There’s no doubt that gardening has some very therapeutic elements and if you’re a green thumb, you’re probably getting quite ancy to get your hands in some dirt after a long winter. Growing an indoor garden is a great way to get your gardening fix in early while you wait for the warm weather to roll in. Before you start your indoor garden, there are some facts to consider. As you may know, certain plants require specific conditions in order to grow and thrive, here is 10 easy steps you can use as a guideline to starting your indoor garden:
1. Starting your indoor garden
Spring is here, but for Canadians it sure doesn’t feel like it. Spring in Ontario is cold, sometimes freezing, and the threat of another snow storm still feels likely. Sure enough, it’s the perfect time to plant the seeds and start growing your vegetable garden indoors. If properly cared for, you could be the first to have a blooming harvest and flowers at the break of Summer.
2. Visit a home and garden centre and choose your seeds
You could visit your local home hardware store and find a variety of seeds in their garden centre. Seeds are inexpensive and may come with a lot more than you need in a pack, you can always save these for next year or share them with a neighbour. They also cost less than buying plants and come with the rewarding feeling after you’ve cared and grown them yourself.
3. Buy or make your own containers to plant your seeds
There are a lot of good materials in your home that would work really well as a container to plant your seeds. For example, a yogurt container is the perfect depth, your container only needs to be a few inches deep. Reusing containers from old flowers is also a great idea however, they would need to be cleaned and disinfected to ensure that any disease or bacteria is transferred to your newly potted seeds. Your container should have drainage hole at the bottom for excess water and moisture to escape.
4. Designate an area of your home for your garden
This step is as crucial as water and sunlight is to growing your plant. Environmental conditions indoors are just as important as outdoor climate. While the seeds are still under the soil, obtaining enough heat is actually more important than light at this stage. Once your plant breaks the soil, getting enough sunlight becomes relevant.
The ideal spot for growing your indoor plant would be in front of a midsize to large window. The sunlight will provide enough warmth and then once the plant emerges from the soil, it will benefit from the light If you are placing your indoor plant in front of a window, It is important to check that the window is not drafty because it would actually make the soil cold and wet making it the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria which would not allow your plant to thrive.
5. Preparing the soil and planting the seeds
You’ll want to use a sterile potting mix that’s ready to pour which you will be able to find at your local garden centre. It’ll be perfect for growing vegetables and herbs indoors.
You can use an organic fertilizer if you wish although it is not always necessary if your plant is cared for well. Normally, plants should be fertilized only when they are actively growing and most houseplants will not need to be fertilized more than once every 1 – 3 months usually between March and September.
During the winter, when the days are shorter and they are getting less natural light, plants tend to enter into a rest period during which they would need little to no fertilizer at all.
7. How to water your indoor vegetable garden
Watering your plant can be tricky. Watering it too much can hurt your plant while not watering it enough can cause your plant to die. There’s a method to keep the moisture level balanced. The soil should feel like moist and damp similar to a sponge that has been wrung out, it would feel wet but not dripping wet. Which goes back to the importance of drainage holes at the bottom of your container mentioned in number 3, You need enough water to to moisten the soil but not drown out the seed.
8. Let there be light
We’ve all learned about photosynthesis from grade school science lessons so, we know that light is the key ingredient to growing a healthy plant. Although there are many alternatives to providing light such as LED grow bulbs, the easiest and cheapest way is to provide natural light as best as you can. South facing windows tend to provide the most consistent flow of natural light throughout the day which is ideal for growing foliage plants, flowers, most vegetables, and herbs. Keep in mind that most vegetables and herbs require a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight a day to help them grow and reach maturity, often a window sill is not adequate amount of light after a plant reaches maturity and will need to be transferred outdoors.
In terms of the best window types for growing plants indoors, energy-efficient windows with Low-e coating are typically the best for providing light while minimizing the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light. Low-e coatings play an important role in the overall performance of a window and can significantly help control the overall heating, lighting and cooling costs of a home.
Whenever you’re shopping for new replacement windows, there’s no harm in getting the helpful advice from the professionals. Get connected with a specialist at Clera Windows and Doors and get more information for your home.
9. Create the right climate
This section expands on the concept of environment mentioned in number 4. Certain plants thrive on cooler climates like cabbage, radishes, and beets which can grow in temperatures around 15 degrees celsius. However, more common types of vegetables that are planted indoors such as tomatoes, peppers, and beans require a climate of 20 degrees celsius or more. If you don’t normally keep your home as warm, having a large functional window that provides ample sunlight for warmth is key.
10. Pest control
Indoor vegetable gardens have its challenges with pests too, especially if you had other house plants to begin with. Growing your vegetable garden indoors, you’ll have to be aware of spiders, mites, and flies that may want to take a nibble at your harvest. This can easily be remedied with an organic insecticidal soap, follow directions as indicated on the product you choose and always wash your produce before consuming.