Building an Indoor Garden

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Gardening – How to build an indoor garden

If you are wondering how to build an indoor garden, rest assured that it is simpler than you think. Everything you may already know about how to start a garden can help, but you do not need to be a gardening expert. An indoor garden simply allows you to have flowers, herbs and fruits all year. Grow plants in your house or apartment, then transplant them outdoors later or keep them inside. Even small apartments should have enough room for micro gardens.

Seeds

The first step to gardening indoors is to figure out what type of garden you want. Indoor gardening lets you grow herbs, produce, flowers and trees. Once you know what you want, buy the seeds. Garden centers and home improvement stores sell a variety of seeds and have the advantage of expert staff members to help you determine which plants will grow well together in the same planter box or room.

However, websites sell a larger selection of seeds. They may also offer newer varieties that are not yet sold in stores.

Containers

Once you have your seeds you need a place to plant them.

Buy planter boxes

and pots, or if you prefer to make containers, cut small holes in the bottom of yogurt cups.

You can also reuse an old planter box or used pots. Whatever containers you use, clean them first. Even old flower pots may have bacteria inside that could harm your new plants. Disinfect containers with a diluted bleach solution. Rinse them thoroughly and then make sure they dry completely before putting in the soil.

Location

The containers should ideally go in a warm, well-lit area. Rooms with windows that face south are ideal because they offer the most exposure to natural sunlight. Keep in mind any animals or small children that could knock over your fragile seedlings as they grow. Placing the containers up high or in a room inaccessible to little ones is safest.

Your seeds mainly need heat until they emerge from the soil so you can get away without having a lighted area for your garden until then. An attic, basement or garage works in the short-term. Once the plants are visible though, they need a lot of light. If a room with sufficient natural light is not available, you can still grow a successful indoor garden with the right kind of artificial lights.

Some plants need more light than others. Place the planter box with the plants who require more light than others closest to the light source. If you have planted an herb garden, align the containers in rows throughout your gardening room.

Lights

Grow lamps are popular with indoor

gardening

enthusiasts because instead of having to wait until spring, planting can be done any time of the year. There are several types of lights to choose from and many that are inexpensive. The various types of lights meet different needs of your plants. You may have to buy several lights depending on what you grow in your indoor garden.

The color of the lights affects plant growth. Sunlight at noon has a blueish tint. Plants need this color lighting to grow strong. However, many plants also need the yellow and reddish colors that mimic sunlight at other times of the day. Red and yellow tones are particularly important for flowers and plants that bear fruit or have seeds.

Micro gardens

only need enough light to cover a small area. For these gardens, compact lights may be all you need. For bigger rooms, especially greenhouses, fluorescent lights cover large areas and are relatively inexpensive. Compact fluorescence are available too. The downside of fluorescents is that they are not quite strong enough to get plants to flower.

An alternative is high intensity discharge (HID) lights. Metal halide HIDs are the closest you can get to real sunlight and are the best option for foods like tomatoes. Keep these lights at least three feet from your plants due to the extreme heat they emit.

Other artificial lights are usually safe about six inches above plants. Lights such as LED systems put out minuscule amounts of heat so you can focus on small areas, but they are expensive and generally do not get the same flowering results as HIDs.

Maintenance

Once you have your plants set up in a safe, warm location and have adequate light, you next need to observe how they react and make small adjustments. Some plants may need to be moved farther away from or closer to a window or grow lamp. Also, check the soil every day so you know when to water your plants. Indoor gardening is uniquely difficult when it comes to water, making drainage holes extremely important. You can cover a planter box or pot with newly planted seeds using newspaper to keep in moisture, then remove the cover after plants are visible so you do not block the light.

Mar 25, 2012 in Organic Garden-Gardening

 

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