As recent growing trends point to more millennials wanting to control the food they put in their bodies, there's a movement towards creating indoor herb and vegetable gardens. These trends don't just apply to the younger generation, as older Americans are also exploring an alternative to food laced with chemicals and herbicides by supplementing what they buy at the grocery store with foods they can grow at home.
Herbs are the superheroes of plants. Not only do they contain healing properties that can treat many health problems, but with just a few sprigs, they can also transform an ordinary dish into a gourmet meal. These powerful greens need very little space to thrive and while it's not for everyone, if you're considering making space in your home to bring fresh herbs and veggies to the table, here are some helpful tips to assist you in avoiding the pitfalls of creating an indoor garden.
- Location, Location, Location. This may be the most important decision you'll make on the overall success of your indoor garden. Plants need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sun every day. And while the natural, south-facing sun is preferred, you may also choose a mini-indoor greenhouse kit which includes lighting. There are plenty of kits available online that are affordable and easy to assemble. Read the reviews and fine print to make sure you have everything you need to get started. Once you decide on where to put your garden the sooner you can start enjoying delicious, fully organic herbs and veggies. Regardless of how big or small your home is, there's no question that an indoor herb garden will make a happy addition to your home.
- Dress It Up! Picking the containers for your plants is as important as a location in setting up your indoor garden. Your decision on pots for your seeds should be based on several factors, not just how it looks, although we think dressing your plants for success is a fun way to give your garden a fashion sense. The planters should have enough room for root growth and provide good drainage to avoid the plants' roots from water rot. Also, consider spacing if you plan to put more than one plant in a container. Row containers can be home to several plants, but give them a minimum of 4 inches apart to avoid overcrowding. You should also avoid clay pots as they tend to hold too much moisture. We recommend plastic, metal or rubber pots with a drainage hole and a catchment for proper water drainage.
- Pick Your Favorite Plants! Herbs tend to grow well in an indoor environment but research if you want to include veggies. They require more room and have wide-ranging grow rates and harvest at different times of the year, depending on when you plant. If you plan to stick with herbs, pick your favorites to include in recipes. Parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, basil, and chives tend to do best. But other herbs like rosemary and peppermint are also excellent options. Whether you want a variety, or just want your go-to seasoning, pick the plants that you love and your garden will be an indoor inspiration!
- Soil It UP! Every step in setting up your garden is important, but the soil you use will affect your plants' ability to grow. While plants need sunlight and water, they do require other nutritional supplements to give them the best chance for success. Most common potting soil will have the basics which will provide for proper water drainage. Don't use potting mix or dirt from outside. They won't have enough room for the roots to breath and dirt from outside will bring pests inside. Best to go with a trusted brand of potting soil. You can make your own potting soil but we don't recommend it. There are some great videos on YouTube on making your own potting soil if you're looking to save some cash, go for it, but buying potting soil will save you time.
- Indoor Garden Maintenance. Like anything in life, you need to spend some time on maintaining your garden. Watering is a big part of nurturing your plant. You'll need to water them a few times a week, but each plant is different. You should allow the soil to dry between waterings to ensure that it's not being overwatered. Roots are susceptible to rot when they sit in water too long. It's also a good idea to reposition plants so they get light from the opposite direction. This can strengthen the plants as they reach for the light in a new direction. Fertilizers can also help increase your plants' yield. Seaweed is an excellent way to bring nutrients to your plants without using animal-based fertilizers. But most standard, indoor fertilizers work well too.
Whatever you decide to plant, enjoy the process. There's a feeling of accomplishment when you grow plants. Whether that's herbs, tomatoes or flowers, inspire your friends and family with a homegrown garden!