How do I Start an Indoor Garden?

Malcolm Tatum

For people who love fresh produce but have no room for an outdoor garden, the concept of an indoor garden is the ideal solution. Even in small spaces, there are often ways to set up a tiny area to grow a few vegetables. If you are interested in the idea of indoor gardening, here are some ways to get started.

A local nursery can usually provide helpful tips for starting an indoor garden.
A local nursery can usually provide helpful tips for starting an indoor garden.

One of your first tasks is to assess the space you have available for placing the garden. Container gardening requires choosing a spot where there is ample sunlight coming into the space. A window with an extra wide sill or one that is equipped with a window seat works very well. However, keep in mind that you can also make use of long planters that attach to the windowsill, leaving the space underneath the window free for other uses. If all else fails, you may be able to arrange some containers in front of a window that gets sunlight most of the day.

Gardening tools and potted plants.
Gardening tools and potted plants.

The ability to keep the area at a consistent temperature is also key to the success of your indoor garden. While this may be less of an issue in warm weather, keep in mind you want to protect the plants from cold drafts in winter. The consistent temperature will make it possible to grow different vegetables all year long.

Next, consider what type of vegetables to grow in your indoor garden. Two factors will govern this selection. First, you want to choose vegetable plants that will thrive inside. Second, the indoor plants must produce vegetables that you will be able to use. There is little point in purchasing bell pepper plants when you do not care for bell peppers.

Choose the right soil for your indoor garden. You may also want to purchase pebbles, fertilizers, and compost as other components in the containers as well. The idea is to create an environment within each container that will allow the root system of your plants to develop and constantly supply them with the nutrients they need. The nursery can usually provide you with some helpful gardening tips as to how to use the supplies to best effect.

Just as houseplants need watering and attention from time to time, so will the plants in your indoor garden. Make sure you know how to test the soil properly and keep the moisture level at healthy levels. In order to protect your floors, consider placing a protective sheet of treated metal or clear plastic between the floor and your containers. This will provide additional protection from water accidentally leaking from the pots or containers and ruining the finish on the hardwood floors or causing stains on the linoleum.

Keep in mind that you can either grow your plants from seeds or fill your indoor garden with young plants purchased at a local nursery. While the plants are more expensive than the seeds, going with healthy young plants will give you a head start and eliminate one of the more tedious steps associated with the establishment of the garden. It may also mean you can enjoy your first produce from the garden in a shorter period of time.

Potash, which is often included in fertilizer.
Potash, which is often included in fertilizer.

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