Indoor gardening is a pleasurable, therapeutic, and a yummy experience available to anyone with a relatively sunny window, a little bit of time, and a few dollars to spare. This activity can be particularly attractive to those who live in apartments, reside in places where temperatures don’t allow much outdoor gardening, and of course, to those who share their yards with wild animals who lack respect for people’s property – especially if such property happens to be tasty.
Here are a few things you should consider before starting your own indoor garden:
Keep it simple and manageable: A concept that can mean different things to different people, but when it comes to indoor gardening it should mean selecting a small number of plants, and limiting your selections to those plants that you are really going to use. For instance, I love a fresh salads, enjoy colorful flowers, and absolutely lust after aromatic herbs. My indoor garden contains tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, purple sage, rosemary, African violet, sweet pea, basil, oregano, and my beloved lavender.
Decisions, decisions, decisions: This might be one of the most difficult parts of starting an indoor garden. It is so difficult to choose what to plant, for it is too easy to convince yourself that you need it all and that you can handle the work involve. Well, let me make things a little easier by suggesting that you should allow your environment to choose for you. For example, I have a partially sunny window, and the plants I mentioned above are growing beautifully, so there is a short list for you to choose from if you share my environmental conditions. If not, you should do some research and see what fits your setting.
“Tender Loving Care”: Your green babies will need some TLC. This does not mean that you will be an indoor garden slave, but you do need to spend some time taking care of your plants. There are a few things you need to know about growing things by the window. First, be mindful of the temperature; not just the thermostat, but outside temperatures as well. If you keep your plants by a window that receives direct sunlight, then you don’t want to set your green babies too close to the windowsill or your will end up roasting them. I keep my plants on small racks and tables in front of the window, and I use blinds and curtains to keep the outside temperature regulated. You might want to purchase some type of organic fertilizer to promote growth, but I must confess that my green babies grow on nothing more than store bought soil, tap water and good conversation.
Water holds the power of creation and destruction: Proper watering can be the difference between life and death. Too much might cause your plants to rot, but too little might dehydrate the life out of the poor things. I use the “finger” method to ensure good hydration. I stick a finger an inch or two deep into the soil and if it feels too dry, then I water it. This method takes a bit of practice, but if you keep a good relationship with your plants, the soil will soon speak to your finger. In the meantime, go ahead and follow the watering requirements that came with the plants or seeds. Instructions work when followed properly – regardless of my husband’s opinion in the matter.
Containers: Almost anything, that won’t fall apart, can be used as a planter. Your first choice should be a container that promotes good drainage. This does not necessarily mean holes at the bottom of the container, but it should be deep enough to allow compromise. For instance, I am currently using a few containers without holes, but they are deep enough to allow me to place some gravel under the soil without restricting root development. The gravel takes care of any extra moisture. You should also think about balance and beauty when you choose your containers. I keep my indoor garden in my living room, which means that I see it all the time, so I use colors and shapes that are pleasing to my eyes.
If this article does not give you some encouragement to start your own indoor garden, then think about how pleasurable it would be to get home after a long day of work and have as part of your dinner a fresh salad; then shedding off your clothes and soaking in warm lavender-aromatized water, while sipping a bit of Nature in the form of tasty cup of sage tea. How much more gratifying would this experience be, if you knew that the salad, the bath, and the tea were prepared with the product of your own indoor garden?