Nothing tastes better than freshly picked herbs, vegetables and fruits, but you don’t need a large yard or a perfect climate to succeed. With the indoor garden, you can harvest a healthy crop all year round. Indoor gardening is a bit different from outdoor maintenance of garden beds, so read on – the following tips and secrets will help you get started. Before you know it, you will enjoy fresh food from the indoor garden, which you have grown yourself.
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1. Select the appropriate containers.
Pots and pots used in an indoor garden should be large enough to provide enough space for the roots of the plants to grow. Generally, “greens,” such as lettuce, spinach, and kale, need at least 5 inches of soil depth for root development. Peas, beans, cucumbers, peppers, and other small shrubs or vines require a soil depth of at least 7 inches. Root crops such as beets, carrots, turnips, and potatoes need more space to grow – choose a pot that can hold 12 inches of soil.
2. Insert the ground.
It can be tempting to fill containers with dirt from the outside, but don’t do it; it can bring microscopic pests and diseases through contamination and damage plants. Regular contaminants also tend to condense, making it difficult for plant roots to develop. Instead, choose a lightweight, sterile commercial flower pot such as the Burpee Organic Potting Mix (available on Amazon). The flower pot does not clump together so the roots of the plant can grow deep and strong.
3. Select plants based on available space.
Not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for indoor gardening because some require too much space to grow. Examples include corn, okra, and indefinite tomatoes, which can reach up to 10 feet in height. Choose dwarf peppers and other vegetables, determined tomatoes (bush type), herbs and low-growing fruits such as strawberries and figs.
4. Install the appropriate light.
Most fruits and vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight a day, so a south-facing window is a good choice. If you don’t have a sunny window, you need to supplement it with another strong light source such as VIPARSPECTRA Pro Grow Light (available on Amazon) to provide healthy, robust plants. You can also use a reflective growth tent, such as the GIANTEX Grow Tent (also available on Amazon), to reflect light from plant light and maximize its benefits.
5. Growing up (literally).
If indoor space is tight, use the concept of vertical gardening. You only need a few small pots to fill a windowsill, but you can grow additional fruits and vegetables by arranging the pots vertically. This can be as simple as placing containers on boxes or racks of different heights to raise the containers at the back high enough so that those in front do not obscure their light. Or you can use a pre-made vertical garden stand, such as Outland Living’s Vertical Garden Bed (available on Amazon), to grow additional plants if indoor properties are limited.
6. Test the grid.
Vines, including green beans and cucumbers, take up a lot of space in an outdoor garden where they have room to spread, but they don’t need nearly as much space for indoor cultivation if they are grown on a strong grid. When growing heavy fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins and melons, guide the tendrils of the plant around the grid as they grow. You may need to make “straps” out of fabric and tie them to the grid to support the product as it develops.
7. Water consistently.
Fruits and vegetables thrive best when the soil is moist but not soaked. When the roots take turns wet and then dry out, this inhibits root development and increases the risk of the flowers falling off before the fruit can develop. Check the ground daily by pressing your finger on top – it should be flexible and slightly moist. Once dry, it’s time to water. Alternatively, you can use irrigation pots, such as these GARDENIX DÉCOR Irrigation Planters (available on Amazon), which come with tanks that you only fill every seven to ten days. The pots only release enough water to keep the soil constantly moist and you don’t have to worry about too much or too little watering.
8. Maintain a stable internal temperature.
Many popular fruits and vegetables grown outdoors in the summer, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and pumpkins, love the warmth of daytime temperatures around 75-80 degrees. If you use a sunny window, it will often radiate the right amount of heat, but if you are air-conditioning your home and the temperature is below 70 degrees, add a little extra heat to your inner garden with a small radiator. Cool seasonal plants such as lettuce, kale and spinach prefer daytime temperatures around 65-70 degrees and wither and fade when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Protection against pests.
Even if you use a sterile potted mixture, there is a possibility that the insects will migrate from other parts of your home and then attack the inner garden. Pests such as fungal mosquitoes can wreak havoc on, feed on, and destroy plants. Avoid the use of chemical pesticides, but if you notice any type of pest on your plants, spray the soil and foliage with an organic pesticide such as neem oil (available on Amazon). Alternatively, you can make your own safe pesticide by mixing 2 teaspoons of Dawn dishwashing detergent with 1 pint of water in a spray bottle and spraying on the plants. When spraying against pests, touch the foliage and soil, but do not spray developing fruits or vegetables to avoid changing their taste.
10. Indoor humidity control.
High humidity increases the growth of fungi, and when the plants are grouped together – as they are often in containers – the humidity rises. If moisture condenses on the indoor windows or the air just looks sticky, there is a good chance the humidity is too high and the risk of fungal diseases in the indoor garden is increased. Opening the window can help or direct a light breeze towards the plants with a fan. Operating a room dehumidifier such as the SHINCO Dehumidifier (available on Amazon) or your home air conditioner will also help remove moisture from the air.
Because they grow in a soil-free mix, indoor garden plants depend on you to replenish the nutrients they need to reach their potential and produce abundant crops. Choose a fertilizer specifically designed for fruits and vegetables, such as Miracle Gro’s Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food (available on Amazon), and follow the instructions on the label. Some fertilizers should be applied every two weeks, but timed fertilizers such as Shake ‘n Feed should only be applied every three months.
12. Seek help from hydroponics.
If you like the idea of your own indoor garden but don’t have enough space or time to take care of it, consider using an inclusive hydroponic system such as the Ecoogrower Hydroponic System (available on Amazon). contains a container filled with water, not a potted mixture. This type of hydroponic system circulates water in the tank to prevent stagnation and automatically notifies you when it’s time to add more water or fertilizer. The system also has its own growing lamp, so you can grow delicious products without a nearby window.