If there is anything we all miss during winter, it is fresh organic vegetables from our summer gardens. Fortunately, there is a simple solution; an indoor garden. Growing plants indoors cleans the indoor air, improves the indoor space aesthetically, and most important, provides you with healthy greens.
Moreover, if you live in the city where you do not have access to an outdoor garden, growing your vegetables indoors will come in handy. You will also be surprised to learn that you do not need lots of indoor space to grow plants. In fact, the space on your windowsill is sufficient for a start.
If you have an outdoor garden that you haven’t put to good use, indoor gardening will also be a great start for you. With that in mind, let us look what you will need to make your indoor gardening a success.
Factors to Consider When Planning for Your Indoor Garden
Generally, when it comes to indoor gardening, you are the one to determine how much space you will use for gardening. What you need is just a stable surface where the plant or plants can grow undisturbed. Ideally, the indoor plants should never be subjected to physical trauma.
If you have limited space, take advantage of vertical space by installing shelves. However, that will mean installing an extra light source for each shelf. You will also want to place them on a surface that can catch any drop of water, such as a linoleum floor or tile. You may also place a tarp underneath the plant’s container.
All green plants need light to photosynthesize because it is through photosynthesis process that they meet their energy needs. Limited light will cause them to grow tall and spindly. Moreover, if they manage to reach maturity, they will not bear any flowers or even fruits.
That applies to all indoor plants, even those placed on the window seal need to be given sufficient light. That is because the natural light coming through the window during winter in not sufficient for them to thrive. In that regard, there are a several things you will need to think about when buying a grow light.
Light wavelength: Plants can only absorb light with of a certain wavelength. If the light you buy is going to work, then it needs to emit the same wavelength that the plant would have received outdoors. It is for that reason that growing your plants indoors using a regular light bulb never works.
Distance: The light should be placed closer to the plant, but not so close that it may burn the plant’s leaves.
Optimum Lighting: Most plants do well when they receive light for durations averaging 14 to 16 hours. If the plant is not getting light for sufficient durations, you will notice several signs of weakness. Its color may become light than normal, the leaves will become smaller and the stem will become thinner.
Flowering and Budding: The hormone “florigen” needed for a plant to reproduce can only be produced if the plant receives optimum light. Long day plants need a minimum of 14 hours of light, and a maximum of 18 hours. Short day plants require exposure to light for 10 to 13 hours.
Effects of Under Exposure of Overexposure: If either of the plants receive exposure to light outside of the ideal range, the florigen levels will be affected, which will stop the plant from blooming.
Types of Growing Lights
There are so many choices when it comes to growing light. In order to help you make an informed choice, you need to know what each light has to offer. The following short review gives you an overview of different lights available today.
These are the least expensive and you can buy them from a nursery or hardware store. They may work great as indoor lights, but they are not the best for indoor gardening.
These are ideal for growing of indoor plants that require minimal lighting. However, they are the least suitable for flowering or budding plants because they do not supply sufficient light. You can easily get them from your local hardware store.
Compact Fluorescent Systems
These are bright and efficient plant growing bulbs you can buy today. In many cases, you will find that they outperform the fancier High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights. They are also smaller and emit less heat, which makes them ideal when growing plants indoors because you can place them closer to the plants.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights
These are also efficient and bright, but they are priced higher than the compact fluorescent lights. On average, they produce twice the amount of light when compared to fluorescent bulbs watt for watt.
Most plants will do well in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a variance of about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too high, the plants will become weak and smaller. On the other hand, if it is too cold, their leaves will turn yellow and fall off.
To be on the safe side, you may need to install a thermostat. A good thermostat will allow you to set different day and night temperatures. Overall, plants are not tolerant to extreme changes in temperatures.
Generally, humidity will be one of the challenges you will face during winter if you are growing plants indoors. Winter months are drier compared to summer, and it gets worse if you heat your home. The signs of low humidity in plants include the following:
- The leaves turn brown at the tips.
- Plants appear puckered and withered.
- The leaves start to fall.
How to Manage Low Humidity Levels
To deal with humidity issues, you can start by misting hairy-leaved plants.
Position the plants closer to each other to increase relative humidity.
Place a tray of water near the plants, but don’t place the plants in it!
Install a humidifier, which will benefit everybody as well.
5. Growing Medium
You will need to find a good medium to grow your indoor plants. While using soil found outdoors might be the easier option, it is often not the best option. It is often too heavy, is infested with insects, and may contain weeds. What you need is a growing medium designed for use with indoor plants.
Ideally, such a medium will be well-drained and loose, and it should also contain sufficient organic matter to hold nutrients and moisture.
Indoor Plants can Be Fun
Overall, that is all you need to start growing your greens indoors. With time, you will find that with the right indoor conditions, growing plants indoors is a lot easier than growing them outdoors. All the best as you get ready to enjoy the fruits of indoor gardening.