Few things are as satisfying as growing your own food. And you don’t need a lot of outdoor space to be successful. Read on to learn about the benefits and basics of indoor gardening. In no time, you’ll be enjoying the fresh (and delicious) results.
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Four reasons indoor gardening is great
- Grow fresh food on your countertop or start seeds for outdoor gardens.
- Recipes made with home-grown herbs, fruits and veggies are healthy and yummy.
- It’s a productive family activity that’s both fun and educational.
- Plants help keep indoor air fresh and clean.
Katie Y., mom and business manager to Zulily CEO Jeff Yurcisin, gardens to cultivate relationships with her family and give herself some quiet time. “I love to garden – it’s something I can do solo to get some quiet time to myself, as well as a skill I can teach my two daughters.”
The Basics for Successful Growing
1Consider your location: Will your indoor garden grow on a kitchen countertop, apartment balcony, covered porch or other location? How many hours of direct and/or indirect sun does this area get each day? This is important for choosing plants that can thrive with the available amount of light.
2Choose the right containters. Planters with drainage holes and runoff saucers are often used for indoor gardening. However upcycled mugs, bowls or mason jars, or recycled plastic container can also be used with properly layered soil (see “Get the soil right,” below). Make sure all planters are made of food safe materials and are large enough to offer plant roots ample room to grow. Herbs and greens such as chives, spinach, thyme, oregano, basil, lettuce, kale and parsley, require between 3’’ and 8’’ of soil, while root crops need a depth of 12’’ or more.
3Prepare and organize your space. Test your planter arrangement. If necessary, place saucers, a stainless steel or a plastic tray beneath your planters to protect your surface. Limit the number of containers so that you can reach each one for watering, rotating and harvesting.
Seeds for delicious recipes: Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley
Seeds for healthy home environments: Aloe Vera, Azalea, Boston Fern, Gerbera Daisy, Snake Plant
4Select seeds based on your available space, light and tastes. Make sure to check how much soil your seedlings will need – and how high the plants will grow! Most seed packets will contain more seeds than you need for indoor gardening. Consider ordering with friends and sharing for maximum value and variety.
5Get the soil right. If possible, choose potting soil which is specially formulated for container gardening. If your containers do not have drainage holes, start with a drainage layer of small pebbles or pumice stones before adding your potting soil.
6Stick to a watering plan. Follow directions on seed packets but, in general, the most comment mistake made by new gardeners is overwatering. So, when in doubt, water only when soil is damp (never soggy) to avoid root rot.
7Show your plants some love. Check their water levels. Rotate for maximum sunlight. Look out for pests. And say hello! Some studies say that talking to plants may stimulate growth because of the carbon dioxide people release when they speak. Why not give it a try?
Happy Indoor Gardening!