Tips for Growing Your Own Indoor Garden
For many people, gardening brings joy and fulfillment—not to mention mental health benefits. Seniors who choose to move or downsize may worry about missing their outdoor space and any gardening they love to do. Luckily, indoor vegetable and herb gardens offer a way to enjoy gardening in small spaces and all year round—whether on the balcony, the shelf, or the windowsill. With some research and these tips, an indoor vegetable or herb garden can be ripe for the picking sooner than you might think.
Choose the Best Plants for Your Space
Before getting started with an indoor garden, the first thing you may want to do is take a quick tour of your home. Look for (or create) space where plants won’t be crowded and where there won’t be damage from any spilled soil or water. You’ll also want to notice the levels of direct light, air circulation, humidity, and temperature fluctuations that each room gets. Having a sense of your space and what kind of environment it can provide can help you narrow down what types of plants will thrive in your home.
It’s also a good idea to research the different kinds of herbs or vegetables you are interested in growing, and what are their care needs. If you prefer more low-maintenance plants, you can narrow down your selection by choosing plants that don’t require a lot of direct light or water.
Select Your Soil and Fertilizer
For indoor gardens, Better Homes & Gardens recommends always using organic potting soil with no synthetic fertilizers or ingredients. To give your plants some powerful nutrients, you can add liquid plant food or organic fertilizer formulated for vegetables. (Fertilizer can be rich in nitrogen, which plants need to produce chlorophyll and absorb energy from light.)
Consider Using Grow Lights
Natural sunshine is the first go-to for your light source. But if you live in a mostly cloudy area like the Pacific Northwest, you may want to invest in grow lights. Grow lights can be a great option for controlling the level and amount of light for plants. They help with starting seeds, extending daylight hours, and growing plants that are harvested early, like microgreens. If you want to start simple, compact fluorescents are a good option.
Research the Plant’s Water Needs
Make sure to get all the information on your plant about how much water it does—or doesn’t—need. Many plants suffer more from too much water than not enough, so it might even help to keep track on a calendar. You may also want to find out how it best receives water, whether through a spritz or right to the roots. And all plant water should be at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant.
Drainage is important to consider here, too. When selecting pots for your plants, look for options that come with drainage holes to prevent over-watering your greens.
Keep Plants Healthy with Good Air Flow and Moderate Temperatures
Air flow ranks right up there with light and water in importance to plant health. By speeding up water evaporation, air circulation helps to prevent mold growth, which happens more easily with indoor gardens.
The easiest way to tell if your plant is getting good air flow is by how long the soil stays damp. If you’re noticing it’s taking a few days or even a week, you may want to add a couple hours of air flow each day. This can look like moving the plant to an open window, turning on a fan, or taking the plant outside during the warmer months.
Lastly, most indoor gardens are happy in the same temperature range that people are: between 65º and 80ºF. Most indoor vegetables and herbs won’t grow as well if they get too hot or too cold.
Gardening nurtures the soul
Growing an indoor garden can be a wonderful act of self-care by nurturing yourself with your own food—and can teach the compassion of caring for other living things. With the information and tools you need, your indoor garden can thrive for years to come.
Along with inside your apartment home, most Era Living communities also give you the opportunity to garden outdoors with your own p-patch. Learn more by contacting us today.