There are many factors to contemplate when considering an indoor garden. These include the location for the garden, what specific plants will grow and what lighting system to install. Continue reading for five successful indoor gardening essentials for beginners.
Make sure your plants get enough light
Plants need light to fuel their growth through a process known as photosynthesis. Without adequate light, plants will not grow to their full potential. Effects of insufficient light vary from failure to bloom or produce fruit to not growing at all.
Sufficient light is a primary concern for setting up an indoor garden, and you should keep in mind that plants growing near a window will probably not get enough sunlight during the winter months. Most vegetables and plants grow best with 14 to 16 hours of daily sunlight (or simulated sunlight). You might want to consider purchasing a grow light for your indoor garden to maximize plant growth.
A standard lightbulb will not work for an indoor garden. The light that plants require for photosynthesis has a specific wavelength. Grow lights mimic that wavelength.
Tip: Signs of inadequate light include small leaves, thin stems, and a lighter than usual color.
There are many different kinds of grow lights available. That may seem confusing for the novice gardener. This summary differentiates between the types of grow lights. First, fluorescent lights are ideal for growing herbs and plants that do not require much light. But, fluorescent lights are not useful for plants that bud or flower. These grow lights are quite inexpensive and available in most stores.
Second, incandescent lamps are cheap and easily purchases at local stores. Incandescent bulbs would be useful for houseplants, but would not provide adequate light for flowering plants or plants requiring a lot of light. Compact fluorescents are more efficient compared to older style fluorescent lights and can work for any plant. Also, they produce less heat than incandescent lamps. So they can be placed closer to plants, which maximizes the available light for your plants.
Finally, high-intensity discharge bulbs are the brightest and most efficient lights on the market. But they are also the most expensive.
The lack of moisture is a common problem in setting up an indoor garden, particularly in the winter months, which are typically drier than the summer. The use of indoor heating further removes essential moisture in the air, which adds to the problem of humidity in the air during the wintertime. That prevents plants from flourishing and impedes the growth and effectiveness of an indoor garden.
Tip: Luckily, there are ways to counter any humidity problem the indoor garden may experience. One solution is to mist plants every day, or more often if necessary. Second, place a tray filled with water and containing lava rocks to increase the rate of evaporation. A water tray should help plants get vital moisture from the air. Lastly, use a humidifier, which provides benefits for plants as well as the household by increasing the humidity in the atmosphere.
Plants, of course, need a suitable planting medium for proper growth and development. And the soil outside the house is not an ideal solution. Soil from outside can not only contain materials that are not good for indoor plants, but it also can harbor insects as well as seeds from other plants. It is much better to use a soil mix designed to meet the needs of indoor plants.
Soil that remains looks and drains well is much better for indoor plants. And the best soil contains the perfect amount of organic material to retain moisture and nutrients.
Tip: As an alternative to using soil, an excellent option may be hydroponics. Growing plants using hydroponics means providing the nutrients directly. Benefits of hydroponic gardening include the ability to use smaller containers for plants, more rapid plant growth, and less chance of plants becoming infected by a disease.
Maintenance and Watering
When the indoor garden is up and running, it is vital that you maintain the health of the plants and the environment. You can do this with proper watering, pruning, staking when necessary, and keeping the area free of excess waste and external threats.
Also, remember that plants growing in containers require more significant amounts of water compared with plants growing in open soil. That is because container plants dry out faster than plants grown in the ground. Therefore, be sure to add plenty of room-temperature water so that the water runs through the holes at the base of the container.
Tip: Plants provide clues when they are receiving too much or too little water. For example, signs of overwatering include wilting that starts from the stem and moves toward the leaves and discoloration of plants. Under-watered plants will show in leaves turning brown on the edges and withering along the outer tips, and soil that appears dry.
Fertilizer and Nutrients
Indoor plants also need additional nutrients and fertilizer because nutrients in the soil quickly get used up by these plants. Also, nutrients get lost as a result of watering. So regularly replenishment will ensure better performance of your indoor garden.
Tip: It is possible to provide a source of nutrients to the indoor garden through composting. You can use compost to make tea for watering your plants. A simple method for this is as follows: First, place enough compost to fill approximately one-third of a large bucket. Then add enough water to fill the bucket. Let the mixture settle for at least a few hours (a few days is also ok). Strain the mixture into another bucket/container using a fine screen. Next, dilute the strained liquid by adding enough water so that it appears the color of weak tea. Finally, add the compost tea to soil and enjoy watching your plants grow.
Plants perform many valuable functions, including cleansing household air, improving the atmosphere for any room of the house, and providing delicious and fresh food. The size of an indoor garden is limited to the amount of available space. But everyone can enjoy the pleasures of growing flowers and plants no matter the size of the garden. Consider the points above for an amazing indoor garden.