this year?

 

Today’s post about the growing indoors comes from Shelby DeVore, founder of Farminence.com and the writer of the popular eBook “Think ‘Inside’ the Box: An Essential Guide to Edible Container Gardening” [https://farminence.com/think-inside-the-box]  Shelby is a former agriculture teacher and a multi-generational home gardener.  She currently lives on a small farm with her husband and three children where they raise way too many animals and grow a large vegetable garden each year.

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