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How to Plant and Grow Indoor Vegetable Garden

How to Plant and Grow Indoor Vegetable Garden

  |     |   Lifestyle

No need to worry about seasons or climate, if you are an indoor gardener! Whether you are craving fresh harvests during the winter or live in an area without gardening space, you can grow edibles in your home. Follow these tips to grow vegetables indoors.

Winter always seems to sneak up on me. It’s not until the first snowfall that I consider the growing season over. Up until then, I am still clipping hearty herbs and fall greens. Once the snow falls, I am reminded that soon the ground will be frozen, and the garden covered with a heavy winter blanket.

I start to miss freshly harvested greens quickly. Most years, I have a good supply of fall greens such as lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, pak choi, and other leafy greens to fill the refrigerator before the hard freeze. Some years, I lose my fall greens to the hungry deer as they prepare for winter too.

Since I don’t garden outside during winter, I began experimenting with indoor vegetable gardening. I started with herbs, and then progressed to salad greens and more.

Growing edibles indoors can be a rewarding. It is not difficult to grow a small number of vegetables in an indoor environment of your home, but there are some important things to consider before you get started.

Tips for Indoor Gardening

An indoor vegetable garden provides a weed free, controlled environment that will allow you to grow a variety of edibles. With a little planning and creativity, you’ll have a wide range of veggies at your fingertips this winter. Here are tips to help you create the ideal environment for growing vegetables indoors:
 

Use Grow Lights

All plants need light for photosynthesis to convert light, oxygen, and water into energy. You’ll want to provide at least 12 hours of supplemental light for your plants each day. While some plants may do ok in natural light from a south-facing window, using artificial lights will help you grow a thriving indoor vegetable garden.

Gather Planting Containers

Choose food safe pots and containers that are large enough to support growth of the plant. You can start seeds in seedling flats, but eventually the plants will need to be repotted into larger containers.

Pots that are 4-inches deep work well for most greens while carrots, and other root vegetables need at least 6 inches. Consider using window boxes, or recycled bakery or produce containers. Poke drainage holes in the bottom to let extra water drain, and use plastic trays beneath containers to catch the water and prevent it from dripping.

 

Use the Right Potting Mix

Select an organic, all-purpose potting mix for your indoor garden. Start with a fresh potting mix. Don’t use soil from your outdoor garden because it is too compact for containers and may contain pests and disease. A good quality growing medium for container plants is light, fluffy, and drains well.

Look for an all-purpose soilless potting mix that contains peat moss (or coconut coir), vermiculite, and perlite. You can mix your own basic soilless potting mix with this simple formula: 4 parts sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir, 1 part finished compost, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite.
 

Set Up a Fertilizing Schedule

Indoor plants need supplemental fertilizer in order to grow healthy. Whether you purchase potting soil, or mix your own, eventually, you will need to feed the soil to keep your plants nourished.

If your potting mix contains fertilizer, you won’t have to worry about supplementing nutrients for a little while. However, the fertilizer will diminish over time as the plants use it to grow, and some will wash out of the soil from regular watering.

 

in FALL GARDENING· GARDENING

How to Grow Vegetables Indoors

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No need to worry about seasons or climate, if you are an indoor gardener! Whether you are craving fresh harvests during the winter or live in an area without gardening space, you can grow edibles in your home. Follow these tips to grow vegetables indoors.

 

close up of lettuce plants indoors

Winter always seems to sneak up on me. It’s not until the first snowfall that I consider the growing season over. Up until then, I am still clipping hearty herbs and fall greens. Once the snow falls, I am reminded that soon the ground will be frozen, and the garden covered with a heavy winter blanket.

I start to miss freshly harvested greens quickly. Most years, I have a good supply of fall greens such as lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, pak choi, and other leafy greens to fill the refrigerator before the hard freeze. Some years, I lose my fall greens to the hungry deer as they prepare for winter too.

Since I don’t garden outside during winter, I began experimenting with indoor vegetable gardening. I started with herbs, and then progressed to salad greens and more.

Growing edibles indoors can be a rewarding. It is not difficult to grow a small number of vegetables in an indoor environment of your home, but there are some important things to consider before you get started.

Tips for Indoor Gardening

An indoor vegetable garden provides a weed free, controlled environment that will allow you to grow a variety of edibles. With a little planning and creativity, you’ll have a wide range of veggies at your fingertips this winter. Here are tips to help you create the ideal environment for growing vegetables indoors:

Use Grow Lights

All plants need light for photosynthesis to convert light, oxygen, and water into energy. You’ll want to provide at least 12 hours of supplemental light for your plants each day. While some plants may do ok in natural light from a south-facing window, using artificial lights will help you grow a thriving indoor vegetable garden.

The article below explains how to set up a simple grow light unit, and choose the right lamps for your indoor garden:

Gather Planting Containers

Choose food safe pots and containers that are large enough to support growth of the plant. You can start seeds in seedling flats, but eventually the plants will need to be repotted into larger containers.

Pots that are 4-inches deep work well for most greens while carrots, and other root vegetables need at least 6 inches. Consider using window boxes, or recycled bakery or produce containers. Poke drainage holes in the bottom to let extra water drain, and use plastic trays beneath containers to catch the water and prevent it from dripping.

Use the Right Potting Mix

Select an organic, all-purpose potting mix for your indoor garden. Start with a fresh potting mix. Don’t use soil from your outdoor garden because it is too compact for containers and may contain pests and disease. A good quality growing medium for container plants is light, fluffy, and drains well.

Look for an all-purpose soilless potting mix that contains peat moss (or coconut coir), vermiculite, and perlite. You can mix your own basic soilless potting mix with this simple formula: 4 parts sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir, 1 part finished compost, 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite.

Set Up a Fertilizing Schedule

Indoor plants need supplemental fertilizer in order to grow healthy. Whether you purchase potting soil or mix your own, eventually, you will need to feed the soil to keep your plants nourished.

If your potting mix contains fertilizer, you won’t have to worry about supplementing nutrients for a little while. However, the fertilizer will diminish over time as the plants use it to grow, and some will wash out of the soil from regular watering.

If you make your own potting mix, consider including a slow-release organic granular fertilizer, such as Epsoma Garden-tone to help feed your plants for an extended period of time.

Follow the instructions on the packaging for the proper amounts, and follow up with regular feedings according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, Garden-tone recommends mixing 2 cup of fertilizer with 1 cubic foot of potting soil, and then feed established plants 1 1/2 teaspoon each month.

If you prefer using a liquid fertilizer, you can also fertilize plants with a weak solution of fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizer every two weeks, or when leaves show signs of stress.

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