Indoor gardening is a great way to keep fresh plants around, even when the weather is frosty outside. Properly setting up an indoor container garden can help ensure that it is healthy and easy to maintain.
Design your Space
Choose your plants wisely. Decide first if you intend to grow food plants or decorative plants, and choose plants that will grow well in your indoor plant space with the level of care you are willing do give. Tomato and pepper plants can be top performers in well-designed fall and winter indoor gardens.
If you don’t like dealing with the occasional garden bug wandering into your indoor living space, consider getting an indoor greenhouse garden kit. These kits create little homes for your indoor garden within your home, increasing moisture in the air for the garden plants and decreasing the invasion of insect escapees from the garden space.
Plants need sufficient light to grow. With winter’s shorter days, even the light coming through a large window may not be enough to nourish an indoor garden. Though indoor gardens can benefit greatly from a gardening and grow light setup, an indoor garden that receives mostly natural light can get along with a few common incandescent light bulbs supplementing the available light. In dark rooms with small windows or little natural light, a lighting setup with day and night plant grow lights may be necessary to sustain a fall and winter indoor garden.
Pick the Containers
Gardening containers need to drain. That is one of the most important aspects of an indoor gardening container, so ensure that containers used for indoor planting have good drainage holes. If you are growing a vegetable or herb garden indoors, choose containers designed for growing food plants; supplementing recycled containers for growing food plants can put you at risk for chemical seepage into your indoor food plants.
Growing media in indoor gardens can include soil, partial soil or no soil. Options for growing plants indoors include hydroponic, semi-hydroponic and simple potted systems in container gardens. Though hydroponic and semi-hydroponic systems can be less mess than soil-based systems, they are also higher maintenance and require more attention and more detailed setup than a soil-based garden.
Beginning Indoor Gardeners: Choose Soil
Budding gardeners arranging their first gardens inside would do best to stick to soil-based indoor container gardens for the first run or two. By sticking with a good soil mixture for a first indoor garden, gardeners can eliminate doubts over whether plants are being fertilized properly or whether the system was set up correctly.
The best type of soil for most plants is loamy soil. Loamy soil is soil with even ratios of sand, silt and clay, the three parts that make up soil when discussing soil analysis. Loamy soil is the superior type of soil because it allows for good nutrition levels while draining water at a rate that is healthy for the roots of a plant.
One big problem with indoor gardens is root rot. Because air is circulated less indoors than in an outdoor garden, plants grown indoors can be more susceptible to root rot than outdoor plants. The best way to combat root rot is to choose a soil mixture that drains well and avoid overwatering the plant. Circulating air in the room using a ceiling fan or portable fan can also help give plants healthy air movement inside.
Ventilation is Key
Plants cannot live in an airtight room because they need carbon dioxide in their air mixture to survive. As plants grow in a closed room, the oxygen level increases and the carbon dioxide gets used up. While this may be a healthy breathing atmosphere for humans and animals, plants cannot survive without carbon dioxide and will eventually die if the room is not ventilated. Simply opening a window in the growing room just a crack can ventilate the room enough to keep the plants healthy.
Indoor Plant Culture