If you are a truly enthusiastic gardener who wants to perform her passion all 12 months out of the year, then you may want to consider an indoor garden. There are two methods that are used for indoor gardening –- container or hydroponic.
Container gardening gives you the opportunity to grow plants or vegetables that you can ultimately transfer to your outdoor garden. It also permits you to use many different styles and sizes of containers that add to the overall appearance of the garden. Container styles you can use include terra cotta, wood, plastic, or hanging baskets with moss.
Hydroponic gardening is growing plants without soil in a container of water or in sand or gravel.
Let’s first discuss the creation of a container indoor garden.
Regardless of whether you intend to create a container or hydroponic indoor garden, the first thing you need to consider is where in your home you want to locate it.
Of course, you want to select an area that has the conditions plants need to grow including proper sunlight and heat. Ideal locations include near east or west facing windows near enough to the window to permit the plants to get sufficient sunlight and heat. Do not put the garden in rooms that are cold like an attic or garage because a cold environment can kill or slow down the growth of the plants. Moreover, do not select a location near air vents or fans because the conditions they create will dry out the plants and possibly damage them.
Be certain also that you will be able to control the environment of the location you choose. You will need to control the air temperature, water frequency, and soil conditions.
One method to assure that the soil material is the proper temperature is to use soil heat mats. These mats help maintain the soil heat at between 75° and 85° Fahrenheit The mats assure that you don’t have to raise the heat in your home to a temperature that benefits the plants, but is uncomfortable for you and your family. You should be able to find electric mats that are designed to heat the bottoms of the pots.
You could physically water the plants yourself. However, it is probably more convenient to create a drip system. That may sound complicated, but it involves only small tubes, one for each plant, and a timer that turns a water source on and off at particular times of the day.
As mentioned, you should have selected a location close enough to windows so that the plants can get ample sunlight. However, you still have to create a lighting system that can give off artificial light. People who have created indoor gardens suggest that you use fluorescent light tubes. They are cost effective and offer good light assuring good results. An alternative is to purchase a heat lamp specially designed for growing plants indoors.
Next, you will need to select the plants. There are a large assortment of plants you can grow indoors including vegetables, berries, herbs, flowers, and decorative greens. Don’t just rush out to the nursery and select any kind of plant. Instead, take some time to consider which plants will work in an indoor garden. Plants that appear to thrive indoors include:
· Vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, carrots, radishes, beans, peas and mushrooms.
· Fruits including strawberries, figs and grapes.
· Herbs including basil, bay, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.
· Flowers including peace lily, African violet, marigold, begonia, cactus and succulents.
(Next time, setting up an indoor container garden)