When gardening indoors, there are two basic varieties of gardening: container gardening, and hydroponic gardening. Container gardening with planters is exactly what you would expect - planters or pots that use soil as the starter to hold & grow your plant life. A hydroponic garden is a different type of system that uses enriched water and no soil as the basis for your plants. Each are unique options for different reasons:
Container Gardening with Planters is a great starter option and flexible for when you may choose to rearrange your plant life or eventually move them outside. Container gardens can grow any kind of plant, in virtually any size given appropriate conditions.
- Hydroponics are a great option for when you are seeking to produce a great deal of fruits, vegetables, or herbs, or flowers in a limited amount of space.
Creating an effective indoor garden depends heavily on choosing the space indoors that will allow your plants to thrive. Choose a location that has plenty of windows or access to sunlight; typically those facing directly east and west are best. Whether your garden is container or hydroponic you should always strive to be near windows to allow your plants to maximize exposure to heat and natural light.
You should avoid rooms which may have extremely low temperatures such as an attic or garage area since the cold can kill or stunt growth of your plants. Warmer temperatures are normally more universally accepted by plants. Also try to avoid choosing a location near air vents or ducts since these may dry out or damage your plants.
One of the primary reasons for planting your garden indoors is having complete control of the surroundings. While this involves more work, it also greatly improves your chances of success for a plentiful garden. You will be in charge of managing three key elements for your garden: temperature, water, and condition of the soil. These variables change depending on your choice of containers/hydroponics and the vegetation you choose to grow, but there are many helpful tools to make managing the key elements easier.
- Consider a supplemental light system. Although home or office windows let in sunlight, you will likely need to supplement your garden's light needs with lights or lamps. Fluorescent lights are usually considered the best option because they're cost effective and deliver good results. You may also choose to purchase a heat-lamp specifically designed for growing indoor gardens.
- Consider a drip system. Frequent watering can be difficult to remember and perfect amounts on a daily basis. You should strongly consider a drip system to regulate the frequency and amount of water. These systems use small tubes routed to each plant and a timer that manages distribution of water for a certain period every day.
- Consider soil mats to regulate temperature. Most plants thrive in soil temps between 75-85 Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius). Depending on location or other conditions it may not be possible or desirable to keep your house at that temperature, especially in the wintertime. You may eventually choose to buy electric mats that regulate temperatures by warming up containers from underneath.
There are many varieties of plants that grow indoors including vegetables, berries, herbs, flowers, and decorative greenery. Not all plants thrive indoors. Rather than randomly picking out attractive plants, you should first determine which plants work best in your garden. Popular plants to grow indoors include:
- Flowers: peace lily, African violet, marigold, begonia, cactus, and succulents.
- Vegetables such as lettuce, beans, peas, and mushrooms, and fruits like strawberries.
- Herbs: basil, bay, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.