Indoor gardening can have many advantages and may depend on what part of the globe you live in from a weather perspective or what you are trying to get out of it. Having the garden indoors or even a few garden boxes indoors can soothe the souls of many green finger enthusiasts during the cold winter months, or if you simply grow or have a vegetable garden indoors to grow your own organic fresh veg to the extravagant indoor Hydroponic gardening or greenhouse gardener, indoor gardening can tick a box for all.
Indoor Hydroponic gardening has been around for decades but is becoming more popular as of late. This is basically soilless growing, instead the crops or plants grow in mineral nutrient solutions. You would need an equivalent to an indoor gardening system for this where the nutrient solution is kept flowing constantly passed the roots by pump and you have a lighting system also- not a cheap form of gardening. Hydroponic gardens are generally for people who are trying to grow a lot of plants in a small amount of space – indoor vegetable gardening is the most popular type.
Most garden centres now have a section for all this and of course the internet is full of indoor gardening supplies to cater for all needs, in fact you can get indoor gardening kits to cover such things as growing your own herb garden, countertop greenhouses and vertical indoor gardens (ideal if space is at a premium.)
Trying to replicate Mother Nature’s garden indoors can be harder than most people anticipate so try and decide in advance the type of garden you are after, what we touched on above Indoor Hydroponic gardening or the more traditional indoor container gardening, which is like what it says , plants in standard containers with soil, the conventional way like pot plants. Both of these methods would also be ideal gardening gifts for someone who is looking to get started or someone who has started and is looking to add to their indoor garden/veg garden.
Once you have chosen the type of indoor gardening you wish to do, next you need to choose the right space either in your house or conservatory to position it. This is a very important stage as you want to give your plants or vegetables the best position in which to thrive. Choose an area that has lots of natural light preferably west or southerly facing, ideally beside a window. If this is not possible you can use indoor gardening lights. Never choose a cold room like a garage or attic with no natural light or any form of heating, this will either kill or hinder your plants from growing and developing. If you live in a climate that has air-conditioning try not to place them near a vent as this will just dry them out.
You control their environment – One of the main reasons for having indoor pot plants or a form of indoor garden is that you have more control over the process and the environment, this might mean more work but your plants will prosper.
The three main things you will be in charge of controlling are a) Temperature, b) soil condition and c) water frequency.
Once you know the type of garden or the process you will use next you need to decide on the plants to grow. Before you grab your garden cart and head off to the nursery or garden centre research and decide in advance or you could chat to the horticulturist in the nursery to give you some tips.
Good pointers for vegetables would be the likes of: tomatoes, beans, peppers, peas.
Herbs: basil, garlic, thyme, chives, parsley, rosemary.
Plants: lily, African violet, begonia, ferns and spider plants.
Having fresh herbs and vegetables home grown all year round especially if you enjoy cooking and gardening can be extremely rewarding seeing your veg and herbs being used in your dishes.Yum!
Plants like us humans get tired, old and die. If you have old plants in the house that have been around for a while and look jaded all the love and care in the world will not bring them back to life perhaps it’s time to replace them. Remember that dying and withering plants attract insects that can spread to your healthy plants so just make sure you don’t leave it too late to remove them. Something to remember is that gift plants like azaleas and amaryllis generally have to be discarded after the first flower as they can be very hard to nurse to a second flowering.
While on the topic of dying plants and something I should have touched on earlier is that when you are using tools for planting your indoor plants, herbs or vegetables try not to use the same garden tools as you would for outdoors use. The main reason is cross contamination of bugs and weeds that would wipe out your indoor crop.
Now that I mention indoor and outdoor a great way to have some of your favourite outdoor garden flowers indoors is to ‘force’ them to grow indoors. Forcing flower bulbs in winter is a great way to bring some spring into the house a little early. Almost any spring flower bulb that blooms can be forced indoors but some bulbs are more popular; for example: Daffodil, tulip and crocus. Choose flower bulbs that are full or fat and firm, the larger the bulb the bigger the bloom.
Steps involved in forcing. Firstly you need to chill or prechill your bulbs for up to 12 weeks. This can be in the fridge or a cold place in the house like a garage or attic. Once this is done then you can start to force the bulbs indoors in flower pots with soil (never use garden soil) or indeed you can use water. If using a soil like pot plants, make sure the bulbs are ¾ of the way in the soil with the pointed top of the bulb facing upwards out of the soil. Water and keep soil moist. If growing in water more or less do the same process except you want to have the roots of the plant in water, only the roots. To achieve this you can buy special pots or vases or you can improvise by using stones of pebbles to ensure that the core of the bulb is in soil with the pointy part facing upwards and only the roots dipped in water. Once they start to flower you can move them to a brighter part of the house but it is very important to keep the soil moist.