The move toward more sustainable living has gained traction in recent years with people looking to help the environment and their wallets. Gardening is a great hobby to support a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s fun, saves money on groceries, and helps you feel accomplished by eating something you grew. It also promotes healthy living, cooking at home, and eating more nutritious foods. When you grow your own food at home, you also know exactly what’s in it and how it was produced.
Indoor gardening allows you to grow veggies year-round in the comfort of your home, with a greater likelihood of success because you control the environment.
Herbs, leafy plants, and microgreens are the most common edible plants for indoor growing. They generally do well with shallow soil because they’re smaller and don’t need as much space inside. They also don’t need as much sun and are easier to grow if you’re just starting out.
Before you begin
Before starting your indoor herb and veggie garden, consider realistic expectations for your lifestyle. Plants need tending and care to grow successfully. If you’re a newbie to gardening, you may want to start small and simple, like a grow kit that supports your growth process.
On a basic level, plants need at least water, nutrients, and light – and of course, you’ll need the plant seeds or seedlings. Also, think about what your space is like and what will grow best in that environment. Alternatively, if you have more flexibility, you can think about which plants you want to grow and how to adapt your environment to meet their needs.
The supplies you’ll need depend on your budget and how involved you want to be. Some products do nearly all the work for you. You can also find those that offer simple setups yet where you’re more engaged with the process. If you have specific plants in mind, research what particular items you’ll need to support the best-growing environment.
Containers should be big enough for your plants’ needs. Consider how big the plants will grow, the depth needed for roots, and how far seeds must be planted from each other. When growing plants indoors, you need to consider drainage, so excess water doesn’t build up and cause problems like root rot or bacterial growth.
The soil you use for growing indoors is different from ordinary garden soil. Use potting mix or soil made explicitly for seedlings and the indoors.
If you’re growing plants throughout the winter, you’ll need a light source to make up for the lack of natural sunlight. Grow lamps are specifically designed to provide the right type of light to help plants grow. Common types of grow lamps are LED or fluorescent.
Since your plants won’t get rain, you’re in charge of making sure they have enough but not too much water. Always check how dry the soil is before watering, ensure appropriate drainage, and be aware of the plants’ needs.
Caring for your garden
Edible plants generally take more effort than just putting seeds in the soil and forgetting them, especially indoors where you have to create the environment. Each plant has different needs: some may need pruning, adjustments to watering and soil, and various harvesting or replanting times.
In terms of harvesting, some plants need to be completely picked and then replanted. Other plants, especially herbs and leafy greens, can be harvested as you need while the plant grows and regrows where it was cut.
Finally, keep in mind you can do everything right and still fail, which can be frustrating. But indoor gardening is a learning process. You can try new things next time for better results and a garden that contributes to a sustainable lifestyle.
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer.
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