In 2021, more American households are gardening than ever before – 77%, the annual National Gardening Survey reveals.
The reasons are manifold. Psychology has shown that gardening is an excellent way to de-stress and relieve anxiety. Plus, you get your own, healthy and fresh produce out of the deal!
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who would love to garden, but find themselves without a yard, terrace, or balcony, there’s a solution for you: indoor gardening.
With a bit of planning, indoor gardens are fairly easy to create and maintain. In addition, the plants boost your home’s air quality by producing oxygen and capturing harmful volatile organic compounds.
To help you get started, here’s how to set up your first indoor garden.
Find the Right Space
First, you have to designate some space in your home to your garden. It can take up as much or as little as you’re willing to give it.
For example, you can grow tomatoes and herbs even on a narrow windowsill. If you’re aiming for leafy greens or other veggies, though, a table or bench will serve you better.
Ideally, find an area with tile or linoleum flooring to catch spare irrigation water. If this isn’t possible, you could spread a tarp.
Take some time to think about where the best space for your future garden is – it will influence every decision you make going forward. Even professional indoor gardeners, such as the experts at Progrow, highlight this: “If you can get this part right you have already won half the battle.”
Ensure Good Lighting Conditions
Next, make sure that your future plants will have enough light. Most plants do best with 14-16 hours of sunlight a day, though there are many shade-tolerant varieties as well.
The most simple solution would be to find a sunny spot in your home and place your indoor garden there. However, this isn’t always possible.
Instead, you can opt for grow lights. These come with specialised, powerful bulbs that supply the right wavelengths of light to help plants grow. If you’re aiming to cultivate vegetables, if your home doesn’t have a lot of natural light, or if you want to grow during winter, grow lights are the way to go.
Buy the Right Pots and Soil
As a next step, think about what plants you want to grow – and what their soil and potting requirements are.
In general, opt for well-draining pots. Clay or terracotta pots are an excellent choice because they’ll store moisture without encouraging root rot.
When it comes to soils, look for specific indoor growing soils. There are even specialized soils for your target plants – aromatic herbs, for example, usually prefer sandy soil.
One thing to avoid is sourcing soil straight from nature – digging up a meadow or soil from a construction site in your area. These soils might contain pesticides, heavy metals, as well as pests and their eggs.
If you want to avoid soils altogether, you can opt for a hydroponic indoor garden.
Temperature and Humidity
Finally, check which temperature and humidity the plants you want to grow require.
Temperature is fairly easy to regulate in most homes, but humidity can be more of a problem. Especially in winter, air can be dry due to heating installations – and many plants struggle in such environments.
To address this issue, you can mist your plants regularly, place a tray of water near your garden, or get yourself a humidifier or an environmental controller.
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