Nothing beats the fresh wholesome taste of fresh vegetables picked right from your very own backyard vegetable garden. Vegetable garden planting can be a challenge if you don’t have a backyard, but you can still grow your own vegetables indoors. Just follow a few simple garden-smart guidelines.
Choose Appropriate Vegetables
Different plants have different requirements and with indoor vegetable gardening the major restrictions tend to be the available space and available light. If you want to grow fruit bearing plants, they will require a larger amount of sunlight. Salad greens like lettuce, miniature cabbages, swiss chard, and spinach are considered one of the more hardy indoor vegetables.
If you are considering container vegetable gardens, the size of your pots will also determine your choice of plants. Fruit plants go in larger containers whereas a herbs seed will thrive in a much smaller container. Choose containers that will adjust to the plants eventual growth. Small root crops such as radishes and onions are great choices for growing vegetable plants indoors. There are even small root carrots available as well. Growing herbs in pots are a popular choice because they are compacted and do not require too much space. Miniature varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can also thrive when growing indoor vegetables if they are given the proper care.
Find the Perfect Spot for Growing
Lighting is an important consideration when growing indoor vegetables. A bright south-facing window is your best bet, but any spot that gets a minimum of 5 hours of continuous light can be utilized. In addition to natural light, you can set up supplemental artificial lighting if you are really serious about growing vegetables indoors year round.
Traffic flow is also another important factor to think about. Vegetables in general bruise easily, so you want to choose fairly quiet spots to minimize accidental human contact. If you have small children or pets in your home, you may want to locate your garden well out of their reach. It is also important to think about the proximity to your gardening tools for easy clean-up if things get messy.
Optimize the Microclimate
Plants grow best in high humidity and moderate temperatures. Indoor vegetables usually suffer from low humidity and this needs to be addressed. Container vegetable gardens tend to dry out faster and will require more frequent watering. However, it is important not to let the plants get waterlogged as this may cause root rot. Make sure that there is plenty of drainage by creating raised vegetable garden beds with a pan of gravel underneath. Evaporation from the dishes also improves humidity so they do serve a dual purpose.
Another great way to optimize your microclimate is to group plants together. You can mix your vegetables with more decorative houseplants to create groupings that are not only beautiful but also functional. Remember to always consider companion vegetable plants. Temperature is actually easier to control inside the house since it is easier to provide more shade by simply drawing the curtains. Just make sure plants are protected from drafts such as cold air returns and AC units.
Get Good Potting Soil
Potting soil for indoor vegetables should drain well and contain the nutrients needed to support growth and development. You can purchase premixed potting soil that already incorporates the proper amount of fertilizer. If you prefer to go organic, you can get organic potting mixes from your local garden shop. Add nutrients with caution, as fertilizer buildup is quite common in containers.
Indoor vegetable gardening can be incredibly rewarding, so do not be afraid to give it a try. You may even end up growing enough produce to give away as gifts to delight your family and friends.
Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here! There you will find one of 12 free bonus books on Building a Backyard Vegetable Gardening….with instructions and pictures to help!
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