In the article on Indoor Gardening I identified the two different types of indoor gardens –- container and hydroponic. I also discussed how to prepare and plan out an indoor garden.
Now it is time to create an indoor container garden. Types of containers that can be used include terra cotta, wood, plastic, or hanging baskets with moss. They can be found at your local garden supply store. You don’t have to settle on the traditional containers. Instead, you can be a little quirky and select out-of-the-ordinary items to serve as containers including old vases or plastic bottles. You can start out with small containers to hold seeds. If you plan to transplant a plant or two to the outdoor garden, then you should use containers that are twice the size of the root ball. The container should also have holes in the bottom to allow water to drain or your can drill holes into containers.
Plastic containers are ideal for retaining moisture and terra cotta pots offer a more attractive alternative. Add rocks to the bottom of the container to provide more drainage. If you decide to go with wood containers, select versions that are rot resistant. Be certain that the containers have not been treated with chemicals or the plants you place in them could die.
You will also have to mix the soil that will be used in the pots. It is not recommended that you dig up some soil from outside because it may have diseases and insects that could damage or kill the plant over time and not have the proper balance of nutrients and sand and clay for ideal drainage. You can purchase pre-manufactured potting mix or you can save some money and assure quality by making your own.
To make your own mix you will need one part coir peat, one part vermiculite, and two parts compost. You can buy all of this at your local garden supply store.
Once you have the elements on hand then:
· Soak the peat to rehydrate it.
· Mix the peat and vermiculite together.
· Add compost.
· Add a half to one cup of worm castings to the mix prior to putting the plant into the container.
Set up the garden system as described in the article entitled Indoor Gardening and place the potted plants into the environment.
Finally, maintain the garden. Make certain that the plants are getting a proper dose of sunlight and water and that the soil temperature does not drop below 70° Fahrenheit.
No doubt, there will come a time when the plants get too large. When this happens, transplant them into larger pots or split them into more plants that you can plant or give away.
If you observe any plants with brown spots or wilting or are obviously dying, then they may have a disease or pest and should be removed immediately from the other plants.
Spread compost or fertilizer into the containers every three months to ensure they get the proper nutrients.
(Next time, setting up an indoor hydroponic garden)